A BELOVED FATHER
‘With a Father’s heart: that is how Joseph loved Jesus’. The greatness of saint Joseph was that he was the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus. By divine providence this is how Joseph contributed to the Salvation history.
The Carmelite order being a praying, apostolic community corresponds well with this papal encyclical gift to the church patris corde. Which we hope to stimulate our way of life in a fraternal spirit and in a loving heart of a father.
The order being under the patronage of mother Mary and bearing the title: The Order of the Blessed virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We are called in the rule to be unswerving in the service of our master Jesus Christ and living a life of an allegiance to him, this echoes the action of saint Joseph who was always in service of Mary and Jesus with a Father’s heart. Today in our Carmelite life we are called to Serve “Jesus and Mary” with a Father’s heart, our fellow friars are our Mary and Jesus whom we are called to share love and care being at their service just like Joseph what you do to these little ones you do unto me [Matt 25:40] and if they are in need of anything then our hearts should resound the words of our holy mother ‘’Go to saint Joseph…” the intercessions of saint Joseph renews and strengthens our services to one another being our brother’s keeper is a sign and an attribute of St. Joseph who always looked after the child Jesus and his mother. This also applies to the area of our Apostolate teaching the Christians to become responsible parents like Joseph working hard to provide for them and bringing up their children in a Christian way like Joseph [LUKE 2:52 KV].
Expression of tender love: “all must be friends all must be loved, all must be held dear and all must be helped” [way of perfection 7,1] Our holy mother encourages us to love one another with a pure love which is undivided helping one another on being faithful to our religious consecration and observing the Carmelite rule. In so doing we become a beloved father among ourselves just like St. Joseph.
We are encouraged by St. Joseph to become a beloved father to those in both initial formation and those in on going formation. Being a father to them entail teaching the Ideals of our life and how to live an authentic Carmelite consecration in imitations of our saints who wore this holy habit of our lady of Mount Carmel.
It calls us of being responsible friars in light of our spirituality in fostering Marian devotion and Joseph cult in line with the Carmelite constitution and the church directives. Taking Mary and the child awakens being ready always and keeping watch and pondering the word of God day and night for that where we encounter Jesus the word made flesh. [Matt 25:10–13]
In a more diverse altitude a father is real when he becomes like St. Joseph who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care this also applies to those in garden of Carmel because as friars we are also entrusted with the souls of those who are discerning the ways of holiness, who have the zeal of ascending mount Carmel in a more perfect way both in the religious life and those whom we tend in the green pastures of spiritual direction ministries. For friar John of the cross would remark that “a tress that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time.” [sayings of light NO.06]. This calls to respond in a spirit of love to the church urge of Holiness through the grace of God for the key to holiness rests on love-love of God. It is the Holy spirit who moves us closer to God’s holiness [lumen Gentium 5]
A beloved father is one who listens desires to experience a divine intimacy relationship with God. The Carmelite rule emphasis more on praying without ceasing standing in the presence of God like prophet Elijah. Joseph is the perfect model to express this prayer of quiet for the tradition depicts him as a good listener to the voice of God. We can also imbibe this way of life of Joseph Carmelite charism calls for a contemplative prayer which leads us to an ultimate union with God.
St. Joseph the beloved father was always attentive to the voice of God as a pious Jew the church fathers echoes that he prayed the psalms. Today as Carmelites we are called to emulate this icon of Joseph to listen and discern the voice of God and the intuition of the Holy spirit in the midst of the noisy world. Joseph not only listen but obeys immediately being faithful in the celebration of divine office and the sacrifice of the holy mass we walk in the same path with the beloved father St. Joseph.
In conclusion, the apostolic letter calls us and awakens our Carmelite spirit at this present time to become agents of love in the society with a spirit of stewardship with all that God has given us. Reaching out to the rest of humanity the poor, the abandoned and the least of the brothers. Let’s arise and shine in love like St. Joseph, for at the eve of our lives we shall be judged on the account of love, for we are called to become a beloved father in the God’s gift to the church PATRIS CORDE.
WHERE THERE IS NO LOVE PUT LOVE AND THERE YOU WILL FIND LOVE
BR. BENEDICT MALINDA OCD