St. Joseph’s Challenge — Finding Hope in Uncertainty Part 3

“The Anxiety of Saint Joseph” (L'anxiété de Saint Joseph), 1886-1894 by James Tissot in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

By Kathy Keary

Part 3 of 3. All the parts are here.

As we conclude our Advent series, you are invited to use your imagination to walk in the shoes of Joseph when he learns that his betrothed is with child. Allow Joseph’s story to speak to your story as you respond to challenging and uncertain times.

Step 1: Find a comfortable spot and enjoy a moment of silence. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer experience.

Step 2: Slowly read The Birth of Jesus according to Matthew 1:18-25.

Step 3: Assume the role of Joseph as you imagine the scene. Be in Joseph’s shoes. Feel what he feels. Experience this as he did. Allow the Spirit to guide your imagination.

Picture the details surrounding you when you learn that Mary is with child. Where are you? How do you learn the news? How do you react? What do you say to Mary and to others?

Imagine the details following the dream. What do you do and say? What are your words to Mary? What do you say to others?

Step 4: Go beyond the written text and imagine what is transpiring deep within Joseph.

  • What thoughts and emotions are evoked when you learn that Mary is pregnant? How do these thoughts and emotions influence your response?
  • What is your response on an intellectual and emotional level when you hear these words in a dream spoken by an angel: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
  • What stirs within you when you awake from the dream? Do you have any reservations? Does any uncertainty remain?
  • What within you allows you to take Mary into your home? What do you rely on? What is your source of strength and courage?
  • Do you experience uncertainty as you travel in Joseph’s shoes? In what ways? How do you react to this uncertainty?
  • How do you find hope to move forward with God’s plan amid uncertainty?

Step 5: Allow Joseph’s response to speak to your experience of living through uncertainty.

  • Is uncertainty a part of your life experience in the here and now? Does Joseph’s uncertainty speak to your own experience?
  • What can you cling to as you traverse through uncertainty?
  • How did Joseph find hope to move forward with God’s plan amid uncertainty? Where is hope waiting for you? What is Hope’s message?

Step 6: Reflect on how you have been touched by this experience. Share with God what is stirring within. Allow space for the divine to communicate to you.

Step 7: Conclude your prayer time resting in the divine embrace. Enjoy a moment of stillness savoring the silence within.

As you continue your journey through Advent, consider assuming the role of the characters in other infancy narratives. Allow their story to speak to your story. Allow their example to be a source of inspiration for you. As you approach the miracle of Christmas Day, may you find hope amid uncertainty as you witness the strength and courage exhibited by Mary and Joseph. May their hope spark a sense of hope deep within you.

More for You: Watch a guided meditation video for Advent.

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[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

Image is “The Anxiety of Saint Joseph” (L’anxiété de Saint Joseph), 1886-1894 by James Tissot in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

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