St Joseph

Rejoice, O Hearts!


This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.

~ Psalm 118:24

          Today, a quest and an immense fight came to a happy end. We had been facing a great test as a family, and on this Wednesday, on a day when I make it a point to honour St Joseph, the great, silent saint brings me heaven’s closure in a joyful ending. Among the things I will remember about this Lent and Easter, will be my journey from frustration and weariness at having to fight so hard and so often for our rights, to hope that God would cut us a miracle path through crushing mountains and finally to the sweet joy of answered prayers, each day journeyed with St Joseph.

Rejoice, O hearts,

and be very glad!

Lent 36 ~ No Longer A Slave


          An early morn dream. Dealing with extended family. Where I usually did things for people which they could very well do for themselves, where I allowed people to make me do things for them which they were more than capable of accomplishing by themselves, where I gave permission to others to use force upon me to hide their own cowardice to do what they should… something has changed. In the dream today, I said the words,

N…., be brave and do what is right.

In the dream, I was filled with compassion for the other, I understood their difficulties, their struggles – but for the first time, I did not go forward to make things right by depriving others of the chance to be courageous.

Be brave and do what is right

          I didn’t just leave the person to flounder either. Instead, I followed each trembling step with my heart – but I did not go to do what they needed to learn to do by themselves.

         For hours following the dream, I pondered its meaning. It was only in the afternoon, when a distinct hush had settled into the hearts of the little yellow~grey breezes slipping in and out of the trees, that I remembered to seek the help of St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams. Please tell me what the dream means, I prayed. Do I have to be brave about something? Is there some right thing I need to do?

          It was night when I understood.

          I am no longer the same person.

          No longer a prisoner of my compassion. Of my fear.

The LORD looked down from His holy height,
from heaven He beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.

~ Psalm 102: 20 – 21

         I am no longer a slave.


Lent 27 ~ I Say, Rejoice!


Rejoice, the Lord is King:
Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing,
And triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart,
Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!   ~ Rejoice, the Lord is King, hymn by Charles Wesley


          Over and over, in a never-ending loop throughout the day, unseen voices sang this hymn in my inner ear. My heart had settled once more into a strange peace. Strange because it felt as if my heart was beyond any more troubling related to the issue we were facing as a family.

As if we had passed over something.

          Sure enough, the miracle we sought through St Joseph’s intercession came to fulfilment. Against all human hope, God worked a miracle.

          During the Hour of Grace today, the dawn broke, for our child and for us.

        Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! 


Lent 25 ~ Hoping Against Hope


There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to St. Joseph is unlimited: It extends to all our needs, and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard.   ~  St. Thomas Aquinas


          My novena to St Joseph ended yesterday. His feast day, the 19th of March, falling on a Sunday this year, is celebrated today. As I write this, dark clouds have been gathering in my heart since a phone call this afternoon. Although I know that no word from my heart escapes St Joseph, fear finds me today.

          My faith in St Joseph is an odd one. Not borne out by many quickly answered prayers, it’s a faith built upon something deeper and less understood, even by me. Perhaps, this is best expressed by St Joseph himself. Some years ago, I was journeying with a cousin who was facing marriage difficulties. The situation was desperate and there was little hope. I strongly encouraged my cousin to seek St Joseph’s help because I had a feeling it had come to the end of the road for me, that there was nothing more I could do to help her. To my chagrin, she resisted.

          And then I heard St Joseph’s voice, clearly, in my spirit,

I am your journey, not hers.

         St Joseph was telling me then, as he is even now, that I need to keep the eyes of my heart on the journey. That it is not as much the final answer to prayer as much as it is the walk.

          I don’t know what lies in store in the days and weeks to come. I do know that after failing to get some much needed hope today, I am deeply troubled, fearful that things will not work out the way we are desperately hoping for. Yet, in a way I cannot explain, I also suspect it is St Joseph who never feared to do the impossible, who has come this Lent to tell me I should no longer be a slave to fear. That is he who brought the words of the song for me ahead of time knowing that my hopes in man will be thwarted today and that I will fall into worry once more.

          How do I do this, St Joseph? I ask. How do I break this new manacle of fear?

          In immediate reply comes the lines from today’s Reading,

He believed, hoping against hope
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.   ~  Romans 4: 18, 22

          Hope is the antidote to fear.


Lent 23 ~ At Last


Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
            but sustain the just,
            O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.   ~  Psalm 7: 10


          For close to 20 years, work life has been very difficult at the hands of a very cruel man. Many were this superior’s victims, but I suspect he reserved his “best” for me as I was the only Christian in my organisation, while all the rest, like him, were Muslims. For some reason, he hated Christians with a hatred that can only be described as feral. I prayed so desperately for years and years – for his conversion, to be safe from this man, to be unseen, and finally, when all else failed, for him to be removed – but it felt as if the tide would never turn.

God sharpens His sword,

strings and readies the bow ~ Psalm 7: 13

          A few months ago, desperation strangely left my prayers for this last one. In its place came an odd steeliness, as if my heart, despite its pain, had steadied against his cruelty. In that steeliness was the conviction that this man had to go if the rest of this workplace was to be saved and renewed in the Spirit. And he had to go to where he would, perhaps, finally come to his wall, forced to finally look within himself and see the damage his reign here has caused.

Let the malice of the wicked come to an end

          Yesterday, listening to No Longer Slaves, my heart gazed at the words, I am a child of God. As I took them and folded them into my heart, the lightest whisper caressed my soul,

Will you forgive him?

Will you release him to God?

For he is God’s child as much as you are.

          Now, honestly, that didn’t sit too comfortably with me. Still – I forgive him, Lord, I replied dutifully – but mechanically, with a dullness that can only be imagined. It doesn’t come from my heart, Lord, I admitted ruefully, But that’s all I can summon for now.

          And just in case effort was lacking the first time, I tried a second time.

I forgive him.

Nothing happened.

The air didn’t shimmer.

No burden left my shoulders.

My heart beat steadily on.

          This afternoon, I listened to No Longer Slaves on loop again. Just like the previous day, I remained enthralled, caught in the spirit of the song. Slowly, as the warmed winds of March playfully gusted around the house, I became gently aware that one particular line lingered a little longer over my heart than others,

You surround me with a songOf deliveranceFrom my enemies
          Over and over as the song played, each time it was those three lines that trailed their sweetness deep within me, like some mystical incense.
You surround me with a songOf deliveranceFrom my enemies

          It was late in the evening, on Miracle Thursday, when the news came. St Joseph, to whom I have prayed desperately for help with this man, brought me God’s massive miracle:

Against all odds, my superior is finally being transferred to another organisation;

He is being sent against his will.

          On the 24th of March, on a Friday when we remember the Jesus who died for our sins, both mine and this man’s, he goes to this new life. The ever reliable grapevine tells us that his replacement is another piece of work. So, our difficulties do not end. Nevertheless, my heart is not in the least troubled – for the now – even if Calvary stretches on. Because after nearly two decades, St Joseph has come to tell me that the miracle has come. I have been delivered at last.

          Gentle relief coursed through me that this one door is finally closing. All through the ensuing hours of Thursday I reflected on this. Finally, when the hour was indeed late, I made ready to turn in for the night.

          It was well past midnight, when a soft voice came to the door of my soul,

          Because you forgave

          Tears burned my eyes.


Lent 19 ~ The Angel’s Prayer


As in the days when You came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

~ Micah 7: 15


          With a number of things weighing heavily upon my heart, I have been trying to trust that everything will work out. Every time I felt the frost of fear come too close, I made haste to place my anxieties in St Joseph’s hands, each time telling him,

Place it in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St Joseph,

followed by, I trust in You, Jesus.

          Then came several hours when no prayer seemed to work and the frost seemed to spear in deeper. At that moment, I remembered one whose aid I had not sought – my guardian angel – I hurried to this brave and noble heart. If God allows it, please give me a sign that all will be well – and let me in some way know that it is from you, I prayed.

          About an hour later, seeking something restful and beautiful this Sunday of the laughing winds, I came across a blog, charmingly titled, Small Moments. There, unexpectedly, was a tiny bloom, the sweetest line of all,

Snowdrops are said to mean ‘Hope and consolation’.

~ by Elizabethd, in Snowdrops, from Small Moments

          I hadn’t known that. That as tiny as they may be, snowdrops stood for hope, the massive grace that gives life when frost threatens power. In the past, crocuses and daffodils have been spring’s earliest heralds of joy for me and so, I kept an eye out for them even this year. Although earlier today, snowdrops had indeed appeared before me, I had not paid them much attention because I was intently looking out for what was familiar. When our eyes are fixed on something outside of God’s pathways, even if it is good in itself, we can certainly miss out on surprises that contain His word. We can miss following His light to where He wants us to be.

          But sometimes, a longer, more rutted path is necessary to get to where God is because He has more things to be revealed. The meaning of snowdrops now held close to my still wobbling heart, I turned to place my thanks into my angel’s hands, tremulously saying once more the prayer, I trust in You, Jesus.

          At that moment, deep within me, I sensed someone put a hand out, and in the gentlest of motions, change the words of the prayer to,

Jesus, I will trust in You.

          Just like that, hope found life once more by the addition of a single tiny word. In eagerness, I embraced the prayer which I knew my angel had brought.

          Praying it in restored hope, the last vestiges of anxiety left me and my heart steadied.

Flying Dove

Lent 17 ~ Ireland Lights the Way

desktop-1280x1024 (2)

O most loveable Jesus, the sighs of my heart rise up to You.

~  St. Bernadette Soubirous


          This morning, a troubled heart from Ireland sought prayers from me and a few others. The threat of losing one’s home is not to be taken lightly, not when it involves the construction of a windfarm on private land and a complete change of life. So, I sent up a quick prayer to God, asking Him how He wanted me to help.

          A thought popped into my head immediately. Offer to pray the St Joseph novena for this person, Enda. And it was the most perfect prayer for the time. Enda was the very same person who contacted me some years back and told me he had a strong feeling that I should recite the St Joseph novena for my workplace problems. And I did it, praying the novena a number of times in the years since. Although it took time, one by one, my workplace issues got resolved. I never forgot the power of those prayers. I never forgot St Joseph, the silent Discerner of Dreams. And I never forgot this beautiful soul, a family man with young children, who took the time to care for a stranger by introducing me to this particular devotion and who prayed so much for me too.

          Right after I replied to Enda telling him I would offer up the full 9-day novena for his sorrow, I learned that today, the 11th of March was indeed the first day that the novena is traditionally prayed, to end on the 19th, the feast day of St Joseph. I hadn’t known that and had not planned on praying the novena at all till this plea for help.

O most loveable Jesus, the sighs of my heart rise up to You.

          Truly, everything in life is ordered and ordained by the Almighty. What transpired this morning was no coincidence. My friend’s sighs had risen up and reached Jesus. And it is the will of God that all of us whose help was sought, unite our prayers with Enda’s. We all live in different parts of the world, yet, as members of Christ’s body, faith and love joins our hearts in the precious unity that marks those who love Jesus.

          Feeling now the mystical sweetness of this call to prayer, a warm fire lit in my heart for my friend. And then, I realised something.

          Three days ago, heeding the kingfisher’s call to be still and listen, one of the three presses of spirit I received was of Ireland. I had gone in immediate search of what Ireland meant for me but nothing remained long enough on my heart. I retreated, but in the belief that it would be revealed in due course.

          Now, lit by the first rays of the sun of understanding, an invisible finger traced a trail,

Ireland. Enda. St Joseph. 


Lent 20 ~ Grief to Joy


          Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.   ~  John 16: 20

          One major problem is resolved today even without the win of a court case to help us. My heart is filled with a deep peace and serenity to see the joy in other hearts. For the confirmation of the good news to come on a Wednesday, a day I dedicate to St. Joseph, means a lot to me. It says to me that St. Joseph heard a mother’s plea.

          Looking back over our journey these past few months especially, something stands out – after struggles, consolation comes, but it lasts for short time before another struggle looms bigger. I often felt as if we needed to ask for grace and strength and hope – every few days. It puzzled me why grace didn’t seem to last very long. Often I wondered if it meant that I wasn’t being grateful enough or if I was blind and deaf to what God had so kindly laid out for me.

          While it is all that as well, it came to me today that perhaps this is what it feels like when it gets closer to a summit. When the path gets steeper towards the end, consolation gets replaced by a new need ever so often, making us seek new light from heaven just as soon as we have been comforted.

          I may never know the answer to it. In some ways today, it matters not either. As the eastern skies burst into a blaze of silvery orange, I know that in this one grief of ours, the old words I heard one still dawn 14 years ago, Sorrow before joy, has come true.

          Grief has indeed become joy.

Lent 16 ~ My Silent Help


          Truly, I doubt not that the angels, wondering and adoring, came thronging in countless multitudes to that poor workshop to admire the humility of him who guarded that dear and divine child, and labored at his carpenter’s trade to support the son and the mother who were committed to his care.   ~  St. Francis de Sales on St. Joseph

          Today, I remember the man who watched over me silently, who is a mere prayer away. I came to know St. Joseph only in recent years. Slightly more than a decade ago, I rediscovered my faith and began the practice of the Catholic tradition of reciting special novenas in honour of the months of the year and in honour of special saints. It was then that I learned that March was the St. Joseph month, in honour of his feast day on March 19th. I found the novena recited in his honour and I prayed it diligently for the 9 days.

          It was then that I learned that he was called the Discerner of Dreams. And that he was also invoked for needs connected to work and jobs.

          Since then, I’ve sought his hand to make sense of dreams. I’ve prayed to him desperately when faced with work struggles. Each time, I believe he answered – though not always as I wished – because St. Joseph does the will of God, not mine.

          Several years back, before I formed an affection for this saint, an Irish member of a forum mentioned how prayer had resolved work problems involving 3 people on his team. Something about that post moved me and I reached out to that forum member. A short while later, this person contacted me and told me he had a strong feeling that I needed to seek St. Joseph’s intervention. He gave me a prayer and it has been one I’ve turned to time and again.

          That forum member has now become a dear, dear friend. He has had my back many times since and there’s nothing I would not do for him and his family. And today, I realise something I never saw before: St. Joseph had brought me a friend.

          As the sun sets in a bed of tangerines and purples, I think of that silent, humble man who worked hard for his little family, pondering and praying in silence and in peace. Who never hesitated to act in order to protect. He whose heart was always in God’s that he heard even the softest whisper of heaven.

          Earthly father of Jesus. Miracle Worker. Discerner of dreams.

          Finder of friends. Maker of friendships.

          Beloved by angels.

          My silent help.

Lent 14 ~ Destiny



You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for You are my refuge.
Into Your hands I commend my spirit;
You will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.
But my trust is in You, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
In Your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.   ~  Psalm 31: 5 – 6; 14 – 16


          For years, Into Your hands I commend my spirit, had been the first offering of my day to God. But somewhere last year, I forgot the prayer of my rising – and didn’t even realize it. This morning, though, it was the first vine of prayer that wove its way from my heart to God’s. I smiled to see my old prayer~friend again.

          After the usual morning chores, I settled down to work from home. Yesterday had been a full day. Apart from work, optional retirement had been weighing very heavily on my mind because I found out yesterday that some changes at work will be coming into effect soon. A safeguard that has protected me so far could be dismantled. If that does happen, I would have no choice but to seek a transfer or quit my job. A transfer would mean a very long daily commute, wearing me down further; with quitting, naturally, my thoughts went to our finances. We still have some way to go and I was concerned about the impact of retiring even a year earlier. While my musings didn’t agitate me nor make me fearful, it did lodge deep within like thick mud.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit

          This morning, when I went to my daily Readings, I was mildly startled to see the same morning prayer appear before me in the Responsorial Psalm. Why was the prayer slipped into my heart today, of all the days? I  suddenly wondered. 

          Then, my eyes fell upon a verse, and it struck my heart like a light bolt.

In Your hands is my destiny



Curtiss Ann Matlock

Southern stories of gumption and grace

Padre Peregrino

Going Towards the Light

Pens and Journals

Thoughts, Stories and Photography by Nancy Janiga

Scraps of Joy

- a Joy infused view of the world


Life with cats, and other things...

Oceans in the Desert

Diving Into The Ocean of His Love

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

Going Towards the Light


Life, love, photos, poetry, prayer,and personal musings: a bit of everything


comfort and joy from my home to yours

Reflections from an Open Window

Linda Raha's Writing Corner

Muddling Through My Middle Age

Definitely older, possibly wiser....

Peaceful Heart, Open Mind

Going Towards the Light

The Breadbox Letters

Going Towards the Light

The Invisible Scar

raising awareness of emotional child abuse and offering hope for adult survivors

%d bloggers like this: