Joseph’s Way

(Dream of Joseph - Rembrandt)

(Dream of Joseph – Rembrandt)

By Charlie Johnston

(I have been thinking a lot about obedience this last week. Throughout the world, the legitimacy of authority has been tumbling – and it has set people into confusion. The top officials of the American government are the most determined enemies of its founding principles and Constitution. I do not regard the American government as having legitimacy any more – and I think a lot of people have come to the same conclusion. In Europe, confidence in the legitimacy of the European Union is collapsing at breakneck speed. In the Middle East, there is no authority, just roving bands of rival Jihadist warlords. A cancer is eating away at the legitimacy of those who hold power throughout the world – and rational people throughout the world are withdrawing their consent to be governed by power-mad progressive and regressive forces.

This has led to rebellion against even that which is legitimately constituted. I have been appalled lately to see how quickly seemingly faithful Christians are ready to condemn the Church’s structure as illegitimate. I do not speak here of disagreeing with particular decisions or procedures, but of taking the drastic step of withdrawing consent to be governed by its legitimate authority. An entity can be wrong without forfeiting its authority. I have often disagreed with American policy through my life – but this is the first time I have ever rejected it as illegitimate. I am terrified to see so many raising their voices against the legitimacy of Church authority. There has been no break on doctrine. So what animates it?

In Christianity, obedience is not the submission of the lesser to the greater. If that were so, how could it be that, after the temple, Jesus went up and was obedient to His parents? Rather, it is a means of opening channels of grace. Authority is bound to consider carefully and issue direction from just and righteous grounds, without taint of self-interested motives. Those bound by authority are bound to obey legitimate orders, even as they maintain the right to a fair hearing in critique of those orders. If authorities fail their duty of diligence in issuing direction, the subordinate may sanctify them by obedience and respectful critique. If the subordinates are disobedient, the authority can sanctify them by the care with which they approach their own duty. We open up channels of grace for each other.

I am contemplating this that I may write in some depth about it. But today I offer something different. I wrote the fictional story that follows in the late 90s. It is a story about promise, trust and obedience – a meditation. It was the first of what will eventually be 20 such meditations, each attached to a Decade of the Rosary. I will not finish all of it until after the Rescue. As it happened, though St. John Paul had not yet proclaimed the Luminous Mysteries when I wrote this, once he did, I knew that this is a meditation on the First Luminous Mystery – the Baptism at the Jordan.)

Joseph’s Way


The true son of true God was

adopted by a man, that all men

might truly be adopted by God.

Taking on our humanity He gave us a

share in his divinity. And so, we are

become a new race – sons and

daughters of the living God.

I: In His Father’s Tent 

“Why must the girls marry the old men? Most like the young men better.”

Jacob’s right hand twitched; the chisel in it jumped and nicked the fleshy pad in his left. His son’s voice startled him. Save for the scraping of the wood, the tent had been silent all morning. He looked up from his bench and glared at his son. No use. Joseph was planing boards at the far end of the tent, his back to the father. Jacob’s beard lifted in wry amusement. His enigmatic son says something interesting – and does it with his back turned. How appropriate.

“Are you thinking you’d like to be married, then?” the father asked, his lips pursing to suppress his mirth.

Joseph kept planing.

“No, Father,” he said. “I just thought…well, we all laugh and play together as children, then the girls are gone. They enter the house of an elder and we don’t speak any more. It must be…fearful. And maybe lonely for them.”

Jacob was thunderstruck. How to respond to this outpouring?

“You’ve an eye for beauty, Joseph. Perhaps one of your childhood friends will bear a daughter who will be ripe when it is your time.”

Jacob knew immediately it was a silly, stupid thing to say, but he could think of nothing else.

Joseph was silent. There were many boards yet to plane today. Jacob watched his son’s back for a moment, then took up his chisel and turned back to his work. It was not until late in the day that the raspy rhythm of chisel and plane was broken again.

“I saw a woman stoned,” Joseph said.

Jacob looked up, amazed again, but wary now. “An adulteress?” he asked.


“That is our law, handed down from Moses.”

“It was horrible,” Joseph said, his back still to his father. “She was all purple and bleeding, pleading for mercy. But there was no mercy there. Can this be what God intends?”

He turned to his father, eyes full, a hint of tremor on his lips. His hands kept to the wood.

Jacob’s left hand lay flat on the workbench, his right clenched a fist around the chisel. His eyes were steady and fixed on his son.

“Who was she taken with?” he asked.

“A friend of her childhood. She was barely 14.”Stoning-Bible

Understanding dawned. The father closed his eyes and lowered his head. When he lifted it again his gaze was penetrating and clear.

“Did the three of you once laugh and play together?” he asked his son.

Joseph turned back to his work. He had overplaned this board. It was ruined. Jacob saw it, too.

“Gather the wood scraps together now and take them to your grandfather,” Jacob said. “It will be cold tonight.”

“But Father, I have ruined this board. I must…”

“You must take the wood scraps to your grandfather.” Jacob’s voice was low, even gentle, but it compelled obedience. “The sun will soon set. There will be time enough tomorrow to correct your errors.”

The father turned back to his work as the son gathered together the scraps. Jacob worked late that night, pausing occasionally to examine with wonder the single misshapen board his son’s meticulous hands had ever formed.

II: The Coming of the Ark


Until his world crashed, Joseph had been preoccupied with a fantastic dream. Six times it had come, every third night these last few weeks.

It always began in a tent; a tent like his father’s, but not his father’s. Joseph was alone, doing detail work with the chisel – the sort his father always did. It was magnificent work; impossibly rich ebony, finely filigreed and ornate, more beautiful and delicate than any he had ever seen. He was lost in the work, intent on each detail when the tent began to fill with a brilliant, gently pulsing light. Turning around, he looked into the eyes of a lean, sinewy man of about 30 (his own age) who, nonetheless, bore the flowing, white beard of a patriarch. He somehow knew this to be Moses. Behind Moses was a box; the sort in which a queen might keep her most precious jewel. It was simple, yet beautiful: olive wood rubbed and oiled, inlaid with a pale blue ivory. Joseph went to it and knelt in wonder, astonished at this unlikely source of bright, throbbing light that yet did not blind. Unable to take his eyes from it, he asked, “Is this the Ark?”

“Guard it well,” Moses replied. Then Joseph would awaken. The dream should have come again last night. It might have, had Joseph slept at all. Mary came instead. It was late afternoon and Joseph was surprised to see her. It was not yet time for her to come into his house so he seldom saw her alone. She delivered the blow with a gentle, almost playful, smile.

“I am with child,” she said.

Joseph was sure he had not heard her correctly but was so confused he could say nothing at all.

“I am with child,” she repeated.

His mind raced. How can this be? Why is she smiling? Is she taunting me? No, she never taunts. He finally asked, “Who is the father?”

“Pray and you will know,” she replied, and then was gone. Joseph had never felt so alone, so forsaken, so completely and utterly crushed. And yet…that smile. Mary was not upset, certainly not frightened. In truth, she seemed joyful. How could she be joyful about such devastating news?

Joseph had long ago dismissed the idea of marriage. After witnessing a stoning he had dedicated himself, body and soul, to God, in reparation for all those without mercy and as an offering for all those in need of it. He would never have thought to court Mary. She was the most beautiful, graceful and refined woman in all of Galilee. Except for yesterday, she had never failed to bring a measure of joy to everyone she encountered, whenever she encountered them. There was an air of mystery about her; wisdom and peace flowed from some secret place in her that Joseph doubted anyone had ever penetrated. Yet she could be bold. It was Mary who told Joseph she wanted him to be her husband. After his initial shocked wonder, he delicately explained to her that he had entirely dedicated himself to God.

“So have I,” Mary replied almost gaily – and that was that. They were betrothed.

Joseph wondered what God could possibly intend for him with this humiliation. Though he had felt called from his youth to be a husband and father, he had renounced it for the sake of mercy, putting it entirely out of his mind. When Mary came to him, he thought surely God had sent her. How likely was it that any woman, much less this magnificent woman, should both love him and share his mission? And now this. What should he do?

A vision of Mary, purple and bleeding, flashed through his mind, filling him with horror and revulsion. dream-of-st-josephHe would not accuse her. He would never accuse anyone. But he could not take her into his home. A quiet bill of divorce – that was surely the answer. He would appear to be the scoundrel and she might have difficulty finding a husband, but she would not be put to shame.

Preparing to make his evening prayers, Joseph remembered Mary’s smile; her confidence and joy. So instead of asking why, he cried out, “O God, my God, what do You intend for me in this horrible situation?’

Nearby, the Angel of the Lord waited for sleep to overtake Joseph. The Angel had a message of supreme importance; news that what Joseph thought was an ending was, in fact, a beginning.

III: God With Us


Although he was glad to have found it when and where he did, Joseph would long be troubled by the memory of the wood.

It irritated him to have to travel when Mary’s time was so near. He found no work along the way; his tools were just an extra burden for the donkey. When Mary’s time did come, he was prepared. He had expected it to happen on the road. He had not expected to be unable to find a place for them to stay. Joseph was beginning to think the child would be born in a field when they came upon an old cattle shed. Joseph could not see how it kept the cattle in; it certainly would not keep the elements out. He had thought to use a manger as a makeshift cradle for the child, but there was none. Piles of hay were scattered indiscriminately about the floor. His heart sank. For a moment Joseph was overwhelmed by his own inadequacy – but only for a moment. Mary’s need was urgent.

Joseph looked around the shed and spied a pair of warped boards lying at the rear. He was filled with both gratitude and dismay as he examined them. The grain was fine; there were no knots. The wood was flawless. Only the workmanship was shoddy. The tools would prove useful, after all. Joseph had never worked at such a reckless pace. It took him scarcely half an hour to fashion a serviceable cradle. At that, he finished just in time.

Mary was gasping; the child would wait no longer. Joseph turned the full force of his attention on his wife. He took control with confident ease. The delivery was uncomplicated (thank God for small favors!). He cleaned the child and put him in Mary’s arms, then gathered together some hay and sticks to cover the holes in the roof. Finally, he was finished.

“You’re a good husband and father,” Mary murmured, handing him the boy.

Joseph’s brows lifted. “How so?” he asked.

“Everyone sees the blessing in honor and prosperity. Few can accept the blessing of humiliation and hardship.”

Joseph nodded. “The lower the net is cast, the more it gathers. nativity_shepherds_by_murilloHeaven is too high for us. I was thinking it must have pleased God to cast his net low tonight.”

“Why, Joseph, that’s profound.”

“Are you so surprised?” he asked, a wry smile curling his lips.

“The things you do are always profound, but you seldom speak of why you do them.”

They rested in quiet contemplation, cuddling their child and nuzzling together. The cattle lowed gently beside them.

After a while, Mary said, “That’s a lovely cradle you made.”

Joseph regarded it thoughtfully. “It will make a fine manger when we leave. The wood for it should not have been lying there, though.”

“Oh, Joseph, not everyone is as orderly as you.”

“That’s not it,” he said.

Mary looked at him quizzically.

“Were it not for the cattle, I would have thought this place abandoned,” he explained. “But that’s not it. It’s the Romans. They love to collect such boards for use in their instruments of torture and execution…”

Joseph sat up straight, suddenly alert. Someone was outside the shed. Were they to be turned away from even this place? A boy stepped into view – a shepherd, then two of his companions. Joseph was puzzled.

“Please, sir,” the first boy spoke for them all. “An angel told us the Messiah is born tonight…and that we could see him here.”

Joseph and Mary glanced at each other in surprise, then Joseph smiled and bade the shepherds enter. They knelt before Jesus, who slept contentedly in his mother’s arms.

“A most approachable king, this son of mine,” Joseph thought, surveying the scene. A bit of Scripture bubbled into his head: God’s ways are not man’s ways. This Messiah would surely startle and challenge Israel’s expectations of what God’s ways are.

IV: After the Temple


“I saw a woman stoned yesterday.”

Jesus’ voice did not startle Joseph. His son had been working with furious intensity all morning – always prelude to an outburst. The father paused to look in his son’s direction. The muscles in Jesus’ back rippled with rhythmic resolve and the shavings flew like sparks. At this rate he would finish two or three days work before the sun had set. Every board would be perfect, too. It was a continuing marvel to Joseph that his son should be both so passionate and so precise. The father resumed his carving, but kept his eyes on the son. Jesus would elaborate soon enough. It was always best to wait for him.

“I could have stopped it,” Jesus said.

“Why didn’t you?” Joseph’s voice was measured and calm.jesus-teen-joseph-carpenter-shop

“It is not my time,” Jesus replied. “Now is a time for obedience and restraint. I can master nothing until I have mastered these.”

“Even at the cost of a woman’s life?”

Jesus stiffened, his back straight now. The plane trembled in his hand, troubling the wood no longer.

“She lives,” he said softly. “The gates of heaven will open for her. But this is not what my father intends.”

“What, then,” Joseph pressed. “…that sin should continue?”

Jesus whirled around, eyes flashing. His voice was tight with suppressed fury.

“No,” he said. “That mercy should abound. All have received it from above. It will go hard for those who are miserly in giving what they, themselves, have received in abundance.”

Jesus’ anger suddenly gave way to stunned wonder. Joseph’s eyes were radiant with joy, but his lips were pressed tightly together and his cheeks were wet with tears. Wonder became alarm when Jesus saw the deep gouge in the mantle his father had been working on. Jesus had never seen him like this. He went to his father.

“I can fix that for you.”

Joseph shook himself, as if waking from a dream, and gazed at the mantle. Tilting his head in curiosity, he looked back at his son.

“How so?” he asked.

“I can make it take any shape I want.”

Joseph’s eyes narrowed. “Have you done this with your work?”

Jesus’ face flushed. He lowered his head. When he spoke, it was scarcely a whisper. “No, Father…just some sticks in the field.”

Joseph pushed up from the bench. He began to pace, stroking his beard in thought. “I see,” he said. “Why work at all then? Why not just take a stick and grow it into a house?”

The pacing stopped. Joseph looked directly at his son. Jesus regarded his father with dismay and confusion. He tried to speak, but all he could muster was a dry, choked rustle.

“I’ll tell you why,” the father resumed. “Because it is wrong. You are a man, Jesus. You did not become such to cover over shoddy work. That is a mark of lowness in a man. If you are to be lifted above that, you must always work the wood properly. No shortcuts – ever.”

Jesus’ eyes met his father’s stern, loving gaze. For a moment the son remembered having chosen Joseph from all eternity. He pushed the memory away; his father would not be pleased. Now his own eyes filled with tears. Joseph was a worthy man.

“Yes, Father,” he assented.

Joseph clasped the boy’s shoulder in the semi-embrace favored by reticent men. Father and son worked together in silence that afternoon, savoring occasionally the comfortable communion between them.

V: His Father’s Way


The Baptist was shaken to see Jesus standing before him, waist deep in the chill water of the Jordan River.

“I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me,” John said.

baptism-of-JesusMemories of Joseph flooded Jesus’ mind. Smiling gently, he told John, “Allow it now. It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.”

The Baptist plunged him into the water. Rising, Jesus shook his hair and beard, then departed for the desert.

His father was well pleased.


In my Father’s house are many mansions…

I go to prepare a place for you – John 14:2

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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179 Responses to Joseph’s Way

  1. Fera Henri says:

    A few years ago, I used to walk to school to bring lunch for my son, and while walking I would pray the rosary. Every time I would pray the third decade of the Joyful mystery, I would ask Our Blessed Mother about how Our Lord Jesus was born. One day I believe I received the answer. I was reminded of how my youngest son was born ; C-section. I remember being very joyful at this reply and I am still with this joy. Later, when I started to pray the Liturgy of The Hours, I would sometimes pause at this verse in psalm 110
    A prince from the day of your birth
    on the holy mountains;
    from the womb before the dawn I begot you.
    Also the Antiphon:
    The Lord said to me: You are my Son, today I have begotten you.

    (Psalm 110 3. The Jerusalem Bible ):
    Royal dignity was yours from the day you were born, on the holy mountains,
    royal from the womb, from the dawn of your earliest days.

    (Douay-Rheims Bible Psalm 109 3):
    With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sr Lorraine says:

    I’m surprised too that there was so much commentary on the details of how Mary gave birth to Jesus.
    Doctrinally, the Church has always taught Mary’s virginity has three aspects: before, during, and after the birth of Christ. She is the ever-virgin. Everything in Mary is significant in how it relates to Jesus. St Thomas says that Jesus has two nativities: in eternity, in the Trinity as he is born from the Father, and on earth as he is born from Mary. In eternity the Word has only a Father, not a mother; on earth, Jesus, the Word incarnate, has only a mother, not a human father. Pondering Mary’s virginity should lead us to deeper belief in Jesus.
    I think your story here, Charlie, is beautiful and does exactly that. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. justsayin392 says:

    Charlie, oh my goodness, what ‘peace in total surrender’ to Abba’s Will this captures! And, as usual, God’s timing for your post – and my delayed reading – are perfect. Another ‘next right step’ awaits tomorrow that will undoubtedly bring me through the next gateway toward deeper peace, despite the enemy’s pestering to the contrary. God willing, I will contemplate God’s exquisite use of your words through this storm, to the Rescue and beyond.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. says:

    In regards to your intro and the America’s legitimacy and moral authority i also believe they have none. I was struck by a conversation around the 4th of July this year which prompted me to not want to celebrate. I was struck by this thought at the Catholic Cemetery where there stood a stone erected to the Unknown Aborted Children. Next to the stone and flown over the stone was the American Flag. I thought how odd it is that the flag that contributes and continues to contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable humans shines next to and on the stone that honors them – I bet the devil laughs at this contradiction. The Country that kills humans at the rate of the United States has no moral authority. Would I have been both a good German saluting the Nazi flag in the 1940’s and a good Christian at the same time? I strugle with this because we no longer live in a Christian country and I think it probably has not been since we chose the position of dropping the first Atomic Bomb yet many Christians are b,lind to this or do not want to examine the truth. Chose – BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN OR A GOOD AMERICAN. YOU NO LONGER CAN BE BOTH!


  5. Beckita says:

    I am so sorry, in an empathetic way, Charlie.

    Perhaps the hyper-focus on the birth scene stems from living in a time when our Blessed Mother has been so maligned, especially in the blasphemies against Her perpetual virginity. Unfortunately, in an attempt to “defend” or “enlighten” many comments reflect confusion concerning the place of private revelation as well as gaps in knowledge from additional sources for understanding our faith. That being said, I certainly say/write things which reflect my own misunderstandings and ignorance. Sometimes it’s not until much later that I realize I’ve hurt or offended someone. (There’s a few of my previous comments which contained such great humor, or so I thought, which fell f.l.a.t.)

    Add to this the fact, many can be formulating similar comments that are simultaneously posted so that you must repeat what was already addressed. I have been guilty of writing a comment in haste without reading what has come before me.

    It seems to me, for the most part, the point of your writing this piece has missed the reflection it deserves, at least as measured by the comments expressed. What Steve wrote beautifully dwelt on the value of obedience and mercy. And this topic of obedience deserves such attention in this “Age of Disobedience” (a term first introduced to me in the messages of Anne a lay apostle)!

    In your meditation, I am especially drawn to considering the relationship between trust and obedience. In these end times when so, so many individuals and families have struggled and so, so many people have been emotionally wounded, crushed and abandoned, trust has been obliterated. I think this has been fertile ground for the satan to foment disobedience. Control is a HUGE issue for people recovering from all kinds of abuse. Obedience requires trustful surrender.

    Now, it’s off to cycling where I shall, while spinning away, chew on your line: “Obedience opens channels of grace.” Thank you, Charlie!


    • One other thought re a pain-free birth is that painful labor is a direct result of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Since Our Lady was not under the curse of original sin, it makes sense she would not suffer in labor.

      Liked by 5 people

    • NancyA says:

      Beckita, you make a point which may be overlooked, so I want to highlight it here: the manner in which groups of comments get approved and published means that a number of people might have a similarly veined thought to express, and when they all suddenly are approved, it seems a bombardment, rather than a discussion. It’s an unfortunate by product of the thoughtful discernment given to moderating comments. There is not always an opportunity to read what has been posted before.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That can be problematic, for sure, but I also find that it’s useful in helping to see the work before us and determine the next right step.

        I’m often frustrated with my little words, but what a great gift –– the ability to communicate –– and how much more dimension there is to it than mere words. John tells us from the outset, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And who of the Gospel authors understood better than John that the Word was Love? John certainly seemed to be fairly fluent in that language –– the language of Love.

        What a great gift –– The Word. I would add, The Gift, but if I dare to articulate any more, I’m certain that I would botch it. At any rate, it just reminds me how very far I have to go before I am also fluent in that language.

        The first time I traveled to Mexico, we arrived in some small seaside outpost and some of us realized instantly that we were not prepared to communicate effectively with the locals. That didn’t seem to stop me from defaulting to English as if it weren’t a glaring issue, but naturally that just resulted in very little being communicated, and a great deal of frustration. That kind of morphed into me and another guy in the group adopting an accent (imagine Speedy Gonzalez in the old WB cartoons). Obviously that was ridiculous.

        More important than what I had to communicate, though, was the fact that the locals were also trying to communicate with me. As that realization finally sunk in, I found myself increasingly focused on the other person. Listening carefully. Picking up on many of the non-verbal aspects. You know, it’s truly amazing how much a mere smile can communicate. Volumes! Eventually, I even began to rediscover some of what I had learned in Spanish I & II in high school, even though I really had to dig into a remote, dusty crevice in my brain. That really helped, but I mostly had to explore and discover various dimensions to communicating that I rarely needed to consider, much less practice. Challenging, but liberating.

        So I showed up to Mexico with a big, sharp ax, and found it virtually useless for splitting wood in that setting. Eventually I discovered that that meager folding saw in my pack got the job done. Thank God. Where that didn’t cut it, the simple little smile was invaluable… nay, probably the most effective.

        I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to be finally liberated of my fumbling little words in the life to come. For now, I sometimes I just think out loud (and that might be the case here), later revisiting my thoughts and finding them incomprehensible. Sigh. Smile.

        God Bless,


        Liked by 3 people

    • Doug says:

      I look at it this way. When my little 4 year old grand daughter gives me a stick figure drawing, it is so beautiful and my wife hangs it on the fridge to admire for a long time. It was done out of an act of love, innocence and simplicity. How can I not admire what the 4 year old did?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Phillip Frank says:

    “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but emptied himself and took the form of a slave”
    The above scripture passage reminds us that Jesus, though the son of the Trinity, removed his glory to be as fully human as possible.
    It is said that when He trasfigured on the mount in front of the three apostles, that a miracle did not ccure but the miracle seesed for a moment. The miracle which hid His true self and glory.
    Mystics see beyond the vale which covers our eyes disallowing us to see all but the ordinary. Both the mystical and sublime are occuring simultaneously. The mystic sees one, everyone else the other.
    Charlie is not a mystic, he sees in the ordinary like us, so his truth is as real as our experience is.
    Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived a mystical AND ordinary life, the mystical part hidden, the ordinary not. Scripture and private revelation are full of secrets and to claim then so.
    Here within lies the present dilemma and contradictory views.
    Choose your truth, they are both real.


  7. Jane says:

    Lovely little piece about Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Thank you Charlie


  8. Barb H says:


    Your meditation was very welcome. You know, I sit on St. Joseph’s side of the church in my parish every Sunday but I never really think about him. Your meditation made me think about St. Joseph and what an advocate he really is and how I’ve neglected him. He must be annoyed with me that I’ve never asked him for his intercession! I will remedy that this Sunday!

    Barb H

    Liked by 3 people

    • Petra says:

      I have a memory, sort of like a snapshot, of me as a little girl sitting in church next to my dad at Mass. And I remember suddenly looking at the statue of St. Joseph and thinking how wonderful he was, and how he was such a brave and strong man, but also quiet and hardworking, devoted, and that somehow I felt very drawn to him and that I should pray to him.
      I wish I could say I carried through with that, but I didn’t. Several years back I received the Prayer to St. Joseph card in the mail with some materials from a religious group, and I began saying it as a part of my nightly prayers.

      In the last six months or so, since both my parents are now gone, I began to ask St. Joseph to please be my “father,” the way I take Mary as my “mother” and that he guide and help me as I try to make my way to heaven, and protect me in a very literal way, bodily, since the father God gave me now is gone from the earth. I now say several prayers to St. Joseph each night; one for the the grace of a happy death and for all those who are dying

      “O St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and true spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray for those who will die this day or this night.” I add: “…especially for those whom I would have prayed for had I known they were dying.” because I always feel badly when I hear of the death of someone I know and had not known they were dying.

      and “A Prayer in Honor of St. Joseph, Protector of the Church” which I found in an old missal:

      “O glorious Saint Joseph, chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus, the chaste spouse of Mary ever Virgin, the head of the Holy Family and then appointed by the Vicar of Christ to be the heavenly patron and defender of the Church founded by Jesus, most confidently do I implore at this moment thy powerful aid for all the Church militant on earth. Do shield with thy truly paternal love especially the Supreme Pontiff and all the Bishops and priests who are in union with the Holy See of Peter. Be the defender of all who labor for souls amidst the trials and tribulations of this life, and cause all the peoples of the earth to submit themselves in a docile spirit to that Church which is the ark of salvation for all men. Be pleased also, dear Saint Joseph, to accept this dedication of myself which I now make unto you, that you may ever be my father, my patron and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent devotion to the interior life. Grant that, following your example, I may direct all my actions to the greater glory of God, in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate heart of Mary and in union with you. Finally pray for me that I maybe a partaker in the peace and joy which were yours at the hour of your holy death. Amen.”
      Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, May 30, 1951.

      There’s the wonderful passage by St. Theresa of Avila regarding St. Joseph that is too long to post here, but you can read here:
      It’s under “Go to Joseph!.”

      And lastly, there was a pious Dominican of the 16th century, Isadore of Isolanis, who prophesied that “the sound of victory will be heard in the Church when the faithful recognize the sanctity of Saint Joseph. The Lord will let His light shine. He will lift the veil, and great men will search out the interior gifts of God that are hidden in Saint Joseph. they will find in him a priceless treasure.”
      God bless you.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jlynnbyrd says:

        Petra I love your family story and the that you found a way back to St. Joseph. I recently found prayers at EWTN to St. Joseph that have become meaningful to me. I do pray that the entire Holy Family is called upon in prayer for the sanctity of our own families, immediate, extended, and spiritual.
        Memorare to St. Joseph
        Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted.
        Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection.
        Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.
        Act of Consecration to St. Joseph
        O dearest St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to your honor and give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector and my guide in the way of salvation.
        Obtain for me a greater purity of heart and fervent love of the interior life.
        After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
        O Blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Petra says:

          jlynnbyrd: St. Faustina said that Memorare to St. Joseph daily (Diary, 1203), along with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

          Here’s what it says on the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy, Canada web site:

          “Saint Joseph had urged St. Faustina to have a constant devotion to him. He himself told her to recite three prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be) and the Memorare once a day. He looked at her with great kindness and gave her to know how much he is supporting this work (of mercy). He has promised her this special help and protection. She recited the requested prayers every day and felt his special protection.”

          I say that on occasion, but not every day. But maybe I’ll start, because it offers his special protection.
          thanks jlynnbyrd.
          God bless.

          Liked by 1 person

      • barb129 says:

        I love this Petra….thank you for sharing…


    • Doug says:

      Barb, not annoyed. He is patiently waiting. He is desirous of you.


  9. LJD says:

    It was a beautiful meditation! I’m glad to see that the nit picking won’t dissuade you from writing and sharing more. I think it’s a good situation that has been used to point out the vanities that we still hold on to. By that I mean the need to inject our own unicorns into a story you never meant to be tacked onto the beginning of Matthew.
    It shows your integrity and charity to allow the talk.
    To those who feel the need to point out certain things like you were there- I know we are all protective of the Theotokos and holy family. It is commendable, but sometimes the need to fill in all the blanks overtakes the beauty of what we do know and to just enjoy the mysteries God has allowed us to share in.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. lambzie37 says:

    God richly bless you Charlie for your consideration of Joseph’s incredible role in the birth early years and ministry of Jesus. I need to contemplate more on this aspect of the early life of Jesus.

    As the year of Mercy descends upon us, I hope to be much more focused on becoming a better disciple and agent of mercy. Here during my time in Medjugorje, God has been intensely convicting me on how quick I am to offer judgement, contempt or worse still indifference to the plight of the wounded souls God places before me. I fail to love with His brand of unconditional love. I have always been richly blessed throughout my life. So often God has plucked me away from those who would harm me (sometimes miraculously) and lifted me from my struggles by the simple acts of kindness done by loving souls who BECAME Jesus to me. Predominant among those blessings and souls is my WONDERFUL best friend and husband, Doug.
    I humbly ask for your prayers in my endeavor to be much more merciful. It sadly seems to be a recurring theme with me. I am so thankful for the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation.

    As “they” say, be careful what you ask for. I expect even now, the evil one is conniving how he will work to thwart our best intentions as a church to bring about this year of mercy. Individually and as a whole, our church needs it more than ever!! (Psst-quiet please, he doesn’t know we win 😉 ).

    Doug and I have been honored to bring your petitions here to Medjugorje as we have visited all the holy sites and attended Masses and opportunities for individual and corporate prayer. What a joyful place this is! Gospa, that is Our Lady in Croation, urges us to pray, pray, pray! Her latest message on November 2nd is longer, and seems most urgent. You can read it at My understanding is that the decision on the authenticity of these apparitions belongs souly to the pope now because the panel has finished its investigation. Regardless, you will find nothing in this most recent message that contradicts either the bible or the magisterium. Rather, you will find a mother’s pleading for us to do the work of her son! By their fruit you will know them.

    God bless,

    Liked by 6 people

    • charliej373 says:

      God bless you, Jacki. It is often assumed that the satan is assaulting the Church, and so he does. But I have heard it said wisely that every prayer, every pure intention, is an assault on the gates of hell – and the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Holy Church. Satan fights so furiously because he is under assault. He will not prevail…and the assault against him gathers force even as he fights ever more ferociously.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Petra says:

        One time I was overwhelmed by the thought of how feeble and fruitless my tiny Hail Mary’s were. I began to feel stupid for thinking my few Hail Mary’s could impact anything at all, given they are like grains of sand against the ocean waves of evil. I felt discouraged, but then I figured, well, it’s all I’ve got. I asked God to help me pray better, and kept saying my measly Hail Mary’s.
        A short while later I realized the Hail Mary must be pretty darn powerful, even one, and even if uttered by us weak and fickle humans, because the satan sure tried to get me to stop! Now I think they of them like bullets we fire at the enemy, and there is an unending arsenal. The rosary is our weapon, and the Hail Mary’s are the bullets. (Maybe the Our Father is a hand grenade? 🙂 )
        God bless.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Doug says:

      Wow! I am married to such a gem. My dear, what a beautiful soul you are!


  11. says:

    What a beautiful story Charlie…thank you for sharing…it makes me reflective and thankful. God Bless you.


  12. Laurie says:

    Beautifully rendered.


  13. Mary says:

    I’m glad you brought this up as I have been confused ever since you wrote about obedience on your trek up the mountain when you had a gun pulled on you and told you were not allowed to camp. You obeyed what you said was legitimate authority but now it appears you do not believe Govt. (by that it would appear also means their extended representatives as in forest rangers or whoever pulled the gun) is legitimate authority and you don’t feel compelled to obey them. I am totally confused by the issue of obedience to the state at this point. The church, crystal clear.


    • charliej373 says:

      Mary, I’m not an anarchist. To withdraw consent to the legitimacy of the government is a serious thing and not one I take lightly. In the summer of 2012, we were certainly fraying, but…

      1) the gov’t takeover of health care had NOT yet been implemented – and promises were still being made that Christian entities would be exempted from the more onerous mandates.
      2) We did not know that the NSA was spying on everyone all the time.
      3) We did not know that the IRS, OSHA, BATF, FBI and other agencies were being used to attack Christians and conservatives because of their beliefs. Even when it was revealed in 2013, top officials said if it was true they would get to the bottom of it and stop it. In 2014 those officials on the left said it was the right thing to do – and it continues even now.
      4) The president was not routinely issuing commands contrary to law and Congress to impose his will.
      5) The Supreme Court had not taken upon itself the role of oligarchy which does not interpret the law, but imposes its will.
      6) Christians were not being fined, fired, bankrupted and jailed for exercising their legitimate Constitutionally-guaranteed right of free practice of their faith.
      7) Top military leaders were not being purged to get rid of Christians who take their faith seriously.

      I could go on, but that government utterly forfeited its legitimate claim to our loyalty and consent in the last three years does not mean I should have violated what I regarded as legitimate, though often errant, three years ago. Even today, a park ranger exercising legitimate authority in a national park, where he has legitimate, rational authority, would be reasonable.

      So what really is confusing in that? I DO feel government is legitimate authority when it acts by the larger consent of the governed and respects its constraining law. I do not when it becomes a series of acts of raw power, law be damned. Perhaps you just don’t realize how far the American system has gone off the rails in just three years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bobg says:

        I think the more serious issue is in a government which is increasingly violating natural law and the rights of the governed is when we are called to obey and when we must refuse obedience. I like what Charlie says about trying to live our lives well and ignore the government whenever possible but there are two things here. First, is that there are still many good people who are responsible for having a role in government and we must be as kind and respectful of them and of reasonable laws as possible. Second is that I should obey all reasonable laws except when a law asks me to violate the moral law in a serious way. Then I am obligated to refuse consent and to pray for the grace and the right way to do so. Remember Peter, I think, told Christians in a seriously failing Roman Culture, to “Obey Caesar” and Paul said to respect authority and yet in matters of true gravity Christians were willing to become lion food when necessary.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mary says:

        I do realize it quite well, I am just confused as to how long I am to remain obedient to illegitimate power and still remain civil and Godly at the same time. I can’t serve two masters but at the same time I am a member of a civil society and it is getting harder to find that line of demarcation and breathe. Our box is getting smaller and I get tired of marching in lock step with this/these regimes and at this point even a park ranger, a teacher, a cop, a doctor, a soldier, doesn’t seem legitimate authority to me so it is very confusing.

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          I understand, Mary. I have long said the time would be here when you can only see a step ahead of you – and sometimes not even that much. That is why I so emphasize the simple way: acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope. So long as you acknowledge God in all things, when you take the wrong step (which you will many times) He will carry you to safety. I have to live this, too. Trust in Him. You won’t always know what to do next, but you will find your trust is sufficient.

          Also, if you grow in confidence in the steps you are taking, do not begrudge another for choosing to calibrate differently than you. God will use the authentic personality of each of us to accomplish His will. Do not be needlessly antagonistic. Remember, many of those caught in the system are looking for a sign of hope, too. I have made a lot of friends who work for various levels of the federal government – who both inform me and are ready to stand for the people of God if it comes to that. Ignore the system, love the people in it and pray that your life gives good Christian witness to them.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Simone says:

          I am wondering what I can possibly do in the storm. My husband and I Will be more charity cases than any help at all. We are not handy, we have no homesteading skills. We are both more on the academic side but what good is that when we’re thirsty or hungry? Sheesh.


          • charliej373 says:

            So you think. You will be amazed at what you can do when you need to. Trust God and take the next right step. You will be astonished to find it is enough. His grace is sufficient for you, for His power is made perfect in weakness. Read II Corinthians 12 tonight and contemplate it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Simone says:

            yes, sir!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Simone says:

            For I fear that* when I come I may find you not such as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; that there may be rivalry, jealousy, fury, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.k
            I fear that when I come again* my God may humiliate me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, immorality, and licentiousness they practiced.

            This particular part jumped out at me. The whole idea that they are being mislead. I teach at the local high school and the lies about loving relationships we are supposed to tell our students are ridiculous. I will take this reading to heart and allow God to work through my own weaknesses if it means when He comes, He will not find the elements mentioned by Saint Paul.

            I guess the job I have to do, God truly willing, is simply to be the hope. It may be easier if I were handy. 😉


            Liked by 2 people

  14. Joe says:

    Just a beautiful meditation! Thank you for that!! Even though it is, as you say, a meditation, it seems perfectly plausible to me. Regardless, just beautiful. I can’t wait to see all of them in the flesh!!


  15. Sr Lorraine says:

    Since many Marian topics have come up here, I’d like to share this great resource, the Mary Page at the Marian Research Institute located at the University of Dayton. It’s a wonderful page, not only academic, but with a rich devotional aspect. Fr Johan Roten, one of the main scholars there, is like a walking encyclopedia on Mary.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ok…..I’ll try this again. I can’t tell if my post worked or not. I’m having difficulties LOL!!
    I’m with you Charlie on it being a natural childbirth because……Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple because it was written in the law that EVERY FIRST BORN MALE CHILD…..THAT BREAKS THE WOMB MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE TEMPLE SFTER THE ALLOTED TIME OF PURIFICATION. Luke2:23
    If Jesus didn’t really break the womb…..then the whole thing would be a lie… the eyes of the law and maybe God. Gods law wouldn’t apply then at all to them……but I have a strong feeling… totally applie to Mary.
    Did I make sense in explaining this? LOL!!

    Charlie, I love this…..more than you know. I have read it more than once and I find myself really pondering it.
    For me…’s truth.


    • Sr Lorraine says:

      I can see where you’re coming from on this, Charlanne, and appreciate that. Yet we honor Mary’s obedience here because the Law actually didn’t apply to her, just like it didn’t apply to Jesus, who is God and completely above the law.
      The idea of Mary’s physical integrity during the birth of Christ is an essential aspect of Mary’s virginity, and the Church has always taught it as such. But the Church has not decided on such issues as whether or not she had birth pains. The essential part of the virginity during Christ’s birth is her bodily integrity. As the article by Dr Miravalle indicates, we can see in this the theology of the body, that the body expresses the person. Mary’s virginal body expresses who she is as the ever-virgin Mother of God.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Steve says:

    After reading a majority of the comments and doing some contemplation of my own, a question came to me. What does it matter if Christ was born through the normal or mystical means? That Christ was born to Mary as God incarnate is what is important. That He lived on this earth in order to become a sacrifice for our sins is what is important. That He did His Father’s bidding and we all are now subject to salvation is what is important. It brought me back to what Charlie has been saying, that it doesn’t matter WHEN governments collapse, what matters is holding to Christ through the Storm in order to be a sign of hope to others, to bring souls back to God. Knowing exactly how Christ was born does not change the fact that He died for our sins. This finally led me to think that the historical accuracy of Charlie’s story is not what is important, but the message of the importance of obedience to God and legitimate authority. As a child (actually, even now!), I loved C.S. Lewis’ “Narnia” series. When I first read it, I did not understand it’s reference to Christ and Christianity. Later on, my eyes were opened to the beautiful message and story that C.S. Lewis was able to tell about the true meaning of Christianity. This did NOT lead me to believe that Christ appears as a Lion, nor that the Satan is a cruel witch, nor that fauns and ogres are historical fact. I saw it for what it was, a beautiful story that demonstrates the nature of our Holy Trinity. If you have problems with the historical accuracy of Charlie’s story, please go back and re-read it with the above in mind and try to see the message without an evaluation on the merits of the setting.

    Liked by 6 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Nice, Steve…very nice.


    • audiemarie2014 says:

      Steve, thank you for your post. I’m with you on this matter. Charlie’s meditation is beautiful and I appreciate the imagery I can use when praying the Rosary, or just thinking about the Mysteries. Having been poorly educated as a Catholic child and coming back to the Faith in just the last few years, I am (re)learning so much, and it can be overwhelming. Frankly, many comments have been confusing to me. I am sorry, but it’s been kind of a turn off. It has been surprising, but I guess this is part of growth?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Petra says:

        Don’t let the comments bother you too much audiemarie2014. If you will allow, I’ll try to explain a little so as to un-confuse you :-).

        As Charlie wrote in one reply, the ones who protested his “version” of Jesus’ birth have read pious writings by Catherine Anne Emmerich and others, which are really just extended meditations of their own, but ones some people trust as divinely inspired and so believe are probably true.

        The issue seems to revolve around the nature of Jesus’ birth, given that we all know how human children are born to women. Given that the test for virginity is in a physical structure of a woman’s body (and I am reluctant to be any more graphic, but you can google “test of virginity” and get what I am aiming at here) I believe some would want to say this structure was not disrupted by a birth. So then, how could the birth have come about? And so the Church has suggested that Jesus’ birth was a miracle that did not involve the birth canal.

        Frodo posted a passage from the Catechism of the Council of Trent on this topic in an earlier comment (thanks Frodo: I had never seen this before and it seems to help) in which the Church Fathers used the idea that Jesus “went forth from the sepulcher while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which his disciples were assembled, although “the doors were closed” and “… as the rays of the sun penetrate the substance of glass without breaking or injuring it in the least: so, but in a more incomprehensible manner, did Jesus Christ come forth from his mother’s womb without injury to her maternal virginity.” Mystics like Emmerich and others seemed to have written meditations consistent with this thought: that Jesus was born in a burst of light, not via the birth canal.

        So when Charlie shared his meditation that accepts the humanity of Mary and assumed a natural human birth of Jesus, not even thinking as did people in prior ages that a birth would destroy the physical structure that verified her virginity, some people here reacted strongly, pointing out that such a birth would make her a non-virgin and is not consistent with some other mystical writings which they believe describe what happened in truth.

        Have you ever heard the expression “arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”? It’s said Medieval scholars would debate this sort of thing ad nauseum. I think the discussion about Jesus’ birth veered into this sort of discussion.

        I hope this un-confuses anyone who really didn’t get what all the back and forth was about. It’s kind of minutia, and, in my opinion, is a minor point in the beautiful meditation Charlie wrote on the hidden life of Jesus. At any point in our lives our ideas and understanding about God, Jesus, Mary or any doctrines of the Church might be slightly off, but it does not hurt us if we dwell on the truths we find there, and do our best to receive the graces God is trying to give us.
        God bless.

        Liked by 3 people

        • charliej373 says:

          Excellent summation, Petra.


        • audiemarie2014 says:

          Thank you, Petra. I understood the different thoughts and where they came from, I just didn’t understand the importance of it all. I’m just a little cranky today, dealing with some ordinary annoying and upsetting challenges. I’ve read some of the mystics, but I need to keep my thoughts pretty simple. I really have to focus on Jesus, Father God, and the Holy Spirit with help from our Mother Mary. I think I also need to go to confession and be quiet. Thanks again. So very thoughtful of you, Petra. Virtual hugs being sent out to you. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Petra says:

            thank you for the hugs, audiemarie2014, because now I feel a bit foolish, having misinterpreted your comment. Oy vey! But you are so gracious about it, it’s hard to feel bad for long. 🙂 Well, here’s hoping someone else needed this long winded explanation of what was going on… 🙂
            God bless.

            Liked by 2 people

        • audiemarie2014 says:

          Petra, I still learned from what you said. I just don’t express my thoughts very clearly. Please don’t feel foolish! Thank you!! 🙂


    • YongDuk says:

      If I might chime in — yet again 🙂

      The “subtle” import is not exactly for the average person. It is for the constancy of faith. The logic that builds on logic that builds on logic such that Faith and Reason shine forth the splendor of Truth: Veritatis Splendor.

      The intricacies of Scripture find kind intricacies in Theology. Perhaps, it is a way to say that the Two Columns of St. John Bosco’s Dream are such. All the intricacies bolster each other and build and give strength to the column.

      I feel in my heart that the intricacies, while not relevant in their details to most, are to us Theologians and Bishops such that We can humbly say to the Pope when petitioned by him that this has been the Faith (Sensus Fidei) throughout the Centuries supported by the Sensus Fidelium.

      Read Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical on the Assumption wherein he mentions his petitioning the Bishops of the World.

      You might even say that it is like the Sign Post that Charlie speaks of on his pilgrimage.

      God leaves us Sign Posts in Scripture and in Theology to keep us on track when heresy rears its ugly head!!! (One period made Jesus and Mary into superhumans; another ultramundane. Both were wrong!)

      So, pardon me for seeming to step into the fray. But I would say that it is hardly a fray. It is the Truth that some of us have to bear as an wonderful onus to be able to speak to the next generation, going back to the original sources and ancient languages.

      These little theological disputes that are centuries old and far more significant than the so-called Medieval question of how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin (a clear reference to the Bonaventurian School versus the Thomistic School, the former believing that Angels had some sort of corporeal form and the latter saying they don’t, but are merely intellects [pure spirits]).

      They do have import, if not for every one in the same degree. How Glorious it is to read Munificentissimus Deus and see the sign post about the “intact” and “fully perfect” virginity referenced by Pope Pius XII as part of the argument for the Assumption of Mary. This is the support of the Column which I mean.

      In the Immaculata,


      P.S. A correction: I said above “in congruo” in reference to Pope St. Pius X. I was trying to write in English with the preposition. The Latin phrase is rather “de congruo”. My apologies.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Kathy Haas says:

    After reading this yesterday noon, I meditated on obedience as I prayed each of the Luminous Mysteries during my Rosary in the afternoon. It was an aspect that I hadn’t focused on previously. When I got to the 5th Luminous Mystery, my mind turned to the way that the bread “obeyed” when Jesus said “This is My Body.” I prayed that some day I might obey as well as the unconsecrated hosts do at every Mass.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Melba Pourteau says:

    In my parish, daily mass is celebrated in St. Joseph’s Chapel. St. Joseph’s larger than life statue carrying both staff and toddler jesus views the congregation and altar at an agle from the left front corner of the glass room. Until about 6 months ago, when i did notice the statue, my only conscious thought was, “Umm…depiction of the ‘Flight into Egypt.’ Then, in an ‘aha’ moment I attribute to Blessed Mother’s Dear Spouse, Holy Spirit, I understood “No, it was not the toddler Jesus who fled into Egypt in Mary’s arms beside Joseph. St. Joseph bears both the wood and Sacrificial Lamb, out of Egypt into the Holy Land, toward that Salvific Moment recreated at each Holy Mass.”

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Mary says:

    My preferred choice today would be the Benedict option and it is getting very easy to see how Hitler was able to accomplish what he did in conjunction with his own population, is this obedience to a fault?


  21. SallyLu12 says:

    Charlie, I enjoyed reading your meditation on St. Joseph as personal and heartfelt reminder of the obedience Jesus lived for us, and the sacrifices made by so many good fathers for their children.
    I don’t want to be overly negative, but am I the only one who thinks the Christology underlying the story may have edged into the realm of heresy. By portraying Christ exercising his divinity to change the shape of sticks and needed to be corrected by Joseph, it seems as if his divine and human natures are confused and not distinct, or even subordinating His Divinity to His humanity. As quoted CCC 467 “Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; “like us in all things but sin”…..
    91We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis” 


    • charliej373 says:

      Well, your criticism is fine, but as I noted in a previous comment, this was vetted by a canon lawyer, theologian and a prominent Bishop. Unless they are unanimously wrong, your interpretation of the canon is not quite accurate.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Jack says:

    If anyone enjoys reading there’s a book by Anne Catherine emmerich called the dolorous passion of our lord Jesus Christ. Anne was given visions of our lords it details our lords

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Leslye says:

    (Sally) Regarding Jesus and the sticks — what comes to mind is it’s relation to how He learned through obedience — to God and his parents; ‘growing in wisdom and grace’ (after returning home from the temple).


  24. motherjackie says:

    Your story is a blessing


  25. SallyLu12 says:

    Dear Charlie,
    I thank you for your comments and your response. I am not sure if I know completely why your spiritual directors and the bishop you refer to approved the posting of your story, but I would like to add some further comment
    Nowhere in scripture do we see Jesus ever working a miracle to simply satisfy His own merely human needs, amusement, or desires apart from the will of the Father. The devil even tried to tempt Jesus to disobey the Father by working a miracle for this reason and turn stones into bread (Mt 4:3). The gospel of John 2:11 records Jesus performed His first miracle, the “first of his signs” of changing water into wine at the request of His Mother and His disciples “began to believe in Him”. The manifestation of His divine nature through miracles was always ordered toward the mission He was sent to accomplish by the Father: to manifest the presence of God in the world and bring those who heard Him to believe in His Person and message of salvation. (See Jn 2: 5:36 10:38 Jn 14:10 as cited ST III Q43). I haven’t even given much thought to questions raised above by the virgin birth, but another question about the person and nature of Christ this story raises for me is of whether he would have allowed a woman to be stoned because “it was not his hour”. Did He need to perform a miracle to obey proverbs 24:11 and “rescue those being dragged to slaughter”?
    I enjoy reading your writings and appreciate your humor (or God’s humor as the case may be), the message of “trust-do-love”, and continual exhortations to charity and obedience to rightful authority. Your writing is a fictional portrait of your own meditation and I do not think your writing is necessarily deliberate formal heresy or disobedience, however it is important to consider in discernment. If your understanding is informed by your heavenly “visitors”, and these visitors have lead you to understand and portray the person of Jesus in way at odds with scripture or received doctrine, then any revelation that might have led to such understanding is to be rejected. It is commendable and our duty to give rightful obedience and submission to our spiritual directors and those in authority over us. Even legitimate and well meaning authority can fail in greater or lesser ways in their duty to defend the faithful from error. If such were not the case there would be no controversies such as the Arian and Jansenist heresies in our history. We all could easily become prey to strongholds of deception and should be vigilant to remain in charity and prayer with and for one another and in communion of thought mind and heart with Christ and the Church he founded.
    Regarding the portrait of Christ you present in this story, I find myself obligated in conscience to heed the warning in holy scripture given by St. Paul “even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed'(Gal 1:8) and am also submitting the questions raised by your writings to my own spiritual director.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      You don’t like it…fine. But it is not heresy. Even though it was fully and properly vetted, you don’t like it. That is fine. But it is an abuse to call it heresy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • YongDuk says:

        I have not read it fully, Charlie, and I said above whatever I did, but the one section I did, I understood the meditation as a contemplation of the human nature of Christ that had to grow in wisdom as Luke 2 says:

        The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
        And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (USCCB website)

        What I can say to SallyLu12, is that Charlie’s meditation is formed by one who has been faced with the Mystical and the Authority of the Mystical that has been placed into his hands and has heard the Lord say “speak/act/do” with that Great and Powerful Authority. And in that, SallyLu12, without having read the full meditation, I can see Charlie’s understanding of the formation of Jesus and the struggles and such.

        So in that and my understanding Charlie’s heart in this regard, I give Charlie the benefit of the speculative doubt and leeway in his meditation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • YongDuk says:

        Sorry, to quote my cherished friend, Fr. Groeschel, when faced with people who are fixed in thinking that they know all aspects of what went on behind the scenes of the Gospels and limiting the realm of possibilities:

        [Please imagine this with his Jersey / Bronx accent:]

        Where you there?!

        In the Immaculata,

        Liked by 4 people

      • Beckita says:

        I realize your comment was written to Charlie, SallyLu, yet this is a public forum where people add to discussion and I simply cannot remain silent when I see such a flagrant lack of charity in a post.

        The statement calling into question the legitimate authority of three spiritual directors and a bishop to use their discernment and approve this meditation with a trump statement of taking it to your own spiritual director astounds me. I cannot fathom the point of such rudeness. If someone is disturbed by the meditation, surely one could take it to his/her spiritual director to process without announcing it in a mean-spirited, venomous way.

        Speaking from a standpoint of reading nearly all the major posts (still have a few from the archives to visit) in addition to the ensuing comments, I have NEVER seen ANY heretical material written by Charlie. Defend the faith and defend the faithful he has done while laying down his life in humility and obedience at great cost.

        In all candor, it IS abuse to insinuate the meditation is heretical.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Leslye says:

      I keep thinking we and those like Sallylu need to do the Search on and reread the posts on Prophecy and it’s nature; on the qualities of ‘prophets’ and how to receive it (or not). Even though Charlie’s post on Joseph and Jesus was mainly a fictional reflection.


    • djmoforegon says:

      Thank you, Sally. Your loving, truth-filled response needs to be seriously discerned. I was also disturbed by the unspoken authority given this story as Charlie is the recipient of heavenly visitations. I would ask others to receive your comments in the spirit of love and humility.


      • charliej373 says:

        It is a story…a meditation. The only authority attached to it is that it is not contrary to faith and morals. For heaven’s sake, please quit imputing things that are not claimed. I still get emails challenging me for not agreeing with “The Poem of the Man-God” on the matter (which the Vatican approves as a fictional meditation, but NOT as authentic private revelation) or my temerity with disagreeing with some other favored mystic or saint. None of them seems disturbed that their favorite saint has an image in contradiction of that of St. Francis.

        People, this is the faith – we are free on matters that are undecided so long as we do not contradict faith and morals. Job’s pious friends berated and harangued him for not agreeing with their conventional preconception of God – and incurred God’s wrath in the process of seemingly defending Him. Many of you are straining at gnats while swallowing camels. You have convinced me to occasionally publish more of my FICTIONAL meditations, as I am coming to think they are useful in revealing some of the hidden vanities of the pious. God is bigger than you think – and you do not have a corner on knowing His mind. The Church is rightly reticent about putting things in the Magisterium for, institutionally, it knows the mind of God is larger than we imagine. Would that the faithful exercise this sort of humility.

        Liked by 3 people

  26. Phil says:

    Hi Charlie,

    This piece was really inspiring and I just want to say it reminds me of a book called The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virign by Ven. Mary of Agreda in that it gives us a deeper understanding of The Holy Family. Thank you for sharing it with us and I hope you will publish more instalments if you have time.

    God bless you and all on your side of the water.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. al chandanais says:

    Charlie this piece is simply beautiful, you are fast becoming one of my favorite writers, Praise God I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pingback: A Meditation on Joseph | The Next Right Step

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