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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Dec 19, 2008)
"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him." Mt 1:24
Few of us are privileged to hear the voice of an angel. We read in Matthew's Gospel that an angel prepared Joseph for the birth of Jesus. The angel also tries to dispel Joseph's fear about taking Mary into his home after he has discovered that she is with child.
We enter the final week of preparing ourselves to welcome Christ into our hearts on Christmas. And our spiritual preparation is much more important than any last-minute shopping.
Like St. Joseph, to whom God the Father entrusted the protection of His only Begotten Son, we can prepare our minds and hearts to receive Jesus. This is a call to recollection. As our Lord said to St. Faustina: "Strive for a life of recollection so that you can hear My voice, which is so soft that only recollected souls can hear it" (Diary, 1799). Indeed, Joseph, at first, had no clue what God had planned for him. That's a good lesson for all of us because none of us knows what the future will hold. But Joseph learned to see the Lord's hand in everything and to know that nothing happens by accident. Like St. Joseph, we can stand ready to serve God and even change our plans according to Hisd will. The Lord leads us through these things just as He did St. Joseph.
We only need to listen for the Lord's soft voice in our hearts. It's a grace that our Lord waits for us to accept. As we listen for His voice, we should ask the Holy Spirit's help to control our thought-life, remembering that self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (see Gal 5:22).
Saint Joseph shows that he has the spirit of recollection. He is quick to obey by taking Mary into his home after he hears from the angel that her child is the promised Savior. He receives the grace for his role of protecting the Holy Family.
Jesus delights in granting us many such graces. "I want to pour out My divine life into human souls and sanctify them, if only they were willing to accept My grace. The greatest sinners would achieve great sanctity, if only they would trust in My mercy" (Diary, 1784).
What grace does the Lord want to give us as we prepare for Christmas? Can we quiet ourselves from needless distractions and listen carefully for the Lord's voice?
Lord Jesus, prepare my heart to receive You in Holy Communion on this last Sunday in Advent. Help me to recollect my thoughts and listen for Your voice. Amen.