Practical dreamer

Daily Reading for March 19 • St. Joseph

Joseph, the practical patron saint of those who work with their hands, from artisans to plumbers, would seem an unlikely dreamer. Daily he crafted the tangible and measurable into the furniture of ordinary life. His eyes had to be keen and his hands strong and steady. His craft demanded that he be bold and cautious at the same time—my woodworking friends tell me that their maxim is “Measure twice and cut once.” Under those hands wood became tables and benches, yokes for oxen, and carts for donkeys. . . .

Joseph, the generous man who broke the rules of his society by saving Mary from disgrace, is a vital part of the story. As he fled Bethlehem from Herod, he took the infant Jesus on his first walk. . . .

As a practical dreamer Joseph is vital to the story, but definitely second string, usually relegated to the background with the focus centered on Mary and her winsome baby. Yet like his namesake in the Book of Genesis, this practical man, a worker with his hands, is still a dreamer. And he clearly trusts his dreams. . . . Matthew tells us he “planned to dismiss her quietly. But the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 1:20). I might have been tempted to resist the dream, especially since it called for radical action on my part, or at least to argue with the divine messenger, but Joseph recognized the voice of authority and followed instructions.

From Walking Home: From Eden to Emmaus by Margaret Guenther. Copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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