St. Joseph, Please Guard My Family and My Tongue!
Pope Francis declared 2021 the Year of St. Joseph! I admit, dear friends in Christ, that I did not have a close relationship with St. Joseph in the past. It was certainly my loss and as I look back on my life, I realize that the joke was on me! The Blessed Mother’s chaste spouse was pursuing me for years and I didn’t connect the dots until now. I often went to St. Joseph’s Shrine during my childhood, my children attended St. Joseph’s School, we belonged to St. Joseph’s Parish, and I married a man who looks and acts very similar to St. Joseph! Yikes! How could I miss all these invitations to draw closer to him?
I always admired St. Joseph and his many virtues but I thought of him as a role model for men, husbands, and fathers. I more quickly turned to the Blessed Mother and other Saints for intercession than Saint Joseph. As you can see, St. Joseph is very patient and gentle and he continued to drop hints. That’s just like him, don’t you think?
St. Joseph Is On My Radar-A few things happened in the past several months that placed St. Joseph on my radar and the Pope’s announcement made it clear that this Saint deserved my attention. Lately, I have been meditating on his life and virtues. His actions speak volumes. St. Joseph was incredibly compassionate, humble, obedient, faithful, courageous, unattached to material things, pure and thoughtful. All of these virtues deserve reflection but I would like to share my thoughts about the last two.
St. Joseph was pure and thoughtful with his actions. Since actions flow from words, we can deduce that St. Joseph was pure and thoughtful with his words! A quote that has been attributed to many stuck with me over the years.
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings…
St. Joseph Can Help Us Prevent “Fires.” Just as a small spark can cause destruction in a forest, so too can our little tongues create havoc, hurt, and sometimes irrevocable damage. As is stated in James 3:5-6: “So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is a fire…staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature.” My dear friends, I have seen and been responsible for these moments and I would like to avoid them at all costs. Are you with me?
Things we should guard against:
1) Lying tongue– Saying lies which cause injury to a person’s reputation, the sin of calumny and intentionally misleading others. “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.” Proverbs 25:18
2) Flattery tongue – Flowery words or compliments used for ulterior motives or to ingratiate ourselves. “His speech is smoother than butter, but there is war in his heart.” Psalm 55:21
3) Prideful tongue – Boasting about ourselves/accomplishments and not considering that we could be wrong. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
4) Snarky tongue – Quick to criticize, being negative, unkind. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
5) Gossipy tongue– Spreading true but unkind faults of another, the sin of detraction. “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” Proverbs 11:13
6) Judging tongue– Making harsh judgments of others, forgetting that God has the “big” picture. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
7) Hasty tongue– Speaking quickly and without asking for the Holy Spirit to guide our words. “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36 8) Complaining tongue– Not focusing on all that we should be grateful for especially during challenging times. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Let us make sure our words are fortifying, encouraging, and sweet as honey. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:27 Just as pure, raw honey has many health benefits, so too do our kind words. It is often the medicine required to bring healing to a soul and we all have an opportunity to participate in that mission every day.
May we remember to humbly ask the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and words. May St. Joseph’s intercession protect our families and our tongues so that both would glorify God!
St. Joseph patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general, pray for us! Be assured of my prayers for you, dear friends in Christ