Thursday, June 18, 2015

Josephology Sidebar: St. Joe the Environmentalist

"We're going to be late for the encyclical reading club!"
There is an interesting tidbit in today's papal encyclical Laudato Si:

241. Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now lives with Jesus, and all creatures sing of her fairness. She is the Woman, “clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51), and now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom.

242. At her side in the Holy Family of Nazareth, stands the figure of Saint Joseph. Through his work and generous presence, he cared for and defended Mary and Jesus, delivering them from the violence of the unjust by bringing them to Egypt. The Gospel presents Joseph as a just man, hard-working and strong. But he also shows great tenderness, which is not a mark of the weak but of those who are genuinely strong, fully aware of reality and ready to love and serve in humility. That is why he was proclaimed custodian of the universal Church. He too can teach us how to show care; he can inspire us to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.
Just, hard-working, strong, tender, loving, in touch with reality, humble, and now an environmentalist. Does poor St. Joseph have any identity save for that which we wish to impose upon him?

St. Joseph, crafter of free-trade lumber, pray for us!


  1. Wasn't there something about him being a symbol used by female religious against a "male patriarchy" somewherre? That definitely deserves attention.

  2. Indeed, at times poor St. Joseph seems to be a blank canvas upon which we paint our desires.

    But this seems even more nakedly opportunistic than anything Pius XII did or said.

    The paragraph on the Blessed Mother is not too bad.