Social media filters hundreds of videos past us each day. Somewhere in the last few months, I saw a video of children discovering their shadows. No sound was needed. Watching the many reactions to the figure that was following them was priceless. I laughed in the moment and didn't think much more of it. That is until I sat down to reflect on St. Joseph.
"The one chosen shadow of God upon earth," a friend wrote on Facebook in celebration of St. Joseph's Day (which seemingly straddles two days this year- March 19th and March 20th.) And as soon as I read that statement, I thought back to those babies and their great discovery.
I wondered how Joseph felt- the shadow of God, chosen as a stand in, to foster and love God's beloved son, Jesus. Maybe some days he was scared and maybe others he felt inadequate. Perhaps, the shadow seemed misformed or warped some days, a poor replication of the real thing.
Yet, Joseph pressed on. He trusted and he embraced what it meant to answer the call. The light that shined upon him left an outline of the love of God wherever it went... be it Bethlehem or Egypt or Nazareth. By simply being himself, Joseph brought God into the world.
As Sisters of St. Joseph, we often say that little is known of Joseph, but what we do know is reflected in Christ. Jesus grew up in the shadow of a man striving to do what was right, to live a life gifted to God, and as he grew, Jesus surely emulated Joseph. He was kind and caring, compassionate and hard working; he stood for what was right and trusted in the vision of God, even when he couldn't see or fully understand what would come of it. He was a shadow of faith, his life outlined in grace.
As we celebrate Joseph, it's helpful to remember the way he made the darkness of the shadow shine for all to see. He lived a life others could follow. Without pomp or need for approval, he pursued what was right. His great faith is what we emulate; it helps us discover our own shadow and not to run but to turn toward the Light that shines in and around us.
Today, may we embrace that call and like Joseph, who dreamed in darkness and walked in the Light, may we be a shadow of God's grace for all to see.