Tuesday, February 26, 2008

St. Joseph - the ultimate step-parent!

Are you a step-parent? I am. Full-time. 24/7/365. When I first met my husband, he was already married with a child. Fate and circumstances intervened in both of our lives, and thankfully the two of us found our way back to each other after a very traumatic separation early in our relationship. When we married, he was sharing equal custody with his son's mother - 4 days at one house, then 4 days at the other house, and so on. It worked very well, and I was very happy with the arrangement. Then circumstances intervened again, and we ended up with full legal and physical custody of his son. Of course I supported the arrangement - I'm a good wife! And I do know in my heart that our home provides stability of all kinds that just cannot be found with his mother. But it's not what I signed up for. Not at all. Over the years there have been more bad times than good times, and I'm sure this will continue as he becomes a teenager. If I could go back, knowing how things would end up, I would still make the same choice. My life is immensely better for having married the man that I did, and my step-son has so many positive qualities - not the least of which is a great love and compassion for animals. If nothing else, I know without question that I am helping to raise a future adult who will love animals and treat them with kindness and respect, and I am so very thankful for this. But I digress.

I watched a program this morning on the History International channel about St. Joseph. Although I am very familar with the traditional knowledge of his life, he isn't one of the Saints to which I have a devotion. I've always been far closer to his wife, our Blessed Mother. The show did a good job of examining the little bit that is known about St. Joseph, and bringing in religious scholars and historical experts to give opinions about the much that is not known about him. If nothing else, what I took away from the show was an appreciation of him as a step-parent to Jesus - a role I never really considered before. Our Blessed Mother is so loved and so venerated around the world and I think St. Joseph is forgotten sometimes. He shouldn't be! I'm a step-parent, just like he was, so I can identify with that role and with him in that aspect, but only in that aspect. I can't even fathom trying to be the step-parent for someone like the Son of God. Whether he knew who Jesus really was, or not, is debatable. There is no question, however, that he knew he wasn't the father of Jesus. Yet he married Mary anyway, he raised Jesus as his own. Taught him and mentored him and loved him. I'm sure it wasn't always easy, but he did his best. St. Thomas More is the patron saint of step-parents, but my money is on St. Joseph as the go-to guy for me for step-parent prayers and intercessions. What an inspirational guy!


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