Tuesday, March 20, 2012

never tear us apart

Guido Reni, St. Joseph 1640-1642
"don't ask me, what you know is true
don't have to tell you i love your precious heart
i, i was standing, you were there two worlds collided
and they could never tear us apart" (INXS - Never Tear Us Apart, 1988)
for 1.5 years, i stared at the words in the santuary of St-Joseph's Parish, in Orleans, "allez à Joseph".  i just finished a novena to St. Joseph - patron for the Universal Church, for Canada, and principal patron of the Archdiocese of Ottawa.  and yesterday, his feast day, brought back many good memories of my internship year, and a summer as a deacon, and struggling to find meaning in the words, "go to Joseph".  i have prayed to him for a long time, and yesterday praying with the community, St-Pierre-Apôtre, gave me that extra boost i needed to return to him.  go to Joseph.

many of my parishioners went to St.Jospeh's Oratory in Montreal.  we were nonetheless in communion with them as we prayed in the church, recalling the beautifuls words of St. Brother André of Montreal, "go to Joseph"!  i think we need him more than ever.

last week, on my day off, i went to see a movie with Fr. Tim, director of vocations for the Archdiocese.  i had a wonderful day off, chillin' and relaxin' with friends, but afterwords i felt the beginnings of a headache.  as Fr. Tim and i sat down for supper, i remembered our plans to go see a movie - A Separation.  i had never heard of it before, and was definitely not interested, when he told me about the subtitles - the movie is in Persian.  i persevered, and loved it.

hmmm, .... loved it is an odd way of describing it, since it brought up many old wounds.  the movie begins with a husband and a wife about to break up, thinking about the possibility of separating.  the husband agrees, but the issue then becomes the child.  the movie highlights in a very real way the inhumane pressures put on our children today due to such separations, divorce, etc.  children are never meant to be put in that situation.  of course, sometimes that is the choice that must be taken for several different factors, but ... St. Joseph, pray for us.

my parents separated in 1987.  i am part of Generation X.  i never liked that term.  you could understand it as "'X' marks the spot", or possibly, "'X' - nope, cross it out".  Gen X, sometimes, is the generation no one wanted.  indeed, how many people have suffered separation + divorce in those years, and today our current no-fault divorce is the fruit of such feelings.  at one point, our culture often heard, "let's stay together for the children."  you don't hear that anymore.  go to St. Joseph.

we all have a longing in our hearts to love, and to be loved!  we need love from our mothers.  we need love from our fathers.  it is never an either-or situation.  it is always a both-and situation.  and if one parent is missing, the child will never be at peace until they find out what happened.

children who have lived through separation or divorce have wounds, some that go very deep.  also, how many friends do i know who have been adopted by loving families, but still naturally wonder about their biological parents.  we need to know!  and i'm glad that we have that desire to know, since it brought me closer to my own family!  but the wounds of us all, have alienated us from others.  of course, today, we are also beginning to see the fruits of same-sex couples.  children being brought up in same-sex environments, are now growing up, finding their voice, and will start sharing a message that, i think, will highlight their wounds too.

go to Joseph!  the healing of one person, is the healing of us all.  our hearts are broken, and we are all wounded.  however, St. Joseph, the protector of families, can help us find healing.  indeed, families today need him more than ever.  not only for families who are breaking up, but for those who remain together.  there will always been an attack on families.  it seems, though, that things have picked up a bit.  Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the picture of the Holy Family, can help us all become family again - parents, children, clergy, laity, parish, Church.

St. Joseph, pray for us.  let us continue to follow his example, of always growing in our love for Mary and God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  peace.

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