O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
When we first meet Joseph, we see him as an upright and devout man who is all set to marry a young woman named Mary. But when he discovered that Mary was pregnant, and not by him, he decided that the right thing to do was to call off their engagement and each go their separate ways. And yet God wanted Joseph to marry Mary, but because her child came from God, their marriage union would have to be different from all Joseph’s previous dreams and expectations.
In Joseph we have a model of humility and openness to God’s will. Like Abraham when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, Joseph was willing to follow a new path, even if it didn’t completely make sense. When faced with a radical change in his plans for his life, he took his confusion and distress to God, and he wasn’t disappointed. God spoke to him in a dream and gave him the peace he needed to embark on this new adventure.
Joseph’s story tells us that we should guard against being too attached to our plans. Sometimes, even good and noble goals may have to be put aside if God moves us in a different direction. For such decisions we need to take advice, perhaps from a trusted spiritual advisor, a confessor, or a close friend; such independent advice is indispensable in this process. But in the end, it always comes down to our own humility and our openness to God’s infinite possibilities. Not my will, but thy will be done.
Whatever plans God may have for us it’s comforting to know that God is always on our side. If we seek him, he will reveal himself to us. And as we seek his will for us, he will make it clear. We just need to stay focused on the main goal for our lives: to grow closer to God and to become more and more like him.