A Vincentian View: Journeying Together – Joseph and Mary

by | Dec 22, 2021 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

Pope Francis has decided that an emphasis in our Catholic community for the next few years will focus our attention on the concept of “synodality.”  I confess that I do not find the notion of “synod” very romantic or inspirational.  It seems technical and legislative.  And, “synodality” seems newly minted.  Yet, Pope Francis has issued a summons.  An ongoing emphasis in our faith community will direct our attention to these terms and related concepts.  Our Holy Father has written:

Synodality is a style, it is a walk together, and it is what the Lord expects from the Church of the third millennium. . . . It is an ecclesial [effort] that has a soul that is the Holy Spirit.  (November 29, 2021; October 19, 2021)

I appreciate and support the intent of the Holy Father, and I am attracted to the spirit and direction that “journeying together” (as a rendering of “synodality”) captures.  These joined words have rich meaning, demand reflection, and invite participation.  The process involves us with listening, with seeking the Holy Spirit, and with embracing personal renewal.  I feel the need for all these actions in my life.  How willing will I be to become that new and better companion for the journey?

As is my way, I am going to be particularly attentive in the course of this year to the biblical stories that involve journeying together.  They will give insight to my listening to the Word of God as I allow for a particular focus.  The notion of “journeying” in the stories does not necessarily mean the physical movement from one place to another—though that may initially draw my attention—but the change in thinking that happens when people openly attend to one another, or do not do so.  It can be a going deeper or rising higher or thinking wider on matters of our faith.

As I engage this process, it seems most appropriate in this season to begin with the journeying together of Mary and Joseph.  We follow the story that opens with the words of an angel, the unique embrace of God’s will, and the action of the Holy Spirit.  All these contributed to a change in the original journey that the holy couple would have planned together.

Eight months pregnant, Mary travels with Joseph to Bethlehem.  She might have expected at the birth of her child to be surrounded by her mother and the women of Nazareth.  That was not to be.  Instead, she embarks on a challenging trip with Joseph. On the way, they would learn to depend on each other more and more.  The child would be born with the help of Joseph and whoever was present with them in the stable.  Their primary resource would be each other, and soon their journey together would be augmented with a small and special presence.

Spending the past year reflecting on Joseph provides a special blessing as I/we consider the journeying together of Mary and Joseph.   Thinking about his special gifts adds even more substance to the consideration of the Holy Family.  For the rest of the biblical story concerned with Jesus growing towards his public ministry, the three would be joined.  They travel as one family to Bethlehem, flee to Egypt, return to Judea, settle in Nazareth and make pilgrimages to Jerusalem.  We cannot separate them in the telling of the tale.  They listened, learned, lived and loved as one family.  Truly, they journeyed together.

They teach us about the importance of depending on one another.  They invite us to grow closer as a Catholic community as well as a Vincentian Family.

2 Comments

  1. Joseph Bellacosa

    Thanks, Pat – perfect reflection for your friends Mary & Joe journeying on Acela to D C & then McLean Va. for Christmas gathering with daughter’s family. Buon Natale🎄

  2. Paule Freeburg

    Thanks for the reflection. You never disappoint! I look forward to the following reflections on our biblical friends on life’s journey.

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