The Third Joy of St Joseph is read by Maebhe McMullan
In O’Brien’s painting of The Nativity, the influence of the icon tradition is unmistakeable. The tree in the image recalls the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden and the stag refers to the poetry of The Song of Songs celebrating the arrival of the Beloved. (Song 2.9)
Almost all the light seems to come from within the sacred figures. The joy of Joseph and Mary here is very much an interior and spiritual joy.
Despite the physical challenges of the pilgrimage, the Lough Derg experience often brings a joy that is not easily described, much less explained. The parallel with the arrival of a new baby is easily made.
We might offer a prayer for expectant parents, especially for those who have some reason to be anxious about how things will turn out, that their anxiety may turn to joy. And we might pray also for ourselves, that we would find true joy in the deeper places of our lives.
Let us pray with Pope Francis:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
St Joseph, pray for us.