Take a moment to breathe in the presence of God, and breath out all that troubles you today.
As always, it helps to close your eyes and to give a few moments letting the inner self find some quiet. Take a moment to breathe in the presence of God, and breath out all that troubles you today. Repeat this a few times. You are here to receive some new light on your life and to get in touch with your deeper desires and your dreams. God spoke to Joseph in a dream as he slept and continues to speak to us in many ways. Listen for God’s voice in the stillness of your heart now.
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
This short Gospel passage reveals a very painful period in the relationship between Mary and Joseph. We don’t know whether Mary had tried to explain to Joseph what had happened, or whether she had decided not even to attempt it. What is clear is that Joseph believed that Mary had been unfaithful, and had made up his mind not to marry her. What pain that must have caused each of them: Mary, to feel that the man she loved no longer trusted her; Joseph, to think that the woman he loved was unfaithful. The Gospel doesn’t tell us how long this misunderstanding lasted before Joseph too was visited by an angel with the truth, but whether the period was long or short, it must have been unbearable for the young couple who had to live through it.
Most of us will have experienced, at some time in our life, the pain of being misunderstood. Most, if not all of us, will have experienced the breakdown of a relationship, whether within our immediate family or with a friend. Perhaps I am even experiencing this right now. I might well ask, where is the new beginning in such a situation? Where is God in this? Perhaps I can find consolation and encouragement that even Mary and Joseph, those two most holy people, did not escape this experience. And perhaps I can learn something from how they behaved during it.
Talk to God
• Under the loving gaze of God, I look honestly at my closest familial relationship, whether it is with a spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling. Is the relationship healthy and loving? If so, I thank God for it. I bring that person into my prayer and hold him or her before the loving gaze of God. I ask God to continue to strengthen us in our mutual love and to preserve us from misjudging or misunderstanding one another.
• If, on the other hand, something has gone wrong in what was once a loving relationship, I now look honestly at the situation. I ask God for light to see the truth. If I have misjudged the other person in any way, I ask God to show that to me, and to give me the courage to face it. If I am in any way at fault, is there some step I can take in order that we can have a new beginning?
• If, having reflected as honestly as I can on the relationship, I believe that the breakdown has been caused by some betrayal on the part of the other person, and if I feel that the relationship is no longer life-giving for me, how should I approach the situation? I reflect on how Joseph behaved when he felt it necessary to end his relationship with Mary. He did not wish to punish her or to take revenge on her by making the matter public. Again I ask God for light, and for the ability to forgive. I ask for God’s grace that any action I feel I may need to take, will not be vengeful.
• I sit for some time in silence, allowing God to touch my heart.