"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home." Mt 1:24a
There are many ways to wake up. Sometimes, it is simple. Our bodies tell us to pay attention. We have a headache that will not go away or we discover a skin growth that looks strange. Our bodies are telling us to pay attention and take action. At other times, especially when we take time to relax and reflect, an idea that has been percolating in our minds and hearts, takes shape. We read about AIDS in Africa or the plight of refugee children in Syria, and we start searching the Internet for places and organizations that are addressing these vital concerns. Waking up to the challenge of acting on the Gospel is important for our own salvation and the good of others.
Joseph, the husband of Mary, troubled by his young wife's pregnancy, wakes up. Not wanting her to be stoned, he decides to divorce her quietly. In this way, Mary will have other chances to marry and build a family. But then Joseph has a dream and when he wakes up, he knows that God wants him to marry Mary despite his misgivings. That he listens and acts upon the message he receives is critical for Joseph's salvation and ours.
When Joseph allows the "dream word" to take root in him, he abandons his own instincts about Mary and welcomes her into his life. Not only did this act protect Mary, it legitimized Jesus in the eyes of the Jewish community and makes Joseph a model for everyone in the church. When we are open to God's voice, no matter how it comes to us, we make God's desire for the world possible.
Waking up to the immensity of God's love for us, while sometimes very challenging, is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only does it empower us personally to live more freely and gratefully, it urges us to tell others the Good News of God's desire to love them more deeply an totally.
Today when you wake up, pause and let God speak a liberating word to you.
Have there been moments in your life that changed the course of your faith?