"Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly." Mt 1:19
A wise person once wrote, "Expectations are the seeds of disappointment." (1) How true this must have been for St Joseph. Although we don't want to impose our understanding of marriage on people who lived two thousand years ago, Joseph surely expected Mary to be a virgin. When it is apparent to him that she was pregnant, he responds gently. Not wanting her to be stoned, he decides to divorce her quietly. Joseph's natural compassion, which is reenforced by the message of the angel who assures him that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit, is a powerful sign and challenge to us. Joseph's assumptions about Mary's behavior are shattered by grace.
All of us have expectations for ourselves, our families and, for those who are parents, for their children. It is natural, and most of the expectations are good ones. We want friends and family to succeed in life, to contribute to the society in a significant way, to please God, and live a life of faith. But almost always these expectations get us in trouble. That is why we turn to people like St Joseph who, when his world was turned upside down, maintained his trust in God. Joseph's commitment to God and his compassion towards Mary give us the strength to be joyful even when our expectations remain unmet.
Today, ask God what God wants for you. Don't tell God how to act.
Who has impressed you most in life with the ability to do God's will despite overwhelming obstacles?