St. Joseph is always available to us when we need him. He can help us identify what can be repaired, what should be rebuilt, and what needs to be gutted.
The neighborhood we live in doesn't flood. I think I can say that definitively after Hurricane Ida came through a few weeks ago. But when you've got winds in excess of 150 miles per hour, there's a pretty low chance of coming out with absolutely no damage. For us, it was mostly siding, some leaning fence poles, and buckling floors from the wind-driven rain that leaked in through those oh-so-stylish French doors -- all five on the southern side of the house.
We stayed through landfall and the following week without electricity, internet, cable, drinkable water, and even a few days without cell service. Thank God for gas stovetops! We were able to stay at home long enough to clean up the yard and assess our damage only because a kind neighbor lent us his generator. When Andrew figured out how to run and maintain it, it was enough to keep the refrigerator and a number of fans going. That is, until our gas cans ran low and refilling them meant waiting four hours in line at daybreak.
When we couldn't tolerate the extreme heat or yelling to be heard over the generator any more, (who knew they were SO loud?), we took off with my pet menagerie in tow to a motel for three nights in Biloxi, Mississippi. We were lucky to get a reservation. Actually, we've been "lucky" -- or more accurately "blessed" -- throughout this storm, and we're grateful. We have several friends who suffered severe damage and significant flooding. The roofs in their neighborhoods are a sea of blue tarps, that is, if the roofs are there at all.
Hurricane Ida has me thinking about the storms we all experience in life, and how most of us are in some stage of recovery for pretty much our whole lives long. That's because a storm doesn't end when the wind and rain stop. Once the debris has been piled up at the curb, there are claims to be filed and contractors to be found -- someone who is licensed, affordable, expert, and available. That last qualification is probably the most difficult part because when everybody needs a contractor, nobody can get one. The people in Lake Charles, who faced two hurricanes last year, are still rebuilding.
I think that's why our Holy Father has dedicated this year to St. Joseph. We've all been living through an extended season of storms. Our lives have never been more disrupted, and so many of us have sustained serious damage. But if ever there was a carpenter who could show us how to build our lives on the things that last, it is our spiritual father, the Guardian of the Redeemer, and the Patron of the Universal Church. We don't have to get our names on a long waiting list. St. Joseph is always available to us when we need him. He can help us identify what can be repaired, what should be rebuilt, and what needs to be gutted. He can show us what it really means to make Jesus Christ the center of our lives and what it takes to keep him there. Mostly, St. Joseph can give us the assurance that, with grace, we will get through whatever we've been through; that life is still beautiful; and that God really is trustworthy after all.
St. Joseph is a powerful intercessor, and not just when we're selling a house or looking for a job. More than any other saint, Joseph is the one we can turn to for our families, when we need healing, and when our struggle against the powers of darkness wears us down. We can rest securely, as Jesus did, in his strong arms, buoyed by his even stronger faith.
And here's the closest thing to a personal invitation I can give. We can turn to him together in a special way by attending the St. Joseph Summit hosted by Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. With over 50 Catholic presenters (including Cardinal Sean O'Malley), the opportunity to join others in devotional prayer, and so much more, it's the largest online event dedicated to St. Joseph being held in this holy year. Need a contractor? I know I do. Especially one who can show me how to clean up the mess, build virtue, and set my heart completely on Jesus after a storm -- or at least before the next one.
For more information and free registration, go to saintjosephsummit.com.
- Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and provides freelance editorial services to numerous publishers and authors as the principal of One More Basket. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.
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