Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

On the Feast of Saint Joseph

Flight into Egypt ~ Francisco Zurbaran 1598-1664

This painting by Francisco Zurbaran of The Flight Into Egypt is full of life: the mountains and hills, the trees fully leafed out, the heavy sky perhaps portending a storm or reflecting the desperation of the family in flight, even the ground itself. And Mary is seated rather queen-like, her satiny red dress covering even the donkey. Joseph's got his straw hat hanging off his back, while Mary wears her own instead of a veil. The little Christ sits upright in his mother's arms. 

And aren't we fortunate that Zurbaran has given us this open perspective which seems to invite us into the dynamic. Is the artist suggesting that we might stop with the family and offer them our encouragement? Or better yet - perhaps Joseph is suggesting they might encourage us in our own inner traveling from discouragement to hope, from anger to calm, from bitterness to surrender, from something we might call darkness to renewed light.

Joseph ~ solicitous of the mother,
Joseph ~ in solidarity with the child,
Joseph ~ simply kind,
Joseph ~ active out of silence,
Joseph ~ in the fierce darkness.

Joseph ~ in the twists and turns,
Joseph ~ attentive to the dreams,
Joseph ~ heedful of warnings,
Joseph ~ in the poverty of your temple gift,
Joseph ~ in your interior life.

Joseph ~ with Simeon and Anna,
Joseph ~ in the expansion of my heart,
Joseph ~ holy traveler,
Joseph ~ among strangers,
Joseph ~ whose tears are an offering.

Joseph ~ giving the name, Jesus,
Joseph ~ in the nearness of mystery,
Joseph ~ on the road to Bethlehem,
Joseph ~ in the welcoming of shepherds,
Joseph ~ in your bright-sadness.

Joseph ~ Mary's confidant,
Joseph ~ protector and mentor,
Joseph ~ and the fig tree bowed,
Joseph ~ and the desert stream gushed,
Joseph ~ may God give an increase.


  1. You prayers are little candles in my heart filling it with light and warmth.

  2. "Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." Blessed Holy Week and Easter, Annette.

  3. I like when you describe Joseph as, "Mary's confidant". Hmmm.. A new way to look at Joseph.

  4. Religious language risks becoming tired from over-use. We need new ways to express these things - but expressions that spring from our hearts and from silence.

  5. St. Joseph is what every loving husband and father should be. I try to live life to theses standards. You point out all the attributes of St. Joseph that we should remember to be like.

    1. And Joseph does it all without speaking a word. Now there's a real lesson for today. "Where there are many words, sin cannot be avoided," a priest friend said.

  6. I love how you present things here. The different paintings, icons and prayers. I especially love to read your original prayers. They always offer me the most to reflect on.

  7. St. Joseph chose to do God's will even though it was a tough reality to face. Oh, if we could all choose to please God, what reward there will be in salvation! St. Joseph, pray for our souls that we will make the right decisions that will benefit all.

  8. Thank you for the St. Joseph prayer. He gets overlooked sometimes at this time of year. St. Joseph, the silent supporter.