There was no room for them within the inn.
And Joseph turned away.
To find again,
A woman wrapped in silence. Had she heard?
No sign appeared, nor stir of tranquil veil
To tell of it.
But Joseph knew. And silence and the glance
That smiled at him could not shut out the need
For shelter that was yet unsaid. He knew!
And suddenly it rose in him again
What it was he knew, and what was here
Beseeching in the night. An innocence
That had been burnished flawless to return
All brightness, till the Inexhaustible
Had searched for her this last and utter grace
That left no more to give.
…Like blessedness that had not been before…
And he was guardian. Guardian!
Whose task to fear not, but to throw his life
About her as a cloak. To be a strength
Between her and the world’s uncertainties.
To fend, and guard, and break the fall of harsh
He had not thought refusal was a word
Remaining in a language that had held
What aspects of these lines strike you most? Consider the relationship between Mary and Jesus. How was/is rejection of her, rejection of Him? What is Joseph’s response to the rejection? How do you see in his response the charisms that mark authentic masculinity – provider, protector, leader? What do you make of the surprise he experiences as expressed in the last three lines? How have you experienced rejection in your life? During this beautiful season, ask St. Joseph’s intercession.(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)