St. Joseph – Advent 2023


St. Joseph plays an invaluable role in the Christmas story and his actions provide us with a powerful example of following God’s will. Speaker John Kinuthia invites you to reflect on St. Joseph’s actions in Scriptures and the ways in which he responds to God’s call, and talks about how you can follow God’s will for your life like St. Joseph.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“Saint Joseph, our father and lord, is a teacher of the interior life. Place yourself under his patronage and you’ll feel the effectiveness of his power.”

Saint John Henry Newman

When faced with a decision or challenge, do you respond like St. Joseph with radical trust in God or do you respond with hesitancy? Do you tend to overthink or over-analyze your next move or do you find it easy to hear and respond to God’s voice?

2. How can you cultivate a deep, interior silence in the midst of the noise, particularly during this time of the year?

3. What are the ways in which God has revealed Himself to you in the past? What patterns can you recognize? How might be God trying to speak to you now?

4. What trait of St. Joseph is speaking to your heart the most today? Are you finding yourself particularly admiring his trust, his spiritual leadership, his silence, or his love of Christ and the Blessed Mother? Spend time meditating on that quality and ask for St. Joseph’s help to cultivate that in your own life.

Text: Learning from the Life & Faith of St. Joseph

God is good all the time and all the time, God is good. My name is John Kinuthia and I’m very excited to be sharing with you today about St. Joseph. How to follow God’s will, how to follow God’s desire for your life like St. Joseph. Before we begin, let’s say a quick Hail Mary.

Hail Mary

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen. St. Joseph, pray for us. In the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. Come, Holy Spirit. I pray that you’ll be inspired by this talk to take some few things that you can apply in your own life as you plan and as you design God’s will

A Man of Action and Great Silence

So St. Joseph, we know as a man of action, as a man of great silence. We know as a man who surrendered to God, even when he not see the whole steps of his life. And I know almost all of us have to follow the same steps, right? We have to get to a point whereby we are asking the Lord, “Lord, guide me. I don’t know what the next step is for my life.” But we are called to trust. We are called to deeply trust and discern and take action without overthinking, without over analysis, without hesitation and without fear, right?

Fear, ah. St. Joseph shows us how to feed our faith and not to feed our fears. So it’s very important as we talk about this talk to think about your life. How does it relate to St. Joseph? Do you overthink? Do you overanalyze? Do you over discern? Do you hesitate to take action when God is asking you to? And I think that’s are all things that I’m going to address in the span of the time that we have today. So St. Joseph, obviously, we find him betrothed to Mary and Mary is supposed to be his wife. And then what happens? St. Joseph discovers that Mary is with child and St. Joseph plans, decides to divorce her quietly. And so that he doesn’t put her to shame.

I love this story of St. Joseph. It’s so deep because we face challenges every day that are confusing, that are, sometimes they’re like spiritual warfare. And St. Joseph, in his sleep, God sends him an angel and tells him, “Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.” So when you read the scriptures, it says that Joseph decided to divorce her quietly and such was his intention. So when I’m thinking about an intention, personally, I think it’s something I take to God in prayer.

So St. Joseph himself was a man of deep prayer, a man who always was desiring to do God’s will, who always was seeking to do what God asked him to do. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t facing great challenges in his life. I’m sure he did, as we are seeing in this particular instance. Him being a carpenter, I’m sure he dealt with clients and customers. Even in his great silence, he was dealing with people and I’m sure he was facing all these challenges. But one great quality I admire about him is his great silence. He was a man of deep faith, deep and great silence, patient silence that allowed him to have continuous conversation with God.

The Importance of Being Quiet Interiorly

In the world today, if St. Joseph was living in the world today we are living in right now and you know, surrounded by all the noise, the social media, the TV, the egos, go, Cowboys, go egos, go Chiefs, whatever team you support, how would he really discern? How would he continually maintain a continuous conversation with God? And I think personally cultivating that deep silence, cultivating that innermost silence and learning to how to be quiet interiorly is of utmost importance. And you and I are called to do exactly that, to continually seek God, seek God in the midst of all the chaos and in the middle of everything that is happening around you. Someone somewhere said that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we respond. Lemme say that again. That life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how we respond.

And I think by cultivating a deep interior life, by cultivating a continuous conversation with God, then in those moments, we can learn and we can see the patterns of how God reveals His will to us. We can see the patterns of how God or the path of how God reveals Himself to us and He reveals Himself to us. Because St. Joseph, amazingly in his sleep, God was revealing Himself through the dreams, right? He would come, He’d send an angel to St. Joseph when He was in deep sleep. That means Joseph really got good sleep. When was the last time you got a really good sleep?

Yeah, I love it because as I said in the opening statement that Joseph, while he was asleep, when he was making his plan to divorce Mary quietly, God shows up and says, “No, you’re not going to go that plan. Your plan is not plan my plan. My plan is that you’ll take Mary to be your wife because I want you to be a father to Jesus. The child she’s carrying is the child of the Holy Spirit. It’s the word becoming flesh and I want you to be the Father and you shall call him Jesus.”

So Joseph is given the responsibility of naming the son of God so that they can establish a perfect relationship together. And I think the first thing we can learn there is learning to rest in God’s hands. Making sure that even when we’re going to sleep, we surrender everything to God and allow Him to take control of our lives.

The Importance of God’s Will

When was the last time you said, “God, take control of everything, take control, take it all. I cannot do it without you because this means that you understand that God’s desire for your life is desire for holiness and its desire for you and for me to do what He’s asking us to do. In fact, I love this Catechism 27 I believe that says, “God’s desire is written in the human heart because man was made by God and for God.” You and I were made for Him. And I think Joseph understood that, that it’s only by fulfilling and by doing God’s will that God’s desire in him was being fulfilled, right? So it’s only by doing that, by doing God’s will. And then Catechism says that it’s only in God that we can find the happiness that we seek every day.

And I believe, by Joseph cultivating the interior sense, interior life, he was experiencing the happiness that only comes from God. So God’s will for you and for me, first and foremost, is understanding that the desire of God is in your heart, it’s written in your heart. And that to achieve and to be able to do everything else that we are supposed to do by God, then you have to learn to follow that desire, which is seeking God, seeking Him in prayer, seeking Him in cultivating a deep interior life.

So that when we’re in prayer and we are saying, “God, what do you want me to do? God, what is the next step that you want me to take?” And He comes to you and He says, “Do not be afraid for,” then He lays down here the plan that He want you to undertake. You are really listening, right?

Learning how to shut all the noise that you know is coming out from the social media, from the TV, from everything that’s going on, being able to silence our minds and our hearts and just listen, let the desire of God be revealed in your heart. Let the desire of God to be revealed in you like it did in St. Joseph and through St. Joseph, right? And we also see, as we continue reading in the book of Matthew, that you know, this is when Jesus was born, and now it’s time again, Joseph, get up, go to Egypt. Joseph was a man of action.

God Will Reveal Himself To You

So by cultivating a continuous conversation with God, by cultivating a deep interior life, by ensuring that you’re following God’s desire and you’re seeking His face every day, guess what? He will continue revealing Himself to you. And I think this is a key thing. He’ll continue revealing Himself. What’s amazing is the way God revealed Himself to St. Joseph and the way God continue to reveal Himself to you could be very different the way He reveals Himself to me. Because in St. Joseph’s case, He was sending an angel when Joseph was asleep and Joseph would rise and would do what he was told. Maybe for your case it’s through a spiritual director or your spouse or your friend, or just learning to know the patterns of how He reveals Himself to you. And that’s very important.

So personal confession. It’s been a couple months since I met with my spiritual director. And I’ve realized that in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been dealing with a spiritual warfare. You know, spiritual battles, things when you hear Let me back up. You know, there are those times when people say things and normally they wouldn’t bother you. And then I realize I’m getting bothered by very little things which normally wouldn’t bother me. You know, at work or at home, things that are just happening. And I’m getting frustrated. Trying to prepare for even the talks that I’ve been doing now is finding myself not focused and not being able to pay attention and to be really, what’s the word?

Difficulty Focusing on God

Really focused and grounded. You know, in prayer, at mass, being distracted. I don’t know if you ever found yourself in these situations where you’re trying to stay focused at mass and all of a sudden, you can’t, and your mind wonders and your mind just, you know, you’re trying to discern God’s will. And instead of discerning God’s will, your mind is just, whoops. Your mind goes south every day, every day, every day. And so for me, that has been the case for a couple weeks now. And I’ve already scheduled to meet with the priest soon because I need to get refocused.

So St. Joseph, a man of deep prayer, a man of deep faith who knew how to cultivate interior life. A man who challenges you and me to continually seek God and seek the love of God, to pursue God’s desire, which already is written in your heart. And St. Joseph understood his mission well. So become a man of action, become a person of action. So Joseph was a person of action. He was a man of action. So you and I are also invited to make sure that when we identify that such and such is God’s will, we don’t over hesitate. We don’t overthink, we don’t over delay in taking those actions because it’s one thing to know, oh, God wants me to do such and such. Okay. You don’t over delay in taking the action.

Whether you want to start a ministry or you want to start a business or you want to go do a particular kind of work. Sometimes when we realize and we have the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do those things, we doubt ourselves. And what does the scripture say? “Do no doubt. Do not be afraid for I am with you.” So learning from St. Joseph, learning from the message of an angel, do not be afraid to take the action that God asks you to take. It is not for your own good, it’s for the greater of glory of God. Let’s begin there, for the greater glory of God, for your own good and for the good of the entire society, for the entire that charge.

How Are You Cultivating Your Interior Life?

So I want to challenge you today to think about how are you cultivating that interior life? How are you shutting out the noise that comes from the forums, the social media and all the other things that in your life are noisy so that you can cultivate that in your life? When you go to Adoration, are you able to stay silent? Are you able to ask God to come in your life? Are you able to stay focused? Are you able to stay grounded?

One thing that is helping me, and I hope this prayer can help you too, is Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I say that prayer whenever I’m distracted and whenever I’m feeling like I’m in a combat, and I cannot focus. And if I want to be quiet and silent, closing my eyes, I say that prayer 100 times, 200 times sometimes for half an hour. I’m just saying that prayer because I really want to cultivate that silence, right?

And I found recently that the prayer transitions to thank you, Jesus, praise you, Jesus. And at that point, I realize that’s when I’m calming down and my mind and my heart is calming. I can focus just on Jesus alone and He can give me the direction that I need. So maybe yours is a different prayer, yours is a different song. But whatever you can do to really cultivate that interior life and allow God to be in your heart, always seeking God always, you can never stop. As we see from St. Joseph, you can never stop seeking God and loving Him so that you can serve Him and His people the way He wants you to. He can reveal Himself through the actions we are taking and through the moments we have in prayer, deep prayer, okay?

Have a Living Faith

So the other thing is realizing that faith, we should have a living faith, you know, living faith that faith without actions is dead. Like St. Joseph, he was a hard worker, right? And so how does faith become alive in your life? Do you share your faith with others? Can others identify? Can others see that and say, “Oh, a man of God, a Catholic, a Christian,” by the way you live your life, by the way you serve other people, by the way you engage in conversation online and offline.

One of the other thing that I think somebody mentioned to me at work is that what he, or what they’re trying to do at their home is unplugging 15 minutes before they go to bed. So cultivating few minutes of silence before they go to bed, before they pray and then go to bed because what they’re realizing is that they’re learning that that actually has increased the bond in their marriage and their children. That has increased the way they relate to each other. And they don’t feel that when you go to bed, the last thing you saw is something on Facebook or Instagram or whatever.

So has been helpful and I’ve been trying to do that as well because what is the last thing I want to do and I want to see before I go to bed? A scripture or just moment of quiet and then prayer and then go to bed. A rosary, and then go to bed. And sometimes it’s not easy because you’re going to respond to those emails. You got to respond to those messages that are coming to you. So learning to adopt a habit that helps you stay close to God as much as possible is key.

Surrendering to what God wants you to do in your life. Surrendering it all. Jesus, I trust in you. Take it all. Like St. Joseph, he didn’t know when he was fleeing to Egypt what he going to find. He didn’t know how the path looked like. He didn’t know how long he going to stay in Egypt, right? That was all part of God’s plan. And it was revealed when he was already there, right? So the scripture says that Christ came from Egypt. Just following those promptings from the Holy Spirit.

God is a God of Peace

I don’t know about you in your life what God is asking you to do, where God is guiding you to go. All we can do is to deeply trust and deeply follow God’s will. And this is another important thing, in discernment, when you are filled with fear, if you think about two options and one of them you’re filled with fear and you don’t have any peace, then probably that’s not a good idea because in discernment we say God is a God of peace and when you’re trying to choose an option or to go a certain way, God gives you the peace that you need. God gives you the peace to fulfill His will.

If there’s no peace, if there’s disquietness in your heart, if there’s pain and anguish, probably it’s not that the path you should follow because God will not make you to go to a place where His grace and His peace will not follow you. And that’s how we know that one path is of God if it’s filled with peace. You know, there could be struggles, yes but even then that your heart and your soul is at peace because you are accepting and you’ve surrendered. And God is saying, “Keep going. I’m going to give you the peace. I’m going to give you the grace to keep following my will.” Just like within St. Joseph.

Important Steps to Take This Advent

I want to wrap it up here real quick with just a few reminders about this talk that first of all, we need to cultivate really continuous conversation with God, seeking God’s face and seeking to do His will.

Cultivating an interior life that allows us to listen to God, cultivating an interior life that allows us to be silent, to be prayerful, to be, even though there’s a lot of distractions going on around us, that we can still have that conversation with God spiritually in our hearts, that we’re able to quiet ourselves, seek spiritual direction, seek help that when you’re discerning God’s will, you can be ready to surrender your control. Give the will to Jesus. Be ready to surrender your thoughts and your mind and your heart. Give everything to God because as we follow St. Joseph, a man of deep trust and deep faith, give everything to God because He is God and He going to take care of it.

Be aware of how He reveals Himself to you. What are the patterns that you have seen in your life? God revealing Himself and His will to you because that way you know, it could be a dream like St. Joseph, it could be through friends, it could be through spiritual direction, could be through mass or Adoration, whatever patterns you can identify that God really speaks to you because again, that’s where you want to be. That’s the zone you want to be so that God can reveal Himself to you.

The other thing is to realize that God’s desire is written in your heart, just like St. Joseph. So seek that desire. God created you for Himself and we want to be able to continually be able to offer ourselves to God as a gift to Him like St. Joseph so that when He says, “Do this, this is the thing I want you to do,” we do it happily, we do it joyfully, becoming a person of action without over delaying, without hesitating, without overthinking, over analyzing, and without wondering what is the whole staircase going to look like? Because that’s where the trust comes in, right? So please, let’s follow St. Joseph. Let’s ask St. Joseph in a very special way to intercede for us. Let’s ask St. Joseph to help us. And I found one prayer that we could all say. I found one prayer that we could ask St. Joseph to intercede for us in order to really follow God’s will and to learn how to follow God’s will like he did. So let’s pray this prayer.

Closing Prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. O, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ our Lord. So that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O, St. Joseph, I never tired of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the keys when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen. God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

About John Kinuthia

John Kinuthia is a Catholic Speaker who grew up in Kenya, with his parents and 6 siblings. John is passionate about sharing the Joy of Christ and telling the story of what God has done in his life. His inspiring and engaging talks are filled with stories from his home country and wisdom learned from his mother and grandfather. John conveys a message of awakening and becoming the saint you’re called to be, cultivating a deeper personal relationship with Jesus, and sharing the Joy of Christ.

John and his wife Katie live in Philadelphia with their 4 children. He loves reading the wisdom of the saints, hiking with his family, and playing and coaching volleyball. 

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