On February 6, I had the privilege of receiving the solemn vows of nine of our student brothers. With these vows our brothers commit themselves, as the profession formula says, “until death” to Jesus in the Order of Preachers. They will now continue their studies and move forward to diaconate, priesthood, and first assignments.
On December 8, Pope Francis proclaimed 2021 the year of St. Joseph. For that reason and because we belong to the Province of St. Joseph, I chose in my homily to show how the foster father of Jesus serves as a model of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
The gospel of Luke reveals Joseph’s poverty when he offers “the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” (Lk 2:25) at Jesus’ presentation in the temple. The vow of poverty makes Jesus the true treasure of a friar’s life.
St. Joseph is, of course, the chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the vow of chastity, our friars follow his example and devote themselves entirely to the love of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and those whom they will serve.
St. Joseph’s obedience to God is manifested in his response to God’s “dream commands.” In his apostolic letter announcing the Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis suggests that Jesus’ obedience until death, “not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42), reflects the obedience He witnessed in Joseph.
As we enter Holy Week, may St. Joseph’s example and intercession strengthen us to accept the crosses in our life with the confidence that, in and through them, Jesus will call us to a new and transformed life.
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for our newly vowed brothers and each one of us. Amen.
Very Rev. Kenneth R. Letoile, O.P.