"Joseph also went up from Galilee… to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child."
Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator
Pray the Canticle of Tobit together aloud, alternating verses between two sides. When finished, share reflections on the canticle as a group
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me, uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 Thou hast said, "Seek ye my face." My heart says to thee, "Thy face, LORD, do I seek."
9 Hide not thy face from me. Turn not thy servant away in anger, thou who hast been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
Joseph's Submission to God
1. When Joseph submits to and obeys secular authority (Caesar’s census), he fulfills the divine prophecies regarding Jesus being born in Bethlehem. When have you found that your submission to secular or business priorities have yielded divine benefits and manifested God’s providence? How is God acting now alongside the political or economic circumstances of your life?
2. Joseph found “no room in the inn” for his pregnant wife. When have circumstances humbled or humiliated you in attempting to provide for your family? What suffering and benefits came out of that season of survival, poverty or crisis? How do you perceive God’s hand in it now? In what present poverty or difficult circumstances does God want you to trust and follow Him now?
3. Angels reveal to shepherds the identity and role of Joseph’s son; the child helps the shepherds praise and glorify God. When has heaven helped you to recognize the specific identity, role and needs of one of your children? When have strangers helped you to perceive the specific identity, gifts, or needs of one of your children? How have your children helped other people to see and to praise God more?
4. At eight days old, Jesus is circumcised and initiated into the covenant of Abraham. How has pain been an intentional part of the maturing of your children? Have your children experienced pain in their growth intellectually? religiously? athletically? virtuously? How do you coach them through the pain?
5. The Presentation in the Temple demonstrates Joseph’s obedience to religious law, as well as being the occasion of particular revelations of Simeon and Anna. On what occasions have parish sacraments or programs coincided with particular revelations or prophecies for your family? What prophetic men and/or women help you to perceive God’s present activity in your life? In the life of your family?
Choose a resolution for this week from the suggestions below or make your own. Tap on a resolution to email it to yourself:
1. I will pray the Serenity Prayer in relation to political and economic conditions in my life.
2. I will spend time remembering and thanking God for bringing me through previous seasons of uncertainty, poverty, and crisis.
3. I will ask God to reveal to me more about each of my children's gifts and needs.
4. I will ask a close friend what they see as my children's gifts and needs.
5. I will make a list of challenges for each of my children to accomplish in the coming year.
6. I will offer a voluntary penance for a specific grace needed for our family.
7. I will invite a child to join me in offering a penance for a specific grace needed for our family.
8. I will write a note of thanks to a pastor, youth minister, DRE, or other parish leader for a specific grace received in my family through an event at the parish.
9. I will ask a man to pray for my family, and share with me the fruits of his prayer.
Previous Resolutions - Luke 1
Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.
Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible—Second Catholic Edition (Ignatius Edition) copyright © 2006 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.