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  • Sarah Raad

Crying

“Your tears were collected by the angels and were placed in a golden chalice, and you will find them when you present yourself before God.” (Saint Padre Pio).

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Giambattista Pittoni)

A number of years ago, one of my older cousins lost his very young wife and the mother of his three children – around the time of her fortieth birthday – to breast cancer. It was a truly terrible and tragic thing. Though I was not related to this young woman by blood, I felt – and continue to feel – her passing keenly through my concern for my cousin (who met her as a schoolboy) and his family as they struggled onwards after their loss, and through my own relationship with her.


I cried very much when she passed away and for many many days afterwards, and when I think about her now, I continue to cry many tears – for she was ill for a very long time and she died very young leaving her family desolate without her.


These days, as I cry, I take some comfort in the words of Saint Padre Pio, who said, “Your tears were collected by the angels and were placed in a golden chalice, and you will find them when you present yourself before God.” And now – since my conversion, which occurred through Grace and no merit of my own – I pray that her family’s tears may be collected and saved for them by the angels in Heaven.


I have been reflecting on these tears that I cried and on this beautiful soul and her death over the last few days. After all, in about a year I shall be the same age that she was when she passed away, and at this time, she had already been very very sick for a very long time, while I am relatively healthy – thank God. And that makes me think about Saint Joseph – of all people – the foster father of Christ…


I have recently finished the “Consecration to Saint Joseph”, which was written by Father Donald Calloway and over the course of the 33 day consecration I reflected on many different facets of the only person who we can call the Saviour of the Saviour…

We call Saint Joseph the Saviour of the Saviour, because it was his actions in protecting Our Blessed Mother and her child that saved the Child Jesus from Herod through his decision to flee into Egypt. But he is a saviour for less heroic reasons than this too. After all, his work and efforts saved his family from hunger and homelessness. In fact, everything about Saint Joseph indicates that he was devoted to the salvation of His chaste Spouse and Holy foster Child…

And I have been reflecting on the tears that Saint Joseph must have cried in his life. You see, Saint Joseph spent his life protecting Our Lady and the Messiah and yet, after Christ began His public ministry, we hear nothing about Saint Joseph. This seems to suggest that Saint Joseph had died before the Public Ministry and the Passion and Death of Christ…


And so, now I wonder… How much did Saint Joseph cry about that? I do not mean – how much did Saint Joseph cry because it was his time to die… After all, the Saint lived with God Himself and the Queen of Heaven, and so I imagine that he had very very deep faith in God’s Infinite Mercy and Goodness and Love and was not afraid to die and got to Heaven...


Rather, my question is… How much did Saint Joseph cry because God was calling him to Heaven and he had to leave his beloved spouse and God Himself to suffer alone without his support… It had been this man’s life’s work to be the Saviour of the Saviour. It had been his life’s work to give his LIFE to secure the Earthly needs of God and the Queen of Heaven… What terrible grief to know that he could not comfort them on Earth during their trials. What terrible grief to know that Our Blessed Mother would live far longer than Saint Joseph and Christ Himself had lived on Earth and that he could not minister to her and tend to her needs…


I imagine that Saint Joseph must have cried terrible tears of grief and sorrow at this knowledge…


And imagining that, I can understand why Christ might have cried at His foster-father’s death. Because even in that act of dying, Saint Joseph submitted willingly to the Will of God.


Saint Peter Julian Eymard said, “Saint Joseph never preached but he gave his entire life to the service of Jesus and died in His arms. If Jesus cried over Lazarus, must He not have cried over (the death of) Saint Joseph?”


For Saint Joseph surely suffered. He suffered through his celibate vocation, which was an act of will. He suffered through the poverty of his family – who were God Himself and Queen of Heaven. And he suffered to leave his family unprotected and uncomforted when God called him home…


And as he suffered and cried his tears, I imagine that Saint Joseph understood something of what Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta would later describe…

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Suffering has got to come because if you look at the cross, He has got His head bending down – and He has both hands open wide – He wants to embrace you. He has His heart open wide to receive you. Then, when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening… Suffering, pain, humiliation – this is the kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that He can kiss you…. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone.”

And so now – alone with my Beloved – I offer to Him all the tears that I have cried and all the tears that I ever will… I consecrate to Him my life and my death and I ask His foster-father – Saint Joseph, Saviour of the Saviour – to save me too, not from Herod or hunger, but from death, eternal death…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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