“Do not be afraid: these words the Lord also addresses to you, dear sister, and to you, dear brother, whenever you feel that, even amid uncertainty and hesitation, you can no longer delay your desire to give your life to him,” Francis said.
The Lord repeats the words, “do not be afraid,” when, “perhaps amid trials and misunderstandings, you seek to follow his will every day, wherever you find yourself,” he wrote. “They are words you will hear anew, at every step of your vocation, as you return to your first love. They are a refrain accompanying all those who -- like St. Joseph -- say yes to God with their lives, through their fidelity each day.”
Pope Francis emphasized that “Joseph cannot fail to be a model for all vocations, called to be the ever-active hands of the Father, outstretched to his children.”
“I like to think, then, of St. Joseph, the protector of Jesus and of the Church, as the protector of vocations,” he added.
According to Francis, St. Joseph is “an extraordinary figure.”
“He did not do astonishing things, he had no unique charisms, nor did he appear special in the eyes of those who met him. He was not famous or even noteworthy: the Gospels do not report even a single word of his. Still, through his ordinary life, he accomplished something extraordinary in the eyes of God,” Francis wrote.
He said it is the example of St. Joseph’s quiet, daily fidelity to his vocation which “is the secret of joy.”
“A hymn in the liturgy speaks of the ‘transparent joy’ present in the home of Nazareth,” he noted. “It is the joy of simplicity, the joy experienced daily by those who care for what truly matters: faithful closeness to God and to our neighbor.”
“How good it would be if the same atmosphere, simple and radiant, sober and hopeful, were to pervade our seminaries, religious houses and presbyteries!” he said.
The pope wrote: “I pray that you will experience this same joy, dear brothers and sisters who have generously made God the dream of your lives, serving him in your brothers and sisters through a fidelity that is a powerful testimony in an age of ephemeral choices and emotions that bring no lasting joy.”