Jewish style St Joseph
Today we (a group of consecrated brothers or monacelli) are celebrating the feast of St Joseph at our Beit Achim (House of brothers) at our place called St Joseph's Hidden Place in a small valley in Tasmania we have named St Joseph's Hidden Valley. An important part of our vocation is the hiddenness of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the Holy House of Nazareth similar to that as lived by Blessed Charles de Foucauld and the servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. All of our brothers take Joseph as part of their consecrated name and we daily pray a perpetual novena to St Joseph as well as praying the Cloak of St Joseph prayers everyday during March.
The matyred monks of Thibirine in Algeria
Recently I watched the movie called "Of Gods and Men" about a group of Catholic monks in Algeria living a "hidden" life among the Muslim people who were later martyred by extremist Islamists. For some reason their life in Algeria reminded me of our life in Tasmania. We may not be surrounded by Muslims but we are living in a society that is very indifferent to religion and faith and we see ourselves as a presence of faith and prayer in a fairly hidden manner. In a sense we have a ministry to spy out the land and to plough it and hopefully plant some seed.
The unveiling of our Hidden Mashiach by the Archangels
Others often don't understand our way of life as they would if we were "active" brothers who worked with drug addicts or street people or who seek to take leading roles in the active life of the parish. In fact I did work with drug addicts and street people for many years earlier in my life. It is always a temptation to get drawn into activities that are not part of our charism of littleness and hiddenness. It is also hard to die to the desire to be appreciated and noticed when our calling is in fact to be forgotten and hidden. It is difficult to keep in mind that being missionary disciples of Jesus for us means doing it in a way that accords with our calling or vocation to be little and hidden in the darkness of the cloud of Joseph and the womb of Mary with our Eucharistic Lord.
View of part St Joseph's Hidden Place facing Jebel Torbul (name of the hill) covered with snow
So we embrace our life of hiddenness by accompanying Jesus in the tabernacle and in a hidden way pray with him in Divine Will for all people and all creation, for our archbishop, priests and people here in Tasmania and especially in the Huon Valley at the very southern end of the world as well as for the Universal Church. We are at the service of our brothers and sisters who are called to be more "active" missionary disciples of the Lord.
St Mary Our Hope Church with our Archbishop, our parish priest and a visiting Latin-Mass priest at the 150th celebration of its consecration on Jan 22 2017
Brother Gilbert Joseph of the Divine Presence donning tefillin with the help of the orthodox Rabbi of Tasmania in 2014