Isaiah 12:2-6 / Amos 6:1-8 / 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 / Matthew 1:19-24
By Peter Aijian
Joseph’s Suspicion Based on Matthew 1:19-24
A Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
And the angel, taking due pains, told
The man who clenched his fists:
But can’t you see in her robe’s every fold
That she is cool as the Lord’s morning mists?
But the other, gazing gloomily, just murmured:
What is it has wrought this change in her?
Then cried the angel to him: Carpenter,
can’t you see yet that God is acting here?
Because you plane the planks, in your pride would
you really make the Lord God answerable
who unpretentiously from the same wood
makes the leaves burst forth, the young buds swell?
He understood that. And now as he raised
his frightened glance toward the angel who
was gone already… slowly the man drew
his heavy cap off. Then in song he praised.
This selection from Rilke speaks to me of how God is taking due pains to get past the obstacles I put up to Him. Joseph was focusing on the downside of the situation here. This perspective is one easily adopted…seeing the downside. I suspect Joseph had no idea what the upside was, if there even was one. He needed God’s perspectiveto be revealed to him, which it was over time. “What is it has wrought this change” in fact was actually a person. In the same way, I need the mystery of God in me, through me, all around me to be revealed.
The angel speaks to Joseph in terms that he can truly appreciate as a carpenter. I praise God that He speaks the language of my heart as well and patiently takes the “due pains” to be sure I comprehend the mystery. May the outcome for me be the same as it was for Joseph… understanding and praise.