I’m excited to have Joe Paprocki as a guest blogger!  He invited me to post on his blog, catechistjourney.com today and here is a post from him.  Enjoy!

I have to admit to being a little biased about guys name Joe!

So, it should come as no surprise to you that, during Advent, I like to throw a little attention St. Joseph’s way! Quiet as he was, he played an incredibly huge role in the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His story, as shared by Matthew (1:18-24), reminds us that, sometimes, our head is telling us one thing but our heart and our gut are telling us something else. St. Joseph was experiencing an inner turmoil. His betrothed, Mary, is pregnant…and he’s not the father. According to Jewish Law, she should be stoned. At the very least, he decides to quietly divorce her…it would be the righteous thing to do. And yet, something within him continues to question this, interrupting his sleep. Righteousness and Love are at war within Joseph.

In a dream – in the deepest part of human consciousness – Joseph learns that, for God, love trumps righteousness. God calls Joseph – and he calls us – to be open to mystery. Joseph does not understand what is happening with Mary, but he comes to trust the Mystery of God. And in doing so, he enters into and encounters the Paschal Mystery.

This is the message for us as we move through this last week of Advent and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We are called to be open to mystery. Too often, we reduce “the faith” to a set of cognitive statements to be learned (and taught) intellectually. In contrast, Christmas is about mystery – the mystery of God becoming one of us so that we might be drawn closer to him. This is not a mystery to be solved, but encountered and entered into.

This Christmas, my prayer is that we open ourselves up to the mystery of God who is love, allowing ourselves to be drawn more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, our Savior.


Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 25 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including the best-selling The Catechist’s Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith. Joe, who earned his master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, recently received his doctor of ministry degree from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. Joe serves as an 8th grade catechist and blogs about the experience at Catechist’s Journey. He and his wife, Joanne, and their two grown children live in Evergreen Park, IL.