St. Joseph

Our friend Mary, who is
of the Catholic faith, said,
ask St. Joseph. St. Joseph, she told us,
is the patron saint of real estate; well,
actually, I suppose, of homes,
since it was he, with Mary,
who gave a home to Jesus. We had decided
to put our home of more than thirty years
on the market and, guess what? In the hottest
of hot markets, no bids.

Well, not being myself
of the Christian faith, I deemed it
presumptuous of me to be asking favors
of a Christian saint. But I did recall
how my mother, when she was alive,
had this special relationship with the saints:
she would read me their stories at bedtime
from this book, “All Saints at Six O’Clock,”
(six o’clock was bedtime for little children
in those days); and when anything was lost
at our house, she would say,
ask St. Anthony: “St. Anthony, St. Anthony,
come to my aid.” And soon enough
the lost thing would be found.

And for myself, I would say,
while I have problems with the Christian God,
I do recognize in Jesus, as in the Buddha,
a man of the spirit, a great teacher;
and for this reason, perhaps, as well as
my mother’s abiding faith in them,
I do have a special affection
for those men and women who followed him
and practiced his teachings in their lives,
each in his or her own way. And I believe also
in the special powers granted
to such men and women of the spirit,
greater than any of the temporal powers
we know, to perform wonders.

So we took the little four-inch statue
of St. Joseph our friend Mary gave us
and, as per her instructions, buried him,
head down, face-in toward the house,
a few feet from our home.
And, judging myself unqualified to do so,
I asked my long-departed mother
to intercede for us with Joseph, the saint
with whom she now perhaps consorts
on the best of terms: “St. Joseph,
St. Joseph, come to our aid.”

So far, no bids.
But I have to tell you that it does feel good
to have reconnected once more,
for at least a little while with my mother,
and her unquestioning faith.

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