Dear Friends. Here is the fourth installment of Fr. Michael Belinsky’s exposition on our stained glass windows. Enjoy!
West Wall: “St. Joseph and the Child Jesus”
As you continue into the church and look left, the middle window is a family portrait: father and son, looking at us from the yard of Joseph’s carpentry shop.
The full image portrays Jesus as a young child with a bearded Joseph. They are situated beneath the wooden slatted awning of a workshop. Joseph is shown as sainted by his red halo. Jesus’ divinity is revealed in the 3-rayed nimbus around his head. In his left hand (”sinistra” in Latin), he holds three nails, a sinister foreshadowing of the three spikes that would pierce his flesh, nailing his hands and feet to the cross on Calvary.
With his right hand, Jesus holds the hand of Joseph, secure, trusting, at peace. Joseph, in his homespun brown robe, had a pouch of tools – hammer, ruler, file – belted around his waist. He’s ready to work. The message is that we should be ready to go about the work God has provided for us, the work of bringing the kingdom. Beneath this tableau, we ask for intercession from the patron saint of the Universal Church: “St. Joseph, Pray for us.”
Upper left – a white daisy, a standard symbol, beginning in the 15th century, of the innocence of the Holy Child.
Lower left – a hand saw. A carpenter’s tool. As the patron saint of workers, St. Joseph reminds us all that a work is holy and that we share in God’s creative power when we work to do good, to maintain the fabric of society and as we use our toil to advance the kingdom of God.
Lower right – an “L” ruler for measurements and making right angles, a small cross held within a square and a couple of jagged lines. The Cross is the sign of our salvation. My personal idea is that the jagged lines which are used artistically to encircle an image to suggest eternity. Since these are two fragments of those, a possible meaning is that our lives in this world are brief and limited, yet only the cross, as our rule of life, can lead us to eternal life and joy.
Upper right – a white lily, often associated with Joseph. Legend says that a number of suitors sought Mary’s hand in marriage. To make the decision, they stood in line and each held a wooden walking staff. Only Joseph’s staff was different. It miraculously brought forth a white lily. This blossom sealed his request as the only suitor upon whom God smiled.