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A cordial welcome to this oasis of reflection, prayer and updating in the spirit in the shadow of Jesus' earthly father: the patriarch Saint Joseph.

The heat, the long days, perhaps the tiredness that grips us at this time make it a little difficult for us to stay glued to the radio to listen. Our meeting is an invitation to relax and thus allow the Spirit to give us some relief and bright eyes to look to the future with confidence. We, who often live in difficulty due to our lack of health, of company, of poverty of esteem on the part of others, are poor in relationships with people, but even in this situation, however, we are in a privileged position to nourish the hope.

People who are poor not only in material goods have the secret of hope, they eat the bread of hope every day from the hand of God. The poor who trust in God have good eyes to observe the luminous threads that weave the hours of the day. They know that yesterday was just a quick dream, tomorrow is just a vision, but that the present, today, if lived well with positive feelings, makes our recent past a beautiful page of serenity and tomorrow a vision of hope comforting and joyful. 

To remember the past well and open your eyes to the future it is necessary to live the present moment well.

 Speaking of this journey into the basement of our history, I remember a writing from a priest who said: 

«God is in the secret corner of your life, where nothing arrives, where a mysterious voice, which you don't know where it comes from or where it is going, sometimes tells you what you don't want to hear, reminds you of what you would have liked to forget, but he also prophesies to you what you never wanted to know."

 For us Christians, returning to ourselves does not only mean discovering our inner being, not only illuminating all the desires that are a stimulus to live and realizing that the foundation of acting with honesty is dictated by the presence of God. 

God is present in our conscience even before we could invoke him.

In the story we talk about a "Baltimore Manuscript" dated 1692. In this there are no new things to know, but ancient rules to practice that bear fruit in us. 

We can transcribe these familiar and simple admonitions as if they were an echo of the life of Joseph's family in Nazareth. 

 This manuscript suggests: «Proceed calmly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there can be in silence. Maintain good relationships with everyone. State your opinion with calm clarity and listen to others. It maintains interest in your profession, however humble, it constitutes an asset in the changing fortunes. Use prudence in your affairs in a world full of deception, but this does not make you blind to seeing the virtues in others for there are many who pursue high ideals.

 Be yourself, don't pretend in your affections and don't display cold indifference towards love, because even in the face of any disappointment and aridity it always remains perennial like an evergreen."

The family of Nazareth was a model family, in their daily behavior they made the nobility of their feelings flourish.

We must learn from Joseph, Mary and Jesus to always hold high the torch of noble feelings in the face of the cold of life, the aridity and darkness of life and in the evening go to bed in peace with everyone.

God is always present even where the little fictitious happiness we enjoy seems to end. God is the curtain before the nausea, the disappointment, the bitterness of your mistakes; God raises you from the shame of yourself. God is ancient nostalgia, a world of light, the sun you would have liked to see shine especially when the fog clouded your eyes.

 Let us never forget that God is always present however, but in a particular way in all those actions that we would like to sow with eternity. 

God always arrives before us; it is he who awaits us, it is he who we feel pulsating in our ideals, it is like a heartbeat present where we dream of arriving. God is in the nobility of our dreams, of our plans to do well.

Let us pray to Saint Joseph who had the grace to read, interpret and act in obedience to the dreams with which God filled his soul as a just man.

«O beloved Saint Joseph, God in his sleep revealed to you his mysterious plans for your future bride Mary and the mission of guarding Jesus, the Savior of the world, now we entrust to you our prayer, our desires, aspirations and hopes so that they are present in your dreams and can be realized for our good; a good that makes us increasingly friends of your son Jesus, source of physical and spiritual well-being. Obtain for us the strength to promptly carry out the Father's will towards us and, from your example, we can learn not to let ourselves be overwhelmed by the difficulties of life and always feel your paternal hand in our hand. Keep us, today as yesterday, in the heart of the sleep of a just man. Amen!".

Let's listen to some music.

As time passes, there are moments of the year when old age weighs more heavily and it is the moment in which one is forced by circumstances to live alone. Then loneliness weighs and saddens. Company, on the other hand, eases aches and pains, conversation makes time pass with greater satisfaction and even the years themselves weigh less. After all, Cicero, speaking precisely of old age, wrote that: "Everyone wishes to reach old age, but when it arrives they accuse it of having arrived too quickly." This arrival pressured by haste older people feel it more when family members leave for holidays. 

The elderly feel the loneliness burning in their soul which sometimes becomes enormous and paralyzing, in particular when they are forced to leave their home, perhaps spending a month or more in a "reception home", a structure similar to a hotel , where however one's own bed is missing, the souvenir photos on the bedside table.

   Being forced to live with others you don't know also weighs heavily.

 Even if it is for a short time, it will always be a difficulty, and a great pain.

 The flow of life is like a river that always walks, inexorably towards its mouth. When the raft of life has traveled a long distance and has reached the island of old age, it needs to find renewed motivation to live. In the elderly person, a mix of sensations coexist: there is bitterness for the inconveniences of living; there is the flow of memories in the river of memory; the realization of planned projects comes to the fore, having sown and cultivated values, having an existence behind us albeit marked by some shadows, but above all by light and the awareness of good and beauty.

 It is also true that as the years pass, one is no longer able to maintain the enthusiasm of youth, but one perceives an attitude of availability for simple things, to enjoy the memories of the childhood years.

Pope Francis often insists on cultivating grandparents' relationships with their grandchildren. 

There is a very interesting elective affinity between the elderly person and the child.

 A literary priest who bore the name of Giuseppe (De Luca) wrote some beautiful reflections on old people and children. He wrote: «What long conversations old people have with children. Old people and children are easily friends. It's hard to see what an old man and an adult man can say to each other, even if they were father and son; they seem like enemies, certainly not confidants. The adult man is speechless even around children."

The wise elderly person has a relationship of affinity with children because they feel Jesus' statement arise in their hearts: "Unless you become like children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven". 

We must say that being wise old men is not just a question of age, but depends on a lifestyle choice, on a remote education.

A suggestion for those who live next to elderly people: let's not forget that our grandparents need a supplement of soul from us to offer company, solidarity in prayer, time available to listen or share silence with a silent and affectionate presence. 

Just as the day is divided into hours and the hours are characterized by the quantity and splendor of light, so we have dawn, midday, sunset and darkness. So we can say about each person's state of mind. There is an alternation of waves, there is a caressing and delicate wind as well as a rigid and impetuous wind.

 We read this significant tale in the tradition of Jewish stories and legends. «Rabbi Mendel boasted one day before his teacher that in the evening he saw the angel who rolled up the light when the darkness came, and, in the morning, the angel who rolled up the darkness when the light came. “Yes,” said his teacher Rabbi Elimelech, “I saw it too when I was young. Later these things are no longer seen." But this light is always present in us like our mother's name and at the moment of her need, the angel of life rolls up her arms and reveals the light.  

 In this swing of feelings, even the elderly person can truly say and share this confession of experiencing the seasons of life as the alternation of cultivated feelings. And then: «I am as young as my hope, but I am also as old as my discouragement.

 I am as young as my faith and I am as old as my doubt.

 I am as young as my aspirations and as old as my complaints. 

 I am as young as my smile and as old as my pout.

 I am as young as my conquests and I am as old as my habits. I am as young as my love, as old as my resentment. 

I am as young as my sweetness and as old as my hardness. 

I am as young as my joy and as old as my boredom."

We carry these two sides of the coin in our soul, and we have the opportunity to play them with our travel companions, we do it by sharing positive feelings and we make them rise and spread, increasing joy. On the contrary, when we share boredom, complaints, bad mood and all the things that are not going well, the fact of being able to talk about them and share them lightens the burden on our shoulders and we find solidarity in our friends. 

But above all in "no" moments, we must find the courage and trust in our friends par excellence Jesus, Saint Joseph, the Virgin to give us a hand, invoking them with prayer. 

In their earthly life they too have experienced the fatigue of living, the weight of misunderstanding, loneliness, the bitter taste of tears.

Also pray that the intercession of Saint Joseph can arouse feelings of solidarity in people's hearts. This applies to our acquaintances, our family members, friends, lifelong friends and the voluntary people we now meet on our journey.

 All these words also apply to those who are healthy, young and have free time to give and give something of their well-being to those who have less.  

Also for this reason we must pray to the divine goodness which, with the intercession of Saint Joseph, makes us feel nostalgic for doing good as well as the solidarity commitment of our faith which does not allow us to be content and happy alone.

In Nazareth, Saint Joseph felt the echo of God's tender love for every one of his creatures resounding in his soul. No one knocked on the door of Joseph and Mary's family without receiving a positive response: a smile, help, a word, a piece of bread, a little oil or a glass of water.  

A responsible life is built with small gestures which then become the monument for our life.

Jesus taught us that it pulsates with ideals and joy if we manage to invest it and bet it for a great cause.

It is never too late to invest our hours and our affections in great and beautiful causes that are worthy of putting our lives on hold.

We truly only possess what we have given to others.
At every age there is a time to learn to give and love. If we feel some remorse for not having spent our lives well, we become a stimulus that encourages us to do good.  

The neglected good can now give us the pleasure of discovering that, as Jesus says, "There is more joy in giving than in receiving".

 At any age you can give something of your experience, of your thoughts that we kept just for ourselves, thinking that it wasn't worth sharing. 

From experience we know that the human soul is a safe that preserves all the hours of our life.

And if we have tried to forget something, we will certainly find something else unchanged to help those in need at this moment. Or perhaps we preferred or had to accept an unloved solitude and in the morning when we get up we would not want our window to open again today on the same panorama as every day. 

We must react because the hours, even the most modest ones, belong to our inheritance to be exploited. Even a cordial greeting, an interest in someone we meet perhaps on the only occasion of the day when we go to get our newspaper, can be the caress or handshake we needed. "The love that moves the sun and the other stars" Dante left us as a reason for living. Today we are going to look in distant galaxies and closer worlds for a hint about the life of a generation even different from us in order to give greater reason for our existence. Humanity struggles to believe in something it cannot touch, yet we live among many things that we cannot take with our hands: we cannot stop the wind in our arms, we cannot close the light between our fingers, we You only see love reflected in others and yet you believe in it and live for it. But if you know how to look outside of yourself, you will have given yourself a day of happiness.

We want to make us relive the freshness of these feelings in the soul, questioning the feelings of Saint Joseph towards Mary in the months of the engagement, stealing the offspring from Don Tonino Bello.

«Tell me, Giuseppe, when did you meet Mary? Perhaps one spring morning, as she returned from the village fountain with the amphora on her head and with her hand on her hip, slender as the stem of a cornflower?

Or perhaps one day on the Sabbath, while he conversed apart with the girls of Nazareth, under the arch of the synagogue? Or perhaps one summer afternoon, in a wheat field, while lowering her splendid eyes, so as not to reveal the modesty of poverty, she adapted to the humiliating profession of gleaner?

When he smiled back at you and touched your head with his first caress, which perhaps was his first blessing and you didn't know it? And at night you soaked the pillow with tears of happiness. Did he write you love letters? Maybe yes!

And the smile with which you accompany the nod of your eyes towards the cupboard of paints and paints makes me understand that in one of those empty jars, which no longer open, you still have some! Then one night you took courage with both hands and went under her window, scented with basil and mint, and softly sang to her the verses of the Song of Songs: "Get up my friend, my beautiful one and come, for behold, the The winter has passed, the rain has stopped, it is gone; the flowers have appeared in the fields, the time for singing has returned, and the voice of the dove is still heard in our countryside. The fig tree has put out the first ones fruits and flowering vines spread fragrance. Arise my friend, my beautiful one and come! O my dove, who is in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places of the cliffs, show me your face, let me hear your voice, because your voice is sweet. and your face is graceful. And your friend, your beautiful one really got up, came onto the street, startling you, took your hand in hers and while your heart was bursting in your chest, she confided in you there, below. the stars, a great secret. Only you, the dreamer, could understand it. Of an angel of the Lord. Of a mystery hidden over the centuries and now hidden in his womb. Of a project bigger than the universe and higher than the firmament above it.

Then she asked you to get out of her life, say goodbye and forget her forever.

It was then that you held her to your heart for the first time and said to her trembling: "For me, I willingly give up my plans. I want to share yours, Maria, as long as you let me stay with you."

She said yes, and you touched her womb with a caress: it was your first blessing on the nascent Church."

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