My name is Gabriel Joseph, and I am 66 years old, first-generation Trinidadian of Lebanese descent. I am married with four children and currently have four grandchildren. I am the owner of a home electronics and appliances retail business on Charlotte Street, for the past 41 years.
I would imagine in every practising Christian’s life, there are challenges in striving to live faithfully. In my personal journey, there’s no difference.
In wanting to live a good Christian life, a good priest once told me that we discover the invisible God in the visible things, and there is no other way. Either we learn to find God in ordinary life, or we will never find Him. I have learnt over the years that this is a reality lived.
That desire to know the reason for our existence, can be revealed to us in many ways. For me, it is in striving to achieve my sanctification through my daily activities and growing in human virtues which is absolutely necessary to open us up to the supernatural virtues.
There are numerous experiences that can be related to what I have said before, but one of the heaviest for me was the loss of my business in 1990, due to looting and fire as a result of an attempted coup d’état.
From there I had to begin again from absolutely nothing. It took tremendous perseverance and fortitude to rebuild after such a devastating loss, constantly turning to God’s providence at a very precarious time in the history of my country. These two virtues played a very important role in the resurrection of my business.
There are many other major instances in my business that made me turn to God, from financial hardship to disloyalty from those closest to me. For me, most importantly, would be the little things done well that have brought me closer to God.
I can say that He is truly interested in the everyday things that we do and that has made me overwhelmingly happy, as I previously thought for many years that He is only invested in the major events in my life which are very rare and, in most cases for most people, never happen.
Of course, there is a formula that keeps me in touch with Him and that helps me identify myself more with Him in my workplace. These include some spiritual exercises that I do daily such as: mental prayer, as this helps me identify Him in each circumstance and get to know Him better as He already knows me; daily reading, which is usually a spiritual book on the life of a saint that I identify with or simply one that helps me to understand my faith deeper; and, of course, daily Mass.
Naturally, I say the rosary daily which to me is the most important as Our Lady is the best path to her Son. And the examination of my conduct from each day that I do at night, right before I sleep for about two or three minutes which helps me identify my shortcomings and that which needs to be addressed.
Over the years, both in my work and at home, there are numerous events and circumstances that I can relate to that have drawn me closer to God, from interactions with people whose past traumas make them objectively difficult to deal with and growing in understanding for them.
I try to smile on news of some sort of delay with my merchandise, allowing me to practise the virtue of patience, or the temptation to be dishonest in some business transaction that would easily go unnoticed, but instead holding myself accountable.
I frequently ask our Lord to burden me with compassion for the homeless and drug addicted that are on the streets where my company is located as generosity is so important in the workplace, as is justice.
The personal needs of my employees and the institutions that do charitable works are important to me as I believe that hard work and the sincere concern for another’s well-being, both financial and spiritual, are the pillars on which to build a strong society.
Something I think is also important to mention, is that I have seen myself longing also for others to get to know this God of ours. That is because of the deep inner joy that He has given me in trying to live both my work and family life in a way that is pleasing to Him.