Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph, My Father

There is much to contemplate about the man, Joseph, who became step-father to the Son of God. He received messages from angels, he married a woman who would have been considered a disgrace and treated with disdain, or worse, in the Jewish tradition (Cf. Mt 1: 19-25), he was faithful, obedient, caring, protective, and enjoyed so many other positive and distinctive qualities that we can only hope to emulate. And, just like you and me, he was a simple, fallen human being.

How do we know all this about an otherwise silent character in Scripture? We know it from the stories about what he did. We are told about the virtue of St. Joseph. He was chosen, as was the Blessed Virgin, for the specific role as head of the Holy Family. Imagine the sanctification that came through marriage to the Mother of God and raising the Son of God! Imagine the stress!

But, Scripture doesn't show any sign of stress for this beloved saint and holy man. Rather it shows grace in action, determination to do the will of God in all things, big and small. From having to find a place for the Child to be born, to fleeing into Egypt to protect his Holy Family, to finding Jesus in the Temple, Joseph does what any courageous man and father would do -- he protects his family and trusts in the loving will of God.

St. Joseph is a vivid reminder to each of us today, and always, of what holiness looks like in our fallen nature. He is hope to all men, that surrender to the will of God -- obedience to Divine Providence -- is the answer to the struggle during our journey here on earth. The fact that saint precedes his name is the hope of beatitude for every man. God wants us all to be saints -- wants us all to be saved.

Today on this Feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, I say thank you for the gift of faith, for the wonderful example of this holy man who cared for a unique and Holy Family. I pray for fathers and all men, that they are encouraged and strengthened by the intercession and profound witness of St. Joseph. And, I ask his intercession for all families.

St. Joseph, my father -- Pray for us.


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