This weekly column will give you some information about St. Joseph to ponder and discuss throughout the year. Get to know Joseph!
Read Pope Francis' the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”) here.
Pope Pius XI: “In a life of faithful performance of everyday duties, [St. Joseph] left an example for all those who must gain their bread by the toil of their hands.”
To think about: We all have manual labor to do as part of life, either at our job or at home. Sometimes we don’t appreciate how we serve God even when we are doing yard work, housework, and such. From the beginning God gave man work, to ‘till and keep’ the garden. Do we perform our manual labor to glorify God as we work? Do we appreciate the importance of our work?
St. Leonard of Port Maurice: “All Christians belong to Joseph because Jesus and Mary belonged to him.”
To think about: All believers are part of the body of Christ, which would make Joseph our caretaker. Joseph was diligent in caring for Mary and for Jesus, and he will be diligent in caring for us, too
St. Peter Julian Eymard: “We may well call St. Joseph the martyr of the hidden life.”
To think about: St. Joseph doesn’t say anything in scripture, and nothing is mentioned about him except in relation to Jesus or Mary. He had a “hidden life.” Sometimes we may feel like no one listens to us, or even cares about us, unless it affects the other person. Go to Joseph! He can give you strength!-
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade: “Just as [St. Joseph] led the Son of God in his travels, may he be your guide on the voyage of this life until you arrive at the haven of eternal happiness.”
To think about: Man’s life is often described as a voyage; scripture calls us ‘strangers and sojourners’ on earth, on our way to Promised Land / Heaven (1 Chron 29:15; 1 Peter 2:11). Joseph led Jesus to Jerusalem several times, plus to Egypt, all quietly and cautiously. He can lead us to Christ on our journey now. Get to know Joseph!
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen: The fundamental disposition of St. Joseph’s soul was one of complete confidence and abandonment to God, which had its source in his faith.
“Complete confidence and abandonment to God.” This is difficult, especially in difficult and confusing times. How can we strengthen our faith and our trust in God in every situation?
Pope Pius XI: [St. Joseph] won for himself the title of “The Just Man,” and thus serves as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social life. (Matt 1:19)
To think about: One definition of justice is giving a person what is by right his. We usually hear “justice” in terms of “social justice” which focuses on the poor and disenfranchised. But we are called to be just in all parts of life, and, most importantly, in our relationship with God. We owe God our love and submission. The following dialogue occurs in the preface in the Mass. Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. Response: It is right and just. Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
That dialogue gives us much food for thought. How do we give God the honor he deserves? What does it mean to be just to our spouse, children, employer or employee? How can St. Joseph be a model of this for us?
St. Lawrence of Brindisi: As that former Joseph was the beloved of this father [Gen 37:2], so this Joseph is the beloved of God.
To think about: Like Joseph, we are all beloved of God. What does it mean, that each of us is the beloved of God? After they have their first child, often mothers and fathers will remark that they didn’t even imagine that they could love someone so much or that they would be willing to give so much to someone. God loves each of us infinitely more that that. Consider God’s love - what is our response?
Fr. Frederick Faber: Fr. Faber called Joseph “the one chosen shadow of God upon earth” in the hymn O Blessed St. Joseph.
To think about: What an interesting phrase “the one chosen shadow of God.” Our shadow goes where we go (always staying right with us), is shaped like us, and does not draw attention to itself. What might Fr. Faber have been thinking of when he wrote that phrase? How is Joseph the shadow of God? How can we be shadows of God?
St. Francis de Sales: “To be just is, indeed, to be perfectly united to the Divine Will, and to be always confirmed to it in all sort of events, whether prosperous or adverse. That St. Joseph was this, no one can doubt.”
To think about: Accepting God’s will in the trials and difficulties of life is hard. But we need to always remember that God is in charge.
Blessed Gabriele Allegra: “Fathers and mothers of families have in St. Joseph and St. Anne models of love and service to the Queen of Heaven.”READ MORE
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade: “The Eternal Father shares with St. Joseph the authority which he has over the Incarnate Word, just as God shared with Adam his authority over creatures.”
To think about: We all have authority over something. It might be over our children or workers in our job, or it might be “just” things such as your house or car. All these people and things have been given to each of us from the Lord to care for in His name; we are stewards. Do we care for those people under us and the things we own as God (who has the true authority) would want us to?
Pope Blessed Paul VI: “St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies.”
To think about: We all know people who seem unimportant to the world, but they made a big difference in our lives. Think about some of these people and how they helped you. All the people we meet every day – as well as everyone in our family, and ourselves – have great destinies. God has given each of us a mission. Think about the great things the “regular” people in your life have done, and remember those people in your prayers.
Pope St. John Paul II: At the workbench where he plied his trade, together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of redemption.READ MORE