Joseph 19

From a Sermon by Pope Paul VI

If we look carefully into (the life of St. Joseph) this life that was apparently so

unremarkable, we shall find that it was greater and more adventurous, more full of

exciting events, than we are accustomed to assume in our hasty perusal of the Gospel

story. The Gospel describes Saint Joseph as a Just Man (Mt. 1:19). No greater praise of

virtue and no higher tribute to merit could be applied to a man of humble social condition

who was apparently far from being equipped to perform great deeds. A poor, honest,

hardworking, perhaps even timorous man, but one with unfathomable interior life, from

which very singular directions and consolations came, bringing him also the logic and

strength that belong to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power of making great

decisions, such as that decision to put his liberty at once at the disposition of the divine

designs, to make over to them also his legitimate human calling, his conjugal happiness,

to accept the conditions, the responsibility and the burden of a family, but, through an

incomparable virginal love, to renounce that natural conjugal love that is the foundation

and the nourishment of the family; in this way he offered the whole of his existence in

a total sacrifice to the imponderable demands raised by the astonishing coming of the

Messias, to whom he was to give the everlastingly blessed name of Jesus (Mt. 1:21),

whom he was to acknowledge as the effect of the Holy Spirit, and his own son only in a

juridical and domestic way.

From a Sermon by Pope Paul VI


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