This week-end we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph, foster-father of Jesus, spouse of the Virgin Mary, and Protector of the Universal Church. There is so little said about him in the Scriptures, yet if we look closely at the events that led up to his quiet life in Nazareth, we can see how this strong protector of the Holy Family is so dearly beloved by so many.
Even though Saint Joseph is one of the main characters of the readings at Christmastide, there are many virtues of this great saint that we might not notice. I’ll share with you some of the hidden virtues of this saint that have impressed me, and perhaps you have other examples of Saint Joseph’s virtue to add to the list. The virtues of Saint Joseph are very obvious by his actions more than by his words.
Saint Joseph was attentive. He listened to the message the angel spoke to him in a dream regarding Mary to whom he was betrothed. “The child to be born was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
And what is so impressive is that Joseph believed. No human proof, no one to share the message with, no guarantee about the future. He simply believed.
Saint Joseph trusted. Did he not have to rise immediately at night and take the child and his mother and leave for Egypt…again at the message of an angel? Saint Joseph did not waver or question. He trusted though he had no human reassurance that everything was going to be all right.
Saint Joseph was silent, but his faith spoke volumes. Not a word was recorded. Yet have we not all heard the saying that actions speak louder than words? The virtues of Saint Joseph are very obvious by his actions more than by his words. And this is what leads up to the next virtue….
Saint Joseph was obedient. Saint Joseph was a faithful Israelite and obeyed religious and civil authorities. It wasn’t easy to travel to Bethlehem at the time of the census, but Joseph brought Mary and it was there that Jesus was born. He brought Jesus to the temple for the Jewish religious observances. He was a model as a father and virtuous head of his household.
Further on in the Gospels we read a reference to Joseph in the words of the people themselves. For when the people were listening to Jesus’ preaching, they said in amazement, “is this not the carpenter’s son?”
Pope Paul VI thought of Saint Joseph when reflecting on the following words in the Gospel of Matthew: “I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things [the things of God] from the wise and learned, but you have revealed them to little ones.”
The ‘little ones’ are those who are humble in the face of grandeur where one could say, ‘Look how I have been chosen.’ Joseph, instead, was quiet, unassuming, obedient, full of faith, and attentive to the voice of God.
The following passage from the Old Testament was originally written in regards to the holy patriarch Joseph, but has also been applied to Saint Joseph, “Behold the faithful and prudent servant whom the Lord God has set over his household.”
In our day and age Saint Joseph is known by the titles Guardian of the Holy Family and Patron of the Universal Church.
Here are five secrets of life I learned from Saint Joseph:
It is important to listen. Saint Joseph listened; his heart full of the love of God was attuned to the voice of God in his life. He heard the voice of the angel tell him to take Mary into his home and also to rise and take Mary and the Child Jesus and to flee into Egypt. He was attentive.
Belief comes from the heart. Saint Joseph believed. Being familiar with God’s ways and with the patriarchs and prophets of old, Saint Joseph like Abraham believed God’s guidance in his life.
When I love God I trust him. Saint Joseph trusted. There were no tangible proofs that what was said to him by an angel in a dream was going to work out. But he trusted that God was in charge and that was enough for him.
Silence helps me to listen. Saint Joseph was silent. Like Abraham, Saint Joseph trusted, believed and was obedient to what was asked of him. No questions asked.
May I always say, “Your will be done, O Lord.” Saint Joseph was obedient to the will of God. He immediately put into action the plan of God, believing that God is God and that his own judgments were to be subject to his God.
Let us celebrate this feast in a special way by thinking on these things.
God bless you all.
Sr. Barbara Gerace, Daughters of St. Paul
Share below the lessons you have learned from Saint Joseph.
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