Husband of the Virgin Mary
Fosterfather of Our Lord
So much can be said of today’s saint. He is the man to whom God entrusted the earthly care of His only Son. He is the man who protected the Virgin and provided a living for the Holy Family. He’s the poor guy who never gets to utter a single word in Scripture. And yet, he is the patron saint of the entire Church!
I’d be lying to you if I tried to include a biography for St. Joseph. We have no information about his background other than that he was of the house of David and his father’s name was Jacob. We know that he was a “righteous man, unwilling to expose” the Virgin Mary to the law. She could have been put to death for being found with child. He was willing to quietly divorce her. There is something very compassionate, very human about Joseph. In a vision, an angel appeared and told him the whole deal. With tremendous faith, Joseph did as he was instructed.
That’s the thing I love about St. Joseph. He simply did. He didn’t ask. He didn’t speak. He just did. One particular instance from his life as head of the Holy Family that strikes me every time I pray the joyful mysteries of the roasry is this. It is the story of when Jesus was about 12 or 13 and Mary and Joseph thought they had lost him. Could you imagine being tasked by God with watching His only Son and then thinking you’d lost him?! But just as Our Blessed Lord was where He was supposed to be (in His Father’s house), so Joseph did what he was supposed to do.
Finally, Joseph is regarded as patron of a happy death. What could be happy about death, you ask? Well, plenty… If you’ve ever been around someone during that person’s final days you might know that people can experience tranquility, peace, and resignation, especially when surrounded by loved ones. Joseph, we can surmize, was surrounded by the Virgin Mary and Jesus. What happier death could there be?
Something else that comes to mind when reflecting on Joseph… How blessed we are as men to hold our children in our arms! How precious a gift God bestows on us! He softens us. He makes us into fathers, like Himself, by sharing His paternity with us. Joseph knew all along that his “son” was not biologically his and yet, so good a man was he, that he raised him nonetheless as though he were. The image above is one of my favorites. Joseph held Christ in his arms, let him fall asleep on him, played with Him, taught Him…
Pray for us, St. Joseph, in all our needs, in our trials and tribulations, at the hour of our death. Amen.