Today is the feast of St. Joseph!
Mighty St. Joseph, model of man, chosen and set apart.
Mighty Man! (No cape necessary!)
He never doubted God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. Faith was at work in his deeds, and by his deeds his faith became perfect. (James 2:22)
A fitting example for husbands and fathers, was he!
God made him the master of his household. He gave him charge over all his possessions. -Breviary 1727
In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to the promised fulfillment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms. -Saint Bernadine of Siena
It is natural for man to want to be head of his household. God wills it. Not to “Lord Over!” But rather to lead. Happy is the wife who understands, embraces, and trusts the role he has been given. Because of his love for God and his love for her she entrusts her home, her love, her life to him. And thereby a marriage is blessed.
Joseph is the model which reveals the blessing that will come when man is trusted with this role of both husband & father. After an angel told Mary that she would be the Mother of God, Saint Joseph wondered what to do. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to worry, that the child was the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was to be her husband and protect the child as He grew. Joseph decided to trust the angel of God. He married Mary and took her into his home. Because of Joseph’s trust in God, he did as he was instructed. He lead his wife in the ways instructed by God. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angel appeared to Joseph again, warning him that the Child was in danger. Joseph followed the advice of the angel and took Mary to Bethlehem for the census. They could not find a place to spend the night except for a stable, this is the place where Jesus was born. Mighty St. Joseph was able to accomplish this because he was respected, by his beloved wife Mary, as head of the household & drew courage through her trust in him. He was her husband & future foster-father of their child. She entrused her life, and that of the unborn miracle inside her; to his care, to his leadership, and to his wise direction. She knew under this mantle of protection she too shared in his Might. She knew her faith in him was not a sign of weakness, but of strength because it takes courage to die to self. And that in her trust to follow his guiding hand she was not serving him as slave; but joining him as a servant of God following in His way.
Can you imagine the added difficulty, especially for Mary, without this mutual respect? A woman might easily protest that the move would take her too far away from her family & loved ones, (not to mention that they would be nearer to HIS KIN!) There may not be the climate or conveniences she’s grown accustomed to in the city of Bethlehem. And certainly, in her current condition, she should NOT be riding all that way on the back of a donkey!!! What kind of a man was he to expect so much from her?!?!? (Praise be to Mary for her example of a humble wife!)
After Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple, again an angel advised Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and her child to be protected from the hatred of Herod. They came back when Herod was dead and then when Jesus was twelve years old, they lost Jesus for three days until they found him in the temple. Jesus said to Mary and Joseph: “Don’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
How much God must have admired Joseph to bestow upon this chosen man; the honor & duty to rule over Him in the home of His childhood! Imagine…wise, humble, quiet St. Joseph was the one to tell Jesus it was “time to sweep the floors!” Or to “bring in the firewood,” and perhaps to “wipe His feet before entering the kitchen where His mother just labored over cleaning the floors.” And Joseph, as head of the household, would have lead the prayer at meal time, not the child Jesus. Our God so admired Joseph to allow this intimate authority over Him, one in the Trinity.
A beautiful Hymn is offered today, during Morning Prayer, on the Feast of Saint Joseph. I am grateful to have had the tune humming in the background of my thoughts all day…and so I leave this tune with you… in hopes you may hum along and feel as Mighty as St. Joseph, too.
Joseph, patron saint of workers,
Blending skill with charity,
Silent carpenter, we praise you!
Joining work with honesty,
You taught Christ with joy to labor
Sharing his nobility.
Joseph, close to Christ and Mary,
Lived with them in poverty,
Shared with them their home and labor,
Worked with noble dignity.
May we seek God’s will as you did,
Leader of his family!
Joseph, workmen’s inspiration,
Man of faith and charity,
Make us honest, humble, faithful,
Strong with Christ’s true liberty,
Make our labor and our leisure
Fruitful to eternity!
hugs n’ blessings!