A child standing in front of the Christmas Crib was looking for quite sometime at the statue of St Joseph.
The mother, tapped his shoulder and asked: “Why is it that you looking so long at St Joseph?”
The boy with an innocent smile replied:
“Mamma…St Joseph was such a great person, isn’t it!
>> He had the honour to be so close with the two holiest persons of this world – Jesus, the Son of God and Mary, the Immaculate Mother!
I wish that we would talk and pray to St Joseph more..
… than just think of him, only during Christmas season!”
The boy was recounting the greatness of St Joseph…
…who often remains hidden in the backdrop, amid the great galaxy of Biblical Stars!
The Gospel of the day is a beautiful glimpse to understand the person of St Joseph.
Let’s learn a few of his important virtues.
1. St Joseph was ever attentive and obedient to the voice of God
>> One of the standout qualities that we observe in St Joseph is his prompt obedience to the voice of God
He listened to the Angel, in moments of dilemma, and obediently took Mary as his wife (Mt 1:20-24)
He listened to the Angel, in moments of danger, and obediently took the Mother and Child to Egypt (Mt 1:13-15)
He listened to the Angel, in moments of doubt, and obediently settled the Holy Family in Nazareth (Mt 1: 20, 22b)
>> St Joseph was able to let go of his personal choices and his desired comforts and give top priority to do what God wanted him to do.
Holiness consists in doing what God wants – when and where He wants
2. St Joseph teaches us the love for Jesus and Mary
>> Ever since he recognised the plan of God in his life, St Joseph displayed a tremendous commitment and love to Jesus and Mary
>> He had many occasions of choices to let go of them…
… to leave Mary when she was found with Child, even before the marriage
… to leave his pregnant Wife when they found no place in the inn
… to abandon the Child and Mother when a life-danger against them was sensed
But, nothing could deter St Joseph from leaving or abandoning them.
>> He knew that in God’s plan, They belonged to him, and he would safeguard Them – treasuring Them close to his heart.
Our faith has blessed us with love for Jesus and Mother Mary.
>> Can we also imitate St Joseph, in holding Them close to our hearts?
3. Humility is a virtue radiated by St Joseph
St Joseph had to face many moments of humiliation, disappointment and uncertainty.
>> But in his humility, he remained true to God in all those moments
Life sometimes drags us into situations of sadness and even shame.
>> Many times we let go of God’s Hands, saying that “He is not fair” or “He doesn’t understand me”!
St Joseph teaches us that there is much value in humbling oneself, before the mighty power of the Almighty
4. St Joseph was content to be the “silent worker” in the awesome work of Salvation
>> St Joseph, was honoured to be sharing the most intimate physical presence with the two holiest persons of this world – Jesus, the Son of God and Mary, the Immaculate Mother.
>> And yet, he contented himself to be the “silent hard-worker”.
He is a mighty challenge to our world, where seeking for honour, position, fame and reputation become cheap motives, in doing works of charity or even, sadly to say, in ministries of the Church.
5. St Joseph is the model of chastity
>> Mary is the New Ark of Covenant, bearing Divinity in Her.
St Jerome, says that St Joseph, the son of David, shared his royal ancestor’s fear of coming into overly close contact with the Tabernacle of the Lord: “Who am I,” asked King David, “that the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9)
Chastity is the virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason.
>> In married people, chastity moderates the desire in conformity with their state of life
>> In unmarried people who wish to marry, the desire is moderated by abstention or unless they get married
>> In those who resolve not to marry, the desire is sacrificed entirely.
St Joseph is often depicted with a White Lily in his hand, to depict purity and holiness
6. St Joseph was prefigured in Joseph of the Old Testament
>> In the Old Testament, we read Joseph, the son of Jacob, had stored up, in Egypt, grain to provide bread for the preservation of the People of Israel (Gen 42)
In the New Testament, St Joseph, safeguarded, in Egypt, the Bread of Life, for the salvation of the People of God. (Mt 1: 14)
7. St Joseph is a model leader
>> True to being a Father, St Joseph displayed many leadership qualities, which needs to be imitated by us, in our practical life
>> Defender of the community/team members: St Joseph preserved Mother Mary from idle talks of gossip and malicious speculation
>> Protection of those in care: St Joseph did not give up in the face of hostile situations, when it was time for the Birth of the Child
>> Needful and prompt action: St Joseph acted quickly and promptly, in response to situations of danger and of need
St Joseph invites us to grow in obedience to the Will of God – with promptness and joy
>> Let us pray that we will be able to nurture a deeper and tender affection for Jesus and Mother Mary and be close to Them, to lead a pure and holy life.
May the greatness of St Joseph inspire us.
>> And may we talk and pray to St Joseph more..
… than just think of him, only during Christmas season!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Glorious St Joseph, spouse of Mary, grant us thy paternal protection, we beseech thee by the Heart of Jesus Christ!
>> O thou, whose power extends to all our necessities and can render possible for us the most impossible things, open thy fatherly eyes to the needs of thy children!”