Within Scripture, St. Joseph doesn’t make a sound. Literally, he doesn’t say a single word. But His presence is strong, stronger than the naked eye may suggest. His impact on our salvation is monumental. We all owe him a debt of gratitude — these are just a few of the reasons why…
He Made the Incarnation Possible
St Joseph did not participate in the moment of Christ’s conception, but he made it possible nonetheless. Mary was betrothed to Joseph when the angel Gabriel appeared. Betrothed does not mean engaged. According to Jewish customs at the time, “betrothed” was synonymous with “married.” Betrothal was simply the first step in marriage. Similar to our modern understanding of Christian marriage vows, bride and groom were bound by their spoken words first, then their bodies later. After the betrothal of Joseph and Mary, Joseph had to go build a house for their family before the second part of the marriage could take place.
Thus, the Child that was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit was conceived within a marriage. Jesus wasn’t only entrusted to Mary, He was entrusted to Mary and Joseph. Joseph’s vow to Mary protected her (and thus, her baby) from being executed under Mosaic Law. If she hadn’t been betrothed, she would have been stoned to death (like the woman caught in adultery). However, becoming pregnant while betrothed was not a death sentence. Scandalous? Yes. It’s possible Mary and Joseph were subject to gossip… it’s also possible that God’s hand in the whole series of events actually shielded them from shame (see –>).
Joseph’s “yes” in this whole scenario protected Mary and Jesus from the very beginning. He protected our Salvation in its most vulnerable state.
Could God have issued this protection in another way? Absolutely! But He chose Joseph
…and that speaks volumes about the man.
His Heart is like God the Father’s
In order for the child Jesus to understand true providence and refuge, God the Father designed the heart of St. Joseph to be like His own. Most Theologians agree that God placed a spark of Divine life within his heart, in order that Jesus would recognize St. Joseph as His father. It also enabled Joseph to properly model masculine love to his Son, who was fully God (love) and fully man (masculine).
He was the Head of the Holy Family
There were three people in the Holy Family: Jesus (who was sinless and God), Mary (who was sinless), and Joseph (who was a just man, but not sinless). Guess who God put in charge? The one who was least qualified. How do we know this for sure? When baby Jesus was in danger, God’s messenger came to warn Joseph in a dream — not Mary. Similarly, Scripture tells us that pre-teen Jesus was obedient to his earthly father.
If the only perfect people to have ever lived followed the direction of St. Joseph, I’m gonna do the same…
He Taught Jesus How to Obey
When the angel told Joseph to take Mary into his home, he immediately obeyed. When the angel told Joseph to flee to Egypt with his family, he immediately obeyed. When advised in a dream to return to Nazareth, Joseph immediately obeyed. Joseph knew God’s voice and followed it without delay. It was this example that Jesus grew up with… and quite likely part of what enabled Him to say, “not my will, but yours be done.”
He Taught Jesus How to Suffer
Joseph was a carpenter, a profession that made no one rich. In fact, it was a profession full of sacrifice and suffering. Jesus grew up in poverty, watching His father serve with great devotion through all of life’s difficulties. It was partially why Jesus had such a heart for the poor. It was also why he was ready and willing to sacrifice Himself for the sake of others. Joseph modeled that behavior for the Christ Child.
He Made the Eucharist Possible
Did you know that the Old Testament Joseph is a foreshadowing of the New Testament Joseph? Both had the ability to interpret dreams, and both saved the world from famine. Just as OT Joseph used the years of plenty to stockpile supplies of wheat for the world, saving them from death, NT Joseph nurtured, “stored up,” and preserved for us the Bread of Life, which keeps us from eternal death.
He is the Terror of the Demons
Pride is the source of all sin… Joseph was not 100% sinless, but he was incredibly humble. It was his humility that allowed him to answer swiftly and without a second thought each and every time the angel of the Lord spoke to him. It was with humility that he lead and served his wife and Son. It was with humility that he set an example of sacrifice and obedience for his Son. It is this great humility (and all the reasons listed above) that the demons are terrified of this man.
One of the Greatest in Heaven
If you need a heavenly favor, I suggest adding St. Joseph to your list of patrons to call upon. After Jesus and Mary, there is no greater intercessor in all of heaven.
“If our Savior blessed the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, John the Baptist, and others, because they greeted His presence with devoted hearts for a brief passing hour, how much more did He bless you who have sanctified yourself for so many years in His company and that of His Mother?”
(Taken from the Novena to St. Joseph… as well as…)
“If Jesus regards every corporal and spiritual work of mercy, performed in behalf of our fellow men out of love for Him, as done to Himself, and promises heaven as a reward, what must have been the extent of His gratitude to you who in the truest sense of the word have received Him, given Him shelter, clothed, nourished, and consoled Him at the sacrifice of your strength and rest, and even your life, with a love which surpassed the love of all fathers.”
What obedient Son would refuse his humble father?
Devote Yourself to Him
If you haven’t already… foster a devotion to this great saint (pun intended). The Novena of St. Joseph is a great place to start. A relationship with this man will only bring about good things. I actually give this statement a 100% guarantee.
St. Joseph- pray for us!