Joseph and Jesus working together
Of all the saints on the Liturgical
Calendar, aside from Jesus and Mary, by far the greatest saint is “Glorious
Saint Joseph”. He indeed is in a category by himself! The theologians classify the greatness of
those in glory with the following titles: “Latria”, which means adoration that
we give to the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Hyperdulia” given to the Blessed Virgin Mary
means the highest veneration. “Dulia”,
given to the saints, implies veneration.
Finally, Glorious Saint Joseph is rightly given “Protodulia”, meaning
that among the saints he is given first place; “Proto” means first!
Saint Bernadine of Siena expounds
upon the reason for this theological hierarchy. In simple terms, this
Franciscan Doctor of the Church asserts that God gives special graces
commensurate or corresponding to the specific office or mission given to the
Husband and wife married
sacramentally have the sacramental grace of Matrimony to grow in mutual love
for each other as well as to procreate children for the Kingdom of God. Priests,
through Holy Orders, can grow daily in sanctity by preaching the Word of God
and administering with joy the Sacraments to the People of God. God gives
graces corresponding to the state of life!
Therefore, in the case of Glorious
Saint Joseph, God entrusted this greatest of all saints with two sublime
missions; one mission even greater than the other. First, St. Joseph God called
to be the spouse (husband) of the Queen of the angels and saints, the Blessed
Virgin Mary. How sublime! However, God
the Father entrusted Glorious Saint Joseph with an even more exalted and
sublime mission—namely, the Office of being the “Foster Father” of the Son of
the living God, Jesus, and the Son of the eternal Father!!!! This is even more
sublime, ineffable, beyond the ability of human words to express!
Therefore, with this double mission
and vocation, God obviously poured a super-abundance of graces into the heart,
mind and soul of Glorious Saint Joseph!
The titles given to Glorious Saint
Joseph express a literary and poetic beauty that is exalted: “Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God, Foster Father of the Son of God, Diligent
Protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of
families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, terror of demons, Protector
of Holy Church….
St. Teresa of Avila praying to St. Joseph
Saint Teresa of Avila who extolled
the power of Saint Joseph and thanked him for saving her life, said that she
never knew of any time in which Saint Joseph did not help her and
immediately! One of the most pertinent
titles for Saint Joseph, so important with so many crises in the modern world
is Saint Joseph, patron of fathers. Let us briefly highlight the sublime
virtues that Saint Joseph expressed and lived out in a concrete and daily basis
Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph
REPRESENTATION OF GOD THE
FATHER. Glorious Saint Joseph was
called to mirror and reflect God the Father to Jesus His Son. Although indeed a very tall order to say the
least, all fathers must strive with all of the energy in their wills to pattern
their lives after Saint Joseph and strive to reflect and image to their
children the Father---“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be they name…”
PRESENCE! Today we suffer from the complex and
confusion of the “Drop out Dad”. We might even call it the “Drop out Dad
syndrome”! Divorce, adultery, alcoholism, and being a workaholic--- all too many Dads suffer
from these serious manifestations that result in the neglect of their family
and children! This results in the Dad
not being present to his children, either physically, morally, spiritually or
emotionally! This then is tantamount to wounding children who most likely will
perpetuate this vicious cycle with their own children. Not so with good Saint
Joseph! He was constantly present to God his Father and this overflowed in an
abundant river of warm, loving, tender, strong presence to his spouse and to
His Child! In imitation of St. Joseph, the Father, may fathers be totally present to
their children! It can be done and it must be done so as to transform the
The Holy Family and work
Many fathers today are cold, mean, calculating, abrupt, sharp and cutting
in word and gesture thereby resulting in provoking and planting a dreadful fear
in their children! Pope Francis reminds
us the importance of tenderness in dealing with others in his words and
actions—especially to the poorest of the poor.
From the heart and life of Saint Joseph emanated and exuded an infinite
river of tenderness, kindness, meekness, gentleness, mercy and compassion. What
a joy just to be in his loving presence! Being tender is not lacking manliness
but a true manifestation of a dimension of manliness present in the very heart
of God the Father, reflected in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the person
of God the Father.
St. Joseph strong and protecting the Holy Family
FIRMNESS AND STRENGTH. It might seem paradoxical that Saint Joseph
represented the epitome of gentleness, but at the same time he radiated
manliness, firmness, courage and strength worthy of the highest admiration!
Read the Gospels! The long trek to Bethlehem with all the trials and inclement
weather challenges; rejection upon arrival and acceptance; the long, tiring and dangerous flight into
Egypt to save his wife and child and providing for them until the death of
Herod. A weak-minded, soft and sensual,
much less effeminate man would have collapsed like a house of cards when
confronted with any of these hard and challenging situations! Not so with saint
Joseph the strong and manly saint! Children desperately need both tenderness
and firmness in their fathers—a harmonious balance of these opposite virtues!
May Saint Joseph intercede for our fathers right now!
The Flight into Egypt
FAITHFUL TILL THE END. More than ever today we need individuals that
are faithful to their word, their commitment, their vocation and mission!
Despite the many obstacles presented in the Gospels, and many other incidents
not recorded, Saint Joseph was faithful from start to finish. All too many men
today when confronted with painful trials bail out or simply jump ship!
Drinking, porn. drugs, gambling, and a plethora of vices fathers succumb to
instead of biting the bullet, placing their nose to the grindstone, and plowing
through the heavy snow storms of life. Fathers must meditate upon the life,
actions, examples and the person of great Saint Joseph. Fathers should
consecrate themselves to Glorious Saint Joseph. Fathers should pray to Saint
Joseph, imitate Saint Joseph and love Saint Joseph. If all the fathers in the
world would take Glorious Saint Joseph as model and guide, the world, the
families and the society as a whole would be rapidly transformed. Glorious
Saint Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus, the Son of God, pray
for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen!