Monday, March 19
There Is True Strength in the Virtuous Living of Gentleness, Compassion and Devotion to One’s Family
One of the wonderful things about our Christian faith is the communion of saints who already live with God in His Love. They are what we call the Church Triumphant, who reach out to us through their prayers, interceding for our needs before the very Throne of God itself.
Today, we take a moment from Lent to honor, in a very special way, Saint Joseph as the husband and most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a man considered by God to be a just man, righteous in the eyes of God, and chosen from all eternity to become the beloved foster father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – the Eternal Word made flesh.
What an honor that must have been, but also what an awesome responsibility – knowing that he was chosen by God to care for and protect the prophesied Messiah and to be the spouse of the Blessed Mother!
Being considered righteous, Joseph must have been familiar with the psalm that we read in our Responsorial today. He, together with all of Israel, would have known of God’s promises and was awaiting their fulfillment – the birth of the Anointed One, the prophesied Messiah who would be their Savior:
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations…He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’ I myself make him the firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth.”
For Joseph, here He was, this Messiah, the Son of the Eternal Father, the One who was to bring to fulfillment all that was foretold since the time of Adam – in the womb of his betrothed, Mary.
One can only imagine what was going through Joseph’s mind – apprehension, joy, anxiety, elation – mixtures of feelings. And how did he respond? “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” – acts of humility, compassion and obedience, but most importantly – trust, an unwavering trust in his Creator who is the Giver of all good gifts in life.
What we know about the life of Saint Joseph comes to us from the few brief passages we have in Sacred Scripture, together with legends which have sprung up over the centuries concerning his life – mostly from apocryphal sources, some which may hold some fact and others which are questionable at best.
Saint Joseph is not mentioned at all in the Scriptures after Jesus began His public ministry, so it is presumed that he died sometime before Jesus turned thirty years of age. But if we were to reflect upon his death, what a holy death it must have been! – being embraced with love by his beloved spouse, Mary; being strengthened and blessed by the Eternal Son of God Himself!
Saint Joseph is only mentioned by two of the Evangelists, Matthew and Luke. But he is always presented in the light of being a good and holy man, just and righteous in the eyes of God, and a caring and selfless protector for the family which God entrusted to his loving care.
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this Holy Child entrusted to his care. Not only did he and Mary leave their home in Bethlehem to protect Jesus by fleeing to Egypt; but, upon his return, settled in an obscure, northern town called Nazareth out of fear for the Child’s life.
When Jesus stayed in the Temple, we are told that Joseph, along with Mary, searched with great anxiety for three days for Him. We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son, for, when Jesus began teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth during His public ministry, the people of Nazareth would say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
In the example Joseph gave in how he listened to and obeyed the message from God through an angel, in the example Joseph gave in how he respected and protected Mary and the Infant Jesus by caring and providing for their needs – Joseph gives to all men an example of how to be a just and a loving spouse, how to be chaste in one’s way of life, how to be a diligent husband and father in providing for the needs of one’s family, and how to live one’s life in a holy and loving relationship with God.
Joseph gives to all men the example of how to be strong in one’s love for his faith, and that there is true strength in the virtuous living of gentleness, compassion and devotion to the convictions and beliefs which we hold in the depths of our hearts, as we continue our daily pilgrimage through life.
The following quote about Saint Joseph is attributed to Saint Bernadine of Siena, “He was chosen by the Eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of His greatest treasures, namely, His Divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’”
May the example Joseph lived, and his prayers of intercession for you and me, bring us to that same joy he himself is now realizing, a joy which is without end in the Eternal Kingdom which God has prepared for each and every one of us –
– a joy made possible only through Divine Love! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day:
- “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: I will make your dynasty stand forever and establish your throne through all ages…He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock of my salvation!’ I myself make him the firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:4-5, 27-28)
- “Joseph her husband…was a righteous man…” (Matthew 1: 19a)
- “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” (Matthew 1:24)
- “…behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13b-14)
- “When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.’ He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth…” (Matthew 2:19-23a)
- “When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’” (Luke 2:48)
- “And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, ‘Is this not the son of Joseph?’” (Luke 4:22)
- “Children’s children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage.” (Proverbs 17:6)
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her…” (Ephesians 5:25-26a)
- “Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them…Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:19, 20)
- “…husbands should live with [their] wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
- “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance.” (Colossians 3:23-24a)
Prayer for the Day:
“To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of your most holy spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.
“Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
“O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father,
ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
“O our most mighty protector,
be propitious to us and, from Heaven, assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness;
and, as you once rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.
“Shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,Devotional Prayer to Saint Joseph
so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness with God in Heaven. Amen.”