“Me, relate to St. Joseph?” you might be thinking. “But he was so…”
Different? Extraordinary? Holy?
Yes. He was all these things.
And yet, his relationship with God was perfectly human. He had to trust. He had to pray. He had to wrestle with big decisions. When you dig beneath the holy aura around Joseph’s life, you’ll find the same dynamics of prayer, virtue and discernment we all experience.
Specifically, we can pick out three things about Joseph’s life that relate to our own.
1. God doesn’t need you to be brilliant, just faithful.
God gave Joseph an extraordinary vocation: to be the father of Christ on earth. But what did Joseph do to qualify for this vocation?
Did he know a ton of theology? No. Did he work miracles? No. But the Gospel says he was a righteous man, which means he was faithful to God. He knew what God taught in Scripture, and he tried to live it the best he could. That was more than enough for God to work with.
God chose Joseph out of His own divine providence. Deep down Joseph was a simple, everyday person striving to love God well. Sound like you? Good! Because that’s the kind of person God loves using to fulfill His will.
2. God tells you what you need when you need it.
God only told Joseph one thing at a time.
When Joseph was troubled about Mary’s pregnancy, the angel revealed that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. But he didn’t tell Joseph about the journey to Bethlehem, nor that there would be no room at the inn. Yet Joseph took Mary to be his wife.
When King Herod sought to kill Jesus, God told Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. But he didn’t tell Joseph how long to stay there, or what to do when he got there. Yet Joseph went.
Of course, Joseph wondered how everything would work out. But when God spoke, he acted. Whatever he knew at the time was enough. Unlike Joseph, we tend to want as much information as we can get before we’re willing to act. But like Joseph, we can trust what God’s doing – even when He doesn’t give us the bigger picture.
3. God’s son Jesus is a gift that must be protected.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
We’re so familiar with this verse, we can forget the obvious point: Jesus is a gift.
This precious gift must be protected.
At a real point in history, Jesus came into the world physically. Joseph had to protect Jesus from foes like King Herod, who sought to destroy him. In the present day, we receive the gift of Jesus into our hearts through the sacraments. But the devil and his cronies egg on our pride, envy, lust, greed and sloth, seeking to destroy Christ’s life in us through sin.
So like St. Joseph, we must protect that Christ-life in our hearts through virtue. Call on St. Joseph to intercede for you. He’s called the Terror of Demons for a reason.
Prayer to St. Joseph
By St. Louis de Montfort
Hail Joseph the just, wisdom is with you: blessed are you among all men and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of Mary, your faithful spouse. Holy Joseph, worthy foster-father of Jesus Christ, pray for us sinners and obtain divine wisdom for us from God, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
St. Joseph, pray for us!