Lessons from St. Joseph

Lessons from St. Joseph

I AM sure that the first ones to be most happy at the celebration of the Solemnity of St. Joseph are our Lord, Christ Jesus, and his mother, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. And we, of course, join them in this family celebration that is done liturgically in the whole Church.

Both are, of course, far more superior than this simple carpenter, but they happen to receive the most direct, the most delicate, and yet the most effective and affectionate service from him.

Mary needed a husband to legitimize before the eyes of the people the fact that she was going to have a child. And Christ, of course, needed a human father for the human side of his divine mission here on earth. Joseph filled the bill perfectly. In heaven, there must be some grand festivity in honor of this great simple man.

Both Christ and Mary must be eager to tell us that we can learn a lot from St. Joseph. It is very likely that they want us to imitate Joseph’s simplicity and docility. When he thought of separating from Mary because she was found to be with child before they were married, he immediately changed his mind when he was told in a dream the real score of Mary’s pregnancy.

And when someone was in a rampage to kill toddlers that would include the child Jesus, he immediately acted to flee into Egypt when he was told, again in a dream, what he had to do. He just obeyed without raising any question.

Joseph just did very ordinary things that any husband and father would do. And yet through these ordinary things he carried out an important and indispensable role in the whole work of man’s redemption by Christ.

The lesson we can get here is that all our duties and responsibilities of our state in life, whether we are married or single, father, mother, son, daughter, worker, etc., are a way to cooperate in God’s continuing and redemptive providence over us. We need to appreciate more deeply the significance of our ordinary duties which we often take for granted.

And this is all because we are all children of God, and as such, our life is always a life with God.

Everyone of us has a vocation that gives meaning and purpose, color and direction to our whole life.

Whether we are prominent in society or just an ordinary guy, each one of us is called by God, i.e., is given a vocation and has a mission to carry out in this life. We have to be aware of this basic truth about ourselves and be most discerning as to what specific vocation God is giving us.

In the case of St. Joseph, he was called, almost from nowhere, to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of Christ. It would look as if he was just asked to play a cameo role, some kind of a prop to complete the scene in a given play. And yet he did it very, very well.

If we would just be faithful to our vocation, no matter how small or hidden it is, we would be carrying out an important part of God’s providence!