I have always had an affinity for Saint Joseph. He was the father of Jesus and husband to the Virgin Mary. He plays an important role in the early parts of the Gospels around Jesus’s birth. And then he just disappears. It’s almost as if the Gospels forgot about him.
He has been my model for manhood and sainthood. So many saints have fantastic stories and lives. Saint Thomas Aquinas was a once in a millennia philosopher and theologian. Saint Francis of Assisi lived a radical life of poverty. And Saint Maximilian Kobe sacrificed himself in a Nazi death camp. There are so many amazing stories of the Saint’s lives. All of them are great accomplishments by great men in history.
I am not a genius theologian, nor am I as wild as Saint Francis, and thank god there aren’t Nazi concentration camps anymore. I’m a regular man that history will forget, and that is why I like Saint Joseph.
A Man of Action
Saint Joseph was a man of action. How do I know this? Well, he’s mentioned in all four Gospels and he says zero words.
This peculiarity is something I’ve always appreciated. So many saints and Catholic figures are known for their writings or their evangelization. But if you look at the Gospels we know nothing about Saint Joseph’s thoughts.
This speaks volumes to me as a man. We all know the idiom, “Actions speak louder than words.” Saint Joseph is most known for his obedience. When the angels tell Saint Joseph what to do he listens and obeys. He acts. He doesn’t question. He doesn’t complain. He does what the Lord asks him to do.
Saint Joseph embodies obedience to God and shows us it is the path towards sainthood.
St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. – St. Josemaria Escriva
Humble Man of Faith
Saint Joseph’s humility is not emphasized enough. His wife shows up pregnant, he knows the baby isn’t his, and yet he stays married to the Virgin Mary and raises Jesus. I struggle to think of something more humiliating for a man than to raise a child he knows isn’t his. It’s such a humiliating experience we as a society insult these men by calling them cuckolds.
It is a sacrifice that is virtually ignored. Saint Joseph receives very little recognition for his sacrifices. At best you might hear people say that Joseph was a nice guy. Because while he could have had the Virgin Mary stoned, he was going to divorce her quietly. This doesn’t even begin to capture the sacrifice to Saint Joseph’s ego and reputation.
The Holy Family, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, was the cross Saint Joseph had to bear.
The unwavering faith and humility required to raise Jesus as his son and to keep Mary as his wife is so very underappreciated. His pride and his honor are under assault. And yet when the angel visits him. He humbles himself before the Lord.
Saint Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care. May he always guard, protect, and enlighten families. (Saint John Paul II)
Saint Joseph is an example of how a man ought to live, but also an example of how a man ought to die. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a Happy Death.
Death is our punishment for the first sin committed by Adam. Jesus is the new Adam, and through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are forgiven of our sins. But Joseph is an example of how we wish to die in this world and move into the next.
We know Saint Joseph died before Jesus. He is not present at the crucifixion and Mary is entrusted to Saint John the Apostle, which wouldn’t have happened if Joseph were still alive.
This means Saint Joseph most likely died in the company of Jesus and Mary. A model for death. Death is the most frightening thing in this world. We do not know for certain what comes next. Be it heaven, or hell, or nothingness. It is truly a test of faith. It is often said that “We all die alone.” This was not the case for Saint Joseph.
We should all hope to die accompanied by our lord and his blessed mother.
I’ve long felt men are called to three things in life: To Protect, To Provide, and To Die. But it’s hard to reconcile this with the lives of most saints. They lived radical lives that were far from average. It can cause consternation to the average man about the possibilities of sainthood. Luckily, Saint Joseph provides an example of how the average man can get into heaven.
We don’t know much about saint Joseph when compared to so many other saints and figures in the church. We know he was a carpenter. We know he was a just man. Saint Joseph was an average man who did what the Lord asked, and became a saint for it.
What makes Saint Joseph so remarkable, was that he was fairly unremarkable.
In a book filled with the miracles of God and the stories of Prophets. He was a man who didn’t say anything. All he did was work and take care of his family. For that, he became a saint.