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St. Joseph | Thy Sins are forgiven
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St. Joseph

Friends in  Christ,
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph,  this ‘quiet man’ of the gospel.  Through all the gospels, Joseph says not a word.  He is there for Mary in her need;  a protector of Jesus in danger;  he quietly did God’s will in many difficult things.

We may wonder about the early life of Joseph; there are apocryphal writings which tell us some things, it is not certain, but could be. Some of the mystics, like St. Catherine Emmerich and others had visions of the early life of Mary and Joseph. I was looking at a book[i] which ‘stitched together’ the different legends and visions to give us a sort of picture.   They tell us that when the time came for Mary to meet her husband, the high priest called to the temple  the young men who were of the line of David. Mary was worried, because she had made a vow of virginity, but God reassured her about the choice of her husband.

It is said that Joseph was born near Bethlehem, the 3rd of 6 brothers. His parents lived in a large country home with a bubbling fountain in a court, and surrounded by lovely streams.   At his birth, Joseph was a beautiful baby,  and it is said that by age 3, he already knew God by faith.  An elderly tutor instructed the children in their lessons  on a porch, that went around the upper floor of the house.  Joseph’s brothers used to tease him and often tried to hurt him.  Each boy had a small garden, and his brothers sometimes went into Joseph’s, and tore up the plants that he liked best.  When he was praying once on the porch,  they snuck up behind him and pushed him over. But in such cases he did not get angry, he only continued his prayers.

His parents sometimes complained that he was too quiet and lacking ambition. They wanted him to be prosperous,  but he sought only to do manual labor and have time to pray.   When he was 20 he left home to earn his living in the country north of Jerusalem. He worked as an assistant to a carpenter,  and did many odd jobs there; his family still scolded him for his simple ways,  but he continued, and even moved to small house near the Sea of Galilee. Wherever he lived his sincerity and kindness were loved by all.

One day, his being a descendant of David, he was summoned to the temple. He appeared there with the other young men who were dressed in festive robes, seeking the hand of Mary;  each was given a dry branch and told to pray.  Joseph alone, did not feel himself worthy to be the husband of Mary, but as instructed, each came forward and laid their branch on the altar.  When Joseph, the last in line, was about to place his branch, all of a sudden it blossomed into a beautiful lily-flower,  and for a moment, a white dove sat on his head.  The quiet Joseph was the perfect choice, because he would be not only the worthy protector of Mary and the Holy Family, but would come to be known as the faithful protector  of the Universal Church.

Pray for us St. Joseph, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


[i] Life of Mary as seen by the Mystics, p. 63.

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