Saint Joseph: our strength and shield

Saint Joseph: our strength and shield

By Mel Jasmin


This week, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph as Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Joseph’s example and patronage come at the perfect time. At a time when a global pandemic has forced millions to live hidden away, isolated and alone, we can see Joseph as a model of the hidden life. We know, too, that Joseph died before Jesus’ public ministry ; Mary’s husband was undoubtedly familiar with suffering. So, we can see him as our patron, too, praying for us as he understands our struggles with illness.

Like many saints whose lineage can be traced back to the earliest days of the church, very little is known of St. Joseph, besides what we learn from the few lines written about him in the Gospels. He was of King David’s line and engaged to a young woman from Nazareth. Mary was found, quite unexpectedly, to be pregnant. But Joseph, “being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace,” as the Gospel of Matthew tells it, planned to dissolve his betrothal quietly. Even before Jesus was born, then, Joseph’s tender compassion and forgiving heart were on full display.


But God had other plans. As with another troubled Joseph—a patriarch in the book of Genesis—God used a dream to reveal his redemptive plans for the carpenter from Nazareth. In the dream, an angel let Joseph in on Mary’s secret: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” That same angel, after the birth of Mary’s son, advised Joseph to take the child and his mother to Egypt to flee the murderous King Herod. And Joseph listened.


Like Saint Joseph, may we also listen to the will of God.


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