St. Joseph: Faithful Protector of Mother and Child
The infant Christ “came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph” (PC 5). The humble and often hidden carpenter of Nazareth accompanied Mary in her pregnancy, assisted at the birth of the Messiah in a stable, presented Jesus in the Temple, fled with his family far from their homeland to protect them, and lovingly raised Jesus as his own son in the years to come.
While the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary to announce that she would bring forth the Savior of the world, it was revealed to Joseph in a series of dreams how God’s plans would be brought to fulfillment. As Pope Francis highlights, “God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child” (PC 5).
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Like every other human family, the Holy Family had to confront real and concrete challenges. Yet, “in every situation, Joseph declared his own ‘fiat’” (PC 3). His “yes” to the Lord meant that regardless of the hardship and personal sacrifice to himself, he consistently chose to put the needs of Mary and Jesus before his own. Joseph’s devotion helps reveal to us our own call to show special care for the lives of those whom God has entrusted to us.
During this Year of St. Joseph, each of us can find in him “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble” (PC, Intro). Joseph shows us how to say “yes” to life, despite our own fears, frailties, and weaknesses. For it is Joseph who was “chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true ‘miracle’ by which God saves the child and his mother” (PC 5).
May we, too, be miracles in the lives of those who are most in need, especially at the beginning and end of life. Dear St. Joseph, you who were “able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence” (PC 5), help us to imitate your faithful trust and courage.
Excerpts from Patris corde, © 2020, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2021, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.