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Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph


Silent, Believing, Prayerful

At every manifestation of a desire from heaven, Joseph surrendered himself, ready to answer every call, every undertaking, every sacrifice. The whole ordering of his life He had placed in the hands of God. He listened always; always he obeyed.

He did not know where God would lead him. It was enough that God knew. Never once was he wanting in submission. He did not argue. He did not look back. He did not object. He did not ask for explanations. To be treated with no consideration, to be given no hint beforehand, did not cause him to acquiesce less promptly. Nothing even to the very end held him back.

His only pride lay in fulfilling God's designs quietly, peacefully, so silently that the Evangelists can give us no word of his. In all the strange situations in which God placed him, he remained calm and silent. He knew the duty of a servant was not to speak but to listen to his Master's voice, and that silence is the necessary condition for leading a life of union with God, of close contact with Him.

This quiet self-effacement was but an expression of Joseph's homage rendered to divine magnificence. He remained breathless in wonder at the sign of what God had done to him. He felt himself so overwhelmed by glory that only silence could express the depth of his gratitude, his immersion in the presence of this mystery taking place around him. He needed more and more, deeper and deeper silence and recollection in order to meditate on the graces, the mysteries hidden in his heart.

As if in praise of the incomparable holiness, the splendor of Joseph's hidden life, these words of Jesus Christ ring out: "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to the little ones."

Obedient, Serving, Self-effacing

Joseph is the man on the outskirts, standing in the shadows, silently waiting, there when wanted and always ready to help. He is the man in whose life God is constantly intervening with warnings and visions. Without a complaint he allows his own plans to be set aside. His life is a succession of prophecies and dream-messages of packing up and moving on. He is the man who dreams of setting up a quiet household, simply leading a home life and going about his affairs, attending to his business and worshipping God and who, instead, is condemned to a life of wandering.

Beset with doubts, heavy-hearted and uneasy in his mind, his whole life disrupted. He has to take to the open road, to make his way through an unfriendly country finding no shelter but a miserable stable for those he holds most dear. He is the man who sets aside all thought of self and shoulders his responsibilities bravely — and obeys.

His message is willing obedience. He is the man who serves. It never enters his head to question God's commands. He makes all the necessary preparations and is ready when God's call comes. Willing, unquestioning service is the secret of his life. This is his message for us.

(The sources of these two reflections about Saint Joseph are unknown.)

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