There are a lot of wonderful things to say about St. Joseph on this special feast day, where we celebrate his fatherhood, but I want to focus on his actual acceptance of God — and thus his acceptance of fatherhood — for today!
In many ways, St. Joseph was given a seemingly impossible task. He, a mere man, was tasked with being the adopted father of God Himself, from taking care of Mary as her husband to taking care of Jesus. At one point, he even tried to divorce Mary quietly… probably because he was simply overwhelmed with the enormity of the burden he was given!
And yet, through it all, he was faithful to God.
God gave him four dreams in which angels spoke to him and directed him the path he needed to take next.
- As St. Joseph was considering divorcing Mary, an angel came to tell him to not be afraid and to take Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:20-21)
- While in Bethlehem, St. Joseph is warned to flee to Egypt because of Herod’s wrath. (Matthew 2:13)
- St. Joseph is told that it is safe to go back to Israel. (Matthew 2:19-20)
- St. Joseph is confirmed that he should go to Galilee rather than Judea. (Matthew 2:22)
Each time this happened, St. Joseph obediently did whatever he was asked to do, without a question or word… indeed, in the bible, this amazing man doesn’t even have a speaking part! Nevertheless, he has a pivotal role. He remains faithful to God and does right to his family — even when the right thing to do is incredibly hard.
Here is a picture of St. Joseph, dreaming.
It is not clear which dream this art tries to convey. And yet, it doesn’t really matter. The main thing is when God speaks, he listens. Though silent, he listens to God. And, because of that, we honor his fatherhood as a fatherhood so great that even Jesus — who is God Himself — would lower Himself to submit to this fatherhood.
And so, let us look up to St. Joseph as a father! And let us always seek the guidance of God and — even if God directs us to do scary things — let us faithfully follow God, no matter what, just as faithfully as St. Joseph did.
St. Joseph, ora pro nobis!