It's been a few years since I read Father Donald Calloway's (MIC) book, Consecration to St. Joseph. With the Solemnity of St. Joseph on the horizon, I flipped through the chapters again. What caught my attention was the chapter entitled Savior of the Savior and this moniker struck me more so than the first time I read it.
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade wrote,“To give life to someone is the greatest of all gifts. To save a life is the next. Who gave life to Jesus? It was Mary. Who saved his life? It was Joseph."
Naturally the saving act that comes to mind is the patriarch fleeing with his family to Egypt.
Regarding the flight into Egypt, Pope Pius XI said of St. Joseph, “He accepted the entrustment of the Divine Child when Herod loosed his assassins against him.”
Another saving act that comes to mind is St. Joseph's yes to Mary and Jesus. Just as Mary said yes to the birth of the Savior, it is said that St. Joseph had his own annunciation in response to the Archangel Gabriel who encouraged Joseph in his dream to “not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home" (Matt 1:20). The Archangel addresses both Mary and Joseph with the words “do not be afraid.” Both the giving and saving of Jesus' human life were the highest entrustments, one that would instill fear in the most gallant of hearts, but one that Mary and Joseph each graciously accepted.
Obediently, Joseph fled his homeland for Egypt, the place of his ancestral enslavement, and a land both foreign and hostile to the Israelites. According to the mystical revelation of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the hardships of the Holy Family in Egypt were especially felt by St. Joseph because he had the primary responsibility of taking care of the family. Oftentimes, unable to acquire sufficient work, food, clean water, or proper housing, the man of the house suffered greatly because he was unable to provide everything needed by his family.
This suffering surely grieved the protector of the Word incarnate. In Deacon Joe Michalak's homily (at St. Joseph church in Miesville, Minnesota), he describes a father's greatest pain as the inability to fix the pain and suffering of the people he loves. Not being able to do anything, Joseph was there, silently taking up his entrustment to protect and guard.
Setting aside his fears, St. Joseph stepped into salvific history, and into the model of fatherhood. Through his obedient action, the protector of the word incarnate gained merits known only to God.
How can we honor St. Joseph on his feast day, especially during Lent? We can in a small way honor the unsung hero's work of protecting our Savior in the same way that Joseph cherished Jesus. We too can adore the Savior by making our hearts a comfortable indwelling for Him by avoiding sin and embracing holiness. Perhaps we can invite the Lord into our home, into our family routine, meals, and leisure time. We can also offer up all our work for St. Joseph, who is after all, the patron of workers. Perhaps we can pray the Sorrows of St. Joseph or the Litany to St. Joseph in his honor.
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade’s quote continues: “Ask St. Paul who persecuted Him. Ask Saint Peter who denied Him. Ask the saints who put Him to death. But if we ask, ‘Who saved His life?’ Be silent, patriarchs, be silent prophets, be silent apostles, confessors and martyrs. Let St. Joseph speak, for this honor is his alone; he alone is the savior of his Savior.”
The Term 'Savior of the Savior' is used with permission of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.