He is a quiet saint, Saint Joseph. He was also apparently a quiet man in his life on Earth. He is a steadfast protector, seemingly in the background, but neither indifferent nor insignificant in the Gospel narratives that speak of his life and role in Holy Family with Jesus and Mary. Sacred Scripture records no spoken words of Saint Joseph. Such quietness cannot be assumed to be weakness. He is a man of quiet strength. Saint Joseph is still and knows that God is God. He is a living testament of calm to our noisy, restless times. He is the greatest human father imaginable and our Fatherless times that have lost hold on the reality of virtuous masculinity and what it means to be a Man for God need to learn from him.
His power to help us in the order of grace is stunning: The Church invokes Saint Joseph as terror of demons, patron of the Universal Church, the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Foster Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, among other beautiful but lesser titles. His feast day is a Solemnity, a High Holy Day of the Church celebrated on March 19th (May 1st is also dedicated to him under the title of “Saint Joseph The Worker”).
Saint Thomas Aquinas states of Saint Joseph that “Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”
Saint Joseph is not “just another” saint, though we must recognize that all the saints are special. Nevertheless, they are not all equal. Let us consider Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary, being our great queen and mother, rises even above the angels in the order of grace, for by grace she is God’s most powerful creature. Mary is also the greatest human person ever to have walked the Earth. This should not sound scandalous, for remember, Jesus, her son and Lord is not a Human Person, but a Divine Person. He is truly human, for he has a human nature, and truly Divine, for he is a Divine Person with a Divine Nature, but he is not a Human Person. This is basic Christology. Mary is the most Blessed among women we know and in God’s grand plans, he chooses her to bring our Lord to us. By her “yes” to God salvation comes to us. Mary’s role in salvation, in human history, in our lives, is greater thus than any other human person that has ever walked the face of the Earth. She is the Mother of God, meaning not that she pre-existed God, an impossibility, but because the Word made flesh that she gave birth to and gave to us truly is her son and she truly his Mother. Jesus is not two persons, but one. She is not only the Mother of Jesus the Man. You can’t separate Jesus into parts. Jesus is a unity of God and Man, inseparable. Mary is the Mother of He who is God become Man. Mary is the Mother of God. And this makes her great in God’s eyes, the Creator choosing his own Mother from all eternity, this precious, humble soul to be his own Mother.
In a somewhat lesser, but still magnificent way, the Word of God, who is one with the Heavenly Father and in union with the Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity, chooses from all eternity one particular man to be his adoptive Father on Earth, a man who would be the Head of the Holy Family, his guardian and tender keeper amidst the vulnerability of human life that he was descending to take upon himself in the Incarnation. Who was that man? Saint Joseph.
Besides the Blessed Virgin Mary, who tabernacled Jesus in her womb for 9 months, no one was, or ever will be so close to Jesus. Mary with Joseph raised Jesus to manhood, their souls immersed in the mysteries of the life of Christ in intimate ways that we can hardly conceive of, dwelling with his divine radiance as Jesus increased in stature and favor with God and Man.
Joseph is Heaven’s second most powerful saint, powerful as a loving instrument of God’s grace, powerful as our strongest male intercessor before the Lord of Hosts in the Heavenly realms. The man who served as Father figure in the Holy Family by the Divine decrees of God Almighty rightly holds such an indisputable rank. As the times we live in divorce themselves more and more from reality, as darkness descends on Western Civilization and our World, all the brighter do the great Saints shine for their love of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, and so as night comes to our culture, hope is not lost. The Saints like stars burn for Christ in the Heavens and brighten our times with reminders that all is not lost, that guiding lights to live for the Lord remain whatever trials may come. If Mary, Heaven’s greatest Saint, is rightly compared to the moon, for she reflects the light of the Son, giving us relief and hope in the dark nights of faith, then Saint Joseph is the North Star, steady, resilient, reminding us that God changes not, and with his humble, tender strength, points us onward to our merciful, patient , loving Father in Heaven who he is a reflection of.
It has been said prophetically that the later times would witness the discovery of the greatness of Saint Joseph and his role in our lives. When are those later times? Perhaps now, in this time, in our own day. With confusion about and a war being waged on marriage and the family in these sad times, with chaos surrounding the reality that God created us male and female in a culture in which fathers forget and devalue their roles as fathers, and in which many are now fatherless, we should rightly seek in Saint Joseph, a fellow member of the Body of Christ who lives in Christ and Christ in him, so very close to God’s throne, interceding for us, wanting us to ask his help in all our needs. Similar to Saint Thomas Aquinas’ own words, St. Teresa of Avila says, “To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succor us in some special necessity-but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth- for St. Joseph, bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him- so now in Heaven Our Lord grants all his petitions…” She also said that “If the petition was in any way amiss, he rectified it for my greater good…” Reflecting God the Father himself, St. Joseph wants what is best for us.
Saint Joseph is a wonderful Father, close to God’s throne, he was the only Human Father Jesus ever knew. He was not the biological Father of Jesus, but his relationship with him surpasses any earthly Father Son relationship imaginable. One can hardly overestimate how close Saint Joseph remains to our good King Jesus in Heaven. Run to Saint Joseph. Go to Saint Joseph. Pray that he intercede for the restoration of the dignity of Marriage and the Family, for the rediscovery of authentic Fatherhood and Motherhood, and entrust yourself to Joseph and Mary, that they bring you to Jesus. Christ Jesus is indeed the one mediator between God and Man. As we, including Saint Joseph, and the Blessed Mother, are members of the Body of Christ, and as we are called to be Co-workers with God, we participate in that one mediatorship and so we ask Saint Joseph’s intercession, and he so too prays for us. That we are on Earth, and Saint Joseph in Heaven does not separate us from him, or the Virgin Mary, or any of the Saint, for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ as St. Paul tells us.
As one prayer to Saint Joseph states “All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph.” Saint Joseph is Heaven’s Second Greatest Saint. And it is time that we discover the gift that Jesus has given us in his life on Earth and now in Heaven.
Saint Joseph, Pray For Us That We May Be Made Worthy Of The Promises Of Christ!!!