It’s very telling that this silent man, this man about whom little is known has countless cathedrals, shrines, schools, cities, streets, millions of people, churches, chapels named in his honor. There is more! He is the Patron saint of the universal Church, patron of a happy death, Patron saint of Workers, and he is known as the “Guardian of the Redeemer. In the documents of the Church, only the Blessed Mother is mentioned more frequently than Joseph. Almost all the major saints had a devotion to him.
Here’s the first lesson— though very few may know your name, though you may never go viral, though you may not be very educated, tough your life may be lived in the shadow, though you may feel unimportant, although almost all of you will never be known for the hard work you do, if you allow God to take the driver’s seat in the car of your life, your reward will be warranted. Your name will be written in the book of life; your legacy will be extensive and expansive. You can still be impactful and influential.
So, whatever vocation the Lord had entrusted to you, do your job! Live your vocation to its fullest magnitude! Be faithful in season and out of season! Don’t live it halfway. Do it better than Michelangelo can paint the Sistine chapel. Do it better than Andrea Bocelli sings the prayer. Do it better than Shakespeare can write a poem. If you do it that way, although no one may take notice of you, your name will never be forgotten. Generation after generation will honor you! God will honor you!
Point 2– Fathers are not born; they are made. You become a father through trial and, often, much error. Studies are not lacking over the past several decades on the role of fathers and the negative impact of absentee fathers on children. In fact, we are in the midst of a crisis of fatherhood. You know the numbers: 1 in 4 kids growing up in America today without a father in the home.
Per report of the dept of justice, that has disastrous impact on children
- 63% of youth that committed suicides are from absentee or fatherless homes
- 90% of all homeless and runaway youths are….
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders….
- 71%of all high school dropouts…..
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions…..
- 75% of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers…..
- 75% of rapists motivated by displaced anger….
- 75% less likely to practice the faith….
St. Joseph reminds us why there is no substitute for a good and loving father. Strive then to be a man of honor, not just integrity. Assume responsibility for your mistakes. Admit when you’re wrong… its ok to say youre sorry to your kids. Go back and try again. Know that you’re not your child’s best friends. Learn how to criticize them and give them feedback without hurting them. Learn how to affirm them. Build them up and give them confidence. Ask questions. Check how they are really doing often. That’s how you become a father….
But still St. Joseph beckons us to ask: how do we avoid that our children become a statistic? Thru ideas, incentives, practical applications, stimuli, rewards, examples, models, symbols, reflections, encouragement, dialogue and a constant rethinking of our way of doing things.
Lesson? Strive to give your children everything you can — education, a decent home, character, time, love and hugs and kisses, but know that God, faith and religion come first. If you do that, the crises of fatherhood will be greatly mitigated. We are all in some way responsible. Do your part!
Point 3. The gospel tells us that Joseph found out that Mary was with child and he did not know how since they had had no relations. Obviously, that must have been very distressful. Although by law, he is required to report him to the authorities, which would mean death, Joseph rather was looking for a way to dismiss her quietly in order not to cause any harm to her dignity. He did not call her names.…. he certainly did not beat her up or abuse her…. He remained a man of God even in the midst of this confusing imbroglio.
What do we see here?
Through his quiet service and gentle strength, St. Joseph proposes to us a convincing vision of authentic masculinity; it is vision quite different from the one proposed by our culture today. Where our culture often tells men they must be dominant, Joseph is meek and humble, ever listening and attentive to the needs of others. Where our culture paints a picture of the quintessential man as powerful and aggressive, Joseph shows us a man that uses his inner strength for the protection of the vulnerable. Where our culture wants to use women’s bodies as a sexual tool to take advantage of whenever possible, Joseph shows us the dignity of women transcends their bodies.
He teaches us most importantly how to break up with a woman; he teaches how to love them even when we fail to understand them. He teaches us that even when we know we are right, we do not to be pompous about it…. He teaches how we deal with a difficult situation reveals more about us than about the other person. He teaches to respect their feminine genius in them.
Lesson— Strive to live the virtue of magnanimity—greatness of soul—it’s the virtue that raises all the others to the highest virtue. The stretching forth of the person toward excellence. Joseph comes to realize that the Lord has gifted him with the greatest responsibility and decided to stretch forth that responsibility to the highest level. Husbands—you have been granted a unique responsibility of leading your wife and your children to heaven. The lesson from Joseph here is this—the best way to succeed in this is to prioritize our relationship with God.
Dear Father Brice, Every sentence here is rich with meaning. This is such an edifying portrait of our Beloved Saint Joseph. I shall read it over and over again and share its contents with many.