The Flight Into Egypt by Bartolome Esteban Murillo
St. Joseph, the Just Man. We have no recorded words of his in the Gospels. We know very little of his life from the Gospels. Yet, what a wealth of graces are to be had by meditating on his role in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Joyful Mysteries, of course, are the main source of inspiration for meditating on St. Joseph and what a shame it is if we forget him and the integral place he holds in the Heart of Our Lady and of Our Lord, as well as in the Mind of God who chose St. Joseph to be the Foster-Father of the Saviour of mankind.
Following are some of the thoughts that come to mind as I meditate on my dear St. Joseph and his essential, but hidden, role in our salvation.
When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Our Lady, the world lay in darkness. The civil authorities and the high priests were all illegitimate. Satan seemed to have triumphed and paganism was the norm. And yet, when Gabriel spoke those words Ave, Maria the grip of Satan on the world was shaken, when Our Lady gave her consent Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, everything changed. But, how was it possible that the Messias should be born into a world of evil? How could He be left with a poor maiden to face the world? St. Joseph is the answer. Our Lady was betrothed to St. Joseph and the Holy Family would be an island of sanctity and peace in the ocean of sin that was the world. St. Joseph was the bedrock, the foundation of strength that would hold up Jesus and Mary in their earthly life. Knowing that this was the case, and that St. Joseph was that wise steward whom the Lord set over His family; that God chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of the Virgin Mary, all was in order. Order which opposed the chaos of the world. St. Joseph was the means God chose to provide that order and without him, we would still be awaiting the Messias.
Pray to St. Joseph in this mystery, that he keep order and peace in your home and family. That he help you to do your daily duty so that God's order is preserved in the Church and in society.
Before the Archangel Gabriel departed Our Lady, he told her that St. Elizabeth was to bear a son and that she was in her sixth month. Our Lady, knew that the Lord wanted her to go to her cousin, and, more importantly, to bring Jesus to John the Baptist. Did she make such a journey alone? Of course not! St. Joseph accompanied her. He made all of the preparations for the trip and made sure that she was safe. He provided her food and the animal that she rode during the journey and made sure that she knew to inform him when she was ready to return to Nazareth so that he could bring her home as well.
Pray to St. Joseph in this mystery that you be the perfect instrument in God's hands so that His Holy Will be accomplished - even if you are not the center of it. God has plans for the good of all and He needs many people to humbly play their part so that the primary actors can fulfill their part of His plan. Ask St. Joseph to help you to imitate his humility in seeking only that God's Will be done, regardless of whether anybody knows you played a part.
The Nativity of Our Lord
Our Lord had to be born in Bethlehem. So to Bethlehem He must go. And St. Joseph managed the entire long, cold journey. He made the arrangements for the stable when nobody would allow the Holy Family to stay with them. Did St. Joseph leave The Blessed Virgin to give birth to the Saviour without doing all he could to see to their comfort? No! He cleaned it as much as possible. He covered openings and cracks to keep out the cold. He built a fire in such a way that the heat could enter the stable while the smoke did not. He brought in animals so the warmth of their bodies and their breath would keep the new born Saviour and Our Lady warm. In short, he turned a filthy stable into the abode of the Son of God and His Holy Mother.
Pray to St. Joseph, that he turn the filthy stable of your heart into a fitting abode for the Son of God to enter in Holy Communion. Ask St. Joseph to clean out the muck that has accumulated in your soul so that Jesus and Mary may find a worth abode in which to dwell. Ask him to build a fire of Love of God in your soul so that the Christ Child find a place of warmth and joy and not coldness and indifference.
Our Lady and St. Joseph Present Jesus in the Temple
From the time of Jesus' birth in the stable to the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, forty days have passed. This time was required before a new mother could go out in public. Thus, there are two ways of looking at this mystery - The Presentation of Jesus, and the Purification of Our Lady. The Holy Family probably had moved to better quarters during this time. Jesus had been circumcised 32 days earlier and now St. Joseph took Our Lady and the Baby Jesus to the temple to present the offering of two turtle doves. As Our Lord was carried in, St. Joseph watched as St. Simeon prophesied about the sword of sorrow piercing the Heart of Our Lady. How this must have torn the Just heart of St. Joseph to hear. How tenderly he loved his Holy Spouse! To hear that her Heart would be rent, must have rent his own heart. And at the same time, what joy to hear that the redemption of mankind was at hand. St. Joseph had a heart that beat only to serve God and Our Lady and his compassion was such that he felt keenly every joy and sorrow that came to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart.
Pray to St. Joseph to obtain for you a heart filled with compassion for the sufferings of others. Especially, that you feel keenly the sufferings of Our Lord and Our Lady as they see God offended by mankind. Ask St. Joseph to offer take your heart to Our Lady so that she may purify it and present it to Christ, that after passing through St. Joseph and Our Lady, it will be worthy to be given to Christ.
Our Lady and St. Joseph Find Jesus in the Temple
How much has happened in the twelve years between the Presentation and the Finding in the temple! The life of Jesus was in danger from Herod who wanted to see Him dead rather than give up his throne, as he thought would happen. St. Joseph lead Jesus and Mary into a pagan land, Egypt, and provided for them for many years. Then, he lead them back to Nazareth and safety. They go to Jerusalem in obedience to the Law of Moses and find that Jesus is not with them as they return. St. Joseph feels responsible! How could he have allowed this to happen - he asks himself. His heart was composed of nothing else but the love of Jesus and Mary - now Jesus was missing and Mary was in anguish not knowing where Her Son was. Oh, the pain that must have seized the heart of St. Joseph to see this! He leads the Blessed Virgin back to Jerusalem looking everywhere until finally, they find Him in the Temple. Our Lady gently asks Her Son why He had allowed this to happen, mentioning also that her beloved spouse, St. Joseph was in anguish as well.
Oh the lengths to which St. Joseph went as the Head of the Holy Family! All in silence. Never a groan; never a complaint. All for Jesus. All for Mary.
Ask St. Joseph, the Head of the Holy Family, the Protector and Provider of the Holy Family, to the the Head of Your Family. Ask him to be your Protector and Provider. Ask him to make your family a holy family. He will do it! Never let a day pass without giving yourself into his holy hands and delivering to him all of your needs and fears. They will all be met. You will be safe. Yours will become a holy family.
Dear St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, please be the Head of our family, be our Protector and Provider and make our family a holy family. Amen.