While not much is said of Joseph in the bible, there is still much we can learn from this incredible saint.
First of all, if God saw Joseph as being a suitable father for His Son, we too can look to Joseph as a fatherly figure for us. Before the incarnation, God knew that the Jews would kill Mary for conceiving a child outside of marriage. Therefore, God chose a man who would be able to look past the fact that his betrothed is pregnant and recognize the divine plan that was being revealed. Joseph was so full of virtue that even before he knew how Mary became pregnant he protected her. Joseph chose to divorce her in secret as to save her from being stoned by the other Jews and to protect her dignity.
His true character and devotion to Yahweh was shown when he received the vision from the angel. Joseph accepted his mission without hesitation and immediately married Mary. Not only was he responsible for Mary's well being, but also the Son of God as his foster father. Just imagine Joseph teaching Jesus the scriptures and carpentry as He grew up.
Since St. Joseph is not mentioned during Jesus' public ministry it is presumed that he died before then. That means that as Joseph died he had both Mary and Jesus at his side. This is why Joseph became the patron saint of the dying, because what better way to go than in the arms of Christ and His mother.
St. Joseph was first entrusted to the mother of Jesus, and now he has been entrusted to His bride the Church. Just as he protected and loved Mary, so too does Joseph guide the Church and protect her from all evil. In doing so, St. Joseph has earned the title of “Terror of Demons.”
Fathers; use St. Joseph as your role model of virtue because he is your patron too. Just as Jesus is our role model on how to be a good husband (dying for our brides), Joseph shows us how to be a father by giving absolutely everything he had to his adopted Son. Teach your kids virtue and morality. Be their spiritual guide and help them learn the sacred scriptures. But most of all, be an example of faith and love of God for them. When they look up to you, make sure your eyes are looking up as well. That way, they can come to know their eternal Father. More ways to be a father like St. Joseph.
Origin of the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker was started in 1955 by Pope Pius XII. The feast day purposefully coincides with the Communist celebration of May Day to show the true example of the value of work and dignity of workers.
Read what Saint John Paul II had to say about Saint Joseph and the dignity and rights of workers in Redemptoris Custos.
Quotes about Saint Joseph
“Joseph’s wise dealing with Mary is a model for us when we face complex moral and personal issues. He subordinated his feelings to do what God required. He was open to whatever God wanted, and when he sensed the Divine Will, he obeyed.”
– Voices of the Saints, by Bert Ghezzi
What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith. Joseph of Nazareth is a “just man” because he totally “lives by faith.” He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth.
And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. . . He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.
– Pope John Paul II
In 1870 Pope Pius IX solemnly declared Saint Joseph to be the “Patron of the Universal Church” and established his feast day on the day we now celebrate it. His successor, Pope Leo, later explained the foundations of this declaration. The Church's devotion to St Joseph, Pope Leo observed, arises from the saint's “two-fold dignity”. He was both the true and chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster-father of the Word Incarnate. For these two reasons, says Pope Leo, St Joseph “shines among all mankind” and approaches nearer than any other saint to the holiness of the Mother of God.
– adapted from the book –
A Light in the Heavens: Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII
“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.” When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.”
– from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1655
Prayer to St. Joseph
Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms.
I dare not approach while He reposes near your Heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.
He lives with his lovely wife and eleven kids in northern Colorado.