– Role MODEL FOR
When we think of Joseph, our thoughts are drawn to Nazareth, to
the hidden life of the Holy Family. We should feel at home there,
because their experience of the family life was not unlike ours
today, ordinary, obscure and routine.
“Through God’s mysterious design, it was in the family
that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore
the prototype and example for all Christian families,” we
read in Familiaris Consortio (n. 82).
In the company of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, parents and their children
can also grow in wisdom, in favour with God (Lk. 2:52) and in love.
Human love, on which the family is founded and maintained, flourishes
like that of Joseph and Mary when it is animated by the grace of
God from above. The media images of marriage and family life today
give the impression that the family based on marriage is the tomb
of love. Through Joseph and Mary, however, God who is the source
of love lined among us and continues to live among us we keep Him
in our midst (Mt. 18:20). And so Nazareth is like a compass in these
confusing times, gently showing what the family is meant to be in
God’s plan: the cradle of life and the sanctuary of love.
Joseph’s example of giving himself heart and soul through
his life and work to God, and through God to Mary and Jesus, defines
what being a loving husband and father involves. At the heart of
the household of Nazareth was Mary, the beloved wife of Joseph and
Mother of Jesus. Observing that God had joined them together in
a real marriage, Pope Leo XIII wrote in Quamquam pluries, the only
encyclical latter we have on St. Joseph: “When God gave Joseph
as husband to the virgin, he gave him a companion in life, a witness
to her maidenhood, a guardian of her honour.”
Going back to Nazareth with Joseph, teaches us what family life
is, a sacred institution of the Creator and a foundation for Church
and society. “Let us learn from Nazareth that the formation
received at home is gentle and irreplaceable,” observed Pope
Paul VI on his memorable visit there.
To Joseph was entrusted the task of fostering the human growth of
Jesus, “in wisdom, age and grace.” “We must recognise,”
writes Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris
Custos (1989), “that Joseph showed Jesus by a special gift
from heaven, all the natural love, all the affectionate solicitude
that a father’s heart can know” (No. 8).
At the heart of Joseph’s “fatherhood” was the
total gift of himself to Mary and her Son, using his time and talents
at the service of the Messiah growing up by his side in his home.
In return, Jesus “was obedient to them” (Lk. 2:51),
respectfully returning the affection of his “parents.”
Intimately united on earth, Joseph still knows the way to the heart
of Jesus, to the Holy Spirit and to the Father. “Jesus is
so full of charity that He can never refuse Joseph’s prayer,”
St. Bernard tells us. "How can He refuse anything to one who
loved Him so tenderly and watched over Him so faithfully during
His sacred infancy?”
There is a lovely Flemish poem concerning St. Joseph, which humourously
illustrated the intercessory power of St. Joseph on our behalf.
Certain complaints were being lodged in heaven that souls whom it
was alleged had no business being there, had been allowed in. St.
Peter kept a check-list and he maintained that all was in order.
But then St. Joseph was accused: he had a ladder over the back wall
and he was getting his clients into heaven that way. St. Peter put
the accusation to him, saying he would have to stop it or else.
“Very well,” St. Joseph said in his serene way, “I’ll
go. But I’m taking my wife and Child with me!” And that
was the end of that!
Two other “lessons” we learn from the spirituality of
Joseph at Nazareth are silence and work.
First, the lesson of silence. Not one word of Joseph is recorded.
Sacred scripture speaks only of what Joseph “did”: “by
their fruits you shall know them.” Humble, silent fidelity
to Jesus Chris and his Blessed Mother is the mark of Joseph. The
hiddenness of Joseph encourages us to seek holiness of life through
the ordinary events of daily life. “St. Joseph is the model
of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies,”
observed Pope Paul VI in 1969. “He is the proof that in order
to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of
great things – it is enough to have the common, simple and
human virtues, but they must be true and authentic.” For this
reason, the Church encourages husbands and fathers to imitate Joseph’s
domestic virtues: industriousness, listening, patience and sacrifice,
detachment from material possessions, purity of heart and faithfulness
At Nazareth, in this school of the Gospel, Joseph helps us to understand
the life of Jesus and the need to develop and deepen our spiritual
life. Raising the mind and heart to God through prayer and work
requires moments of stillness the hustle and bustle of family life.
Noise and distraction are the hallmarks of the marketplace and TV
culture; silence and the tranquillity of order are the marks of
the presence of God. Peace and quiet in ourselves and our surroundings
are necessary if we are to recreate the atmosphere of Nazareth in
our homes. Obviously, laughter and the carefree playfulness of children
in the home are a great blessing. But in order to leave ‘room
at the inn’ for God in our homes, we need to understand the
words of the Psalmist: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’
A quiet, disciplined lifestyle helps us to see the need for simplicity,
for the humility of spirit, for detachment from material things.
In this way we learn to treasure what is of true value in God’s
Then there is the lesson of work. Following in the footsteps of
Joseph helps us to appreciate the personal meaning of work. Nazareth
home of the ‘Carpenter’s Son,’ restores our awareness
of the nobility of work, Pope Paul said. “Work cannot be an
end in itself,” he declared, “its freedom and its excellence
derive, over and above its economic worth, from the value of those
for whose sake it is undertaken.” When work is undertaken
as an expression of love for our family, it fosters personal development
and maturity; it promotes health of body and mind and deepens our
capacity to love, by drawing the family closer together. It is as
if Joseph is appealing to us through St. Paul: “I appeal to
you … to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Let us sum up all this by recalling the blessing of Pope John Paul
II in his Letter to Families: “May the Holy Family, icon and
model of every human family, help each individual to walk in the
spirit of Nazareth. May it help each family unit to grow in understanding
of its particular mission in society and the Church by hearing the
word of God, by prayer and by fraternal sharing of life. May Mary,
Mother of ‘Fairest Love,’ and Joseph, Guardian of he
Redeemer, accompany us all with the constant protection. I bless
every family in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and
OF THE SAINTS
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER
This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint.
St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly God.
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES
Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus' twelve apostles.
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS
Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840.
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA
St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL
Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town in France.
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI
Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months.
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE
St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day.
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI
Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law.
St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power.
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI
St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701.
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them.
ST. ANDREW FOURNET
St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were religious people.
St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples.
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER
Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, Spain.
St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education.
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON
St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school.
ST. JOHN I
St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian.
ST. CELESTINE V
Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small.
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA
St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor.
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD
Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered to them.
ST. RITA OF CASCIA
St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI
St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them.
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND
St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom.
Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673.
ST. PHILIP NERI
St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him.
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY
St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission dear to his heart.
BLESSED MARGARET POLE
Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole.
St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul.
ST. JOAN OF ARC
St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer.
THE VISITATION OF MARY
Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?