By: FR. ED BROOM, OMV
Saint Joseph can help us to live a most fruitful Advent, and for many reasons. Let us quietly meditate upon five extraordinary virtues of this greatest of all saints so that we can live a most fervent Advent season and allow Jesus to be born in the depths of our hearts this Christmas!
1. Silence. Not once in the Bible do we hear a word from the great Saint Joseph. This silence of Saint Joseph is very eloquent. It teaches us a fundamental attitude to enter into deep prayer: silence. If we are constantly bombarded by noises then it is impossible to hear the Word of God, the Holy Spirit that speaks to us in the gentle breeze of silence. Also the silence of Saint Joseph teaches us the importance of example. We must prove our authenticity by words, but also by our actions. Saint Joseph taught the world by the holy way that he lived. May he be an example for us.
2. Prayer. Saint Joseph was a man of prayer. What an extraordinary role he played in the history of salvation. He was both the spouse of Mary the Mother of God as well as the foster-father of Jesus the Son of the living God. Saint Joseph actually taught Jesus to speak and to address God as “Abba”—meaning “Daddy”. In a certain sense Saint Joseph taught Jesus to use the human words to talk to the Heavenly Father—this is prayer. Therefore, if Saint Joseph taught Jesus how to pray, how much could he teach me how to pray if I simply ask for his help. Start now: Saint Joseph, teach me how to pray!
3. Courage and Maliness. In a society where too many men shirk their obligations toward their wives, children and family and turn to vices and the easy life when confronted with difficulties, Saint Joseph shines as a model of courage and fortitude. He travelled the many miles in the cold and wind, only to meet rejection. He found refuge in an animal shelter for the birth of Jesus. He arose early to flee into Egypt saving the Child Jesus from the vicious and murderous threats of King Herod. Faced with so many difficulties, Saint Joseph stood tall and confronted the obstacles with manly courage. May the men of the present generation lift up their gaze to the gentle but courageous man of God—good Saint Joseph.
4. Provide and Protect. Saint Joseph both protected and provided for the Holy Family. He was a hard worker—exercising the trade of a Carpenter. He earned the bread that he made with the sweat of his brow. He thought not of himself but of how he could best provide for and protect the family that God had entrusted to his care. As we draw close to Christmas let us beg good Saint Joseph to provide and protect our spiritual lives. Materialism, consumerism, hedonism are the gods of the present culture. These actually suffocate spirituality. Saint Joseph’s prayers can help us to look beyond the buying, having, and possessing. He can help us to realize that true joy and happiness does not come from having things, but in possessing God. To hold the Child Jesus in our arms and in our hearts is worth more than all of the money and possessions of the entire world. Good Saint Joseph can teach us this simple but profound lesson!
5. St. Joseph, Our Lady, and Jesus. To arrive at a true and authentic devotion to Mary, good Saint Joseph can serve as a powerful bridge. Aside from Jesus Himself, nobody on earth knew, understood, cherished and loved the Blessed Virgin Mary more than good Saint Joseph. Turn to Good Saint Joseph and beg him for the grace of greater knowledge and love for Mary, his beloved spouse. Your devotion to Mary will make a huge jump! Then turn to Saint Joseph and beg him for the grace of intimate knowledge of Jesus that you will love Jesus more ardently and follow Jesus more closely. Aside from Mary nobody knew Jesus better on earth than good Saint Joseph. The Holy Family is complete only when the three members are recognized, honored and loved. May the prayers of good Saint Joseph open your hearts to the immense treasures that God has in store for you this Advent Season. Then may Jesus be born in the depths of your heart this Christmas day!