From the Archives: A Lesson from Saint Joseph


From the Archives for FI
This article about St. Joseph asks an interesting question. Maybe Joseph wanted to quietly divorce Mary because he did not feel worthy to be the foster father of the Son of God. Being providers and fathers in our society is no easy task. We need to pray for our husbands and ask St. Joseph to give them strength. –Sterling Jaquith

My husband Paul is a hard worker. Providing for such a large family during tough economic times is not easy. I admire Paul’s trust in God and his determination to do His will.

Knowing the situation Paul is in has led me to reflect on St. Joseph. St. Jerome gave me new insight into St. Joseph. Mary must have told Joseph about the angel’s visitation and message. Why would she not have? The angel’s message affected Joseph, too. Surely, Mary shared the good news with her betrothal. Being an upright and just man and recognizing Mary’s holiness, would Joseph not have believed her? Maybe his desire to divorce her quietly came not, as I commonly thought, from suspicion of her behavior, but from a feeling that he was not worthy of such a lofty vocation. How can a man, a lowly carpenter, be foster father to the Son of God? His humility may have gotten the better of him. The angel in his dream, however, assured him this was indeed God’s will. He was to be the head of the Holy Family. So he took the pregnant Virgin, the Mother of his Savior, as his wife.

Still, fulfilling God’s will as provider of the household was not easy. He had to travel with his 9-month-pregnant wife to Bethlehem where he was unable to secure appropriate housing; he had to flee with his young family into Egypt where they would know no one; he was told to return after the king was dead to raise the Child in Nazareth. Each time, Joseph would have set up shop, gotten settled, built up a clientele, then be asked to move again. Yet he never hesitated, never complained. He also never prospered, but he always provided. His wealth was not seen with human eyes; however, through God’s eyes, Joseph was rich indeed. All that God had given him, he shared with his family – his material blessings, his skill (he taught Jesus his trade), his great love, his virtuous life style. He placed his faith, not in himself or other men, but in God. Even though in Scriptures, Joseph’s part may seem small, in the everyday living of the first thirty years of Jesus’ life, Joseph’s role was huge. Without Joseph, the Holy Family would not have been complete.

Paul’s role and responsibility in our family is, likewise, huge. When it seems overwhelming, I watch him turn his eyes towards Heaven, as, I am sure, St. Joseph did many times. I am also sure that from Heaven, Jesus, Mary and Joseph smile upon Paul and our family. We may not be holy, but we are striving. In our efforts, we please God.

Copyright 2013 Kelly Guest


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About Author

God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at

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