Dear Blessed Joseph,
What a wondrous gift you were (are) to Mary…
God knew how much Mary and Jesus needed you …
Your kindness, your faith, your strength and your courage.
How humble you are
How filled with love
How hidden and selfless was your role.
How much you must have loved Mary and how much Mary must have loved and depended on you
God knows we what we need.
The Father couldn’t have asked Mary to carry the Messiah if you had not been there.
You were Mary’s and the Messiah’s protection, their guidance, their constant source of love.
Just as God had been preparing – making preparations for –Mary from all eternity, so God must have been preparing and making preparations for you.
Because God is beyond all space and time and knows all things…
He knew who you would be before you came into being…
So, He knew that you, alone, had a heart capable of truly loving
the Immaculate Conception and Jesus worthily
as Mary’s true spouse and Jesus’ true earthly father…
The Father knew you to be one who could forsake his life,
in order to live a life that was no longer his own,
but one that was lived only for the Child and His Mother.
The Father needed someone who would live only for his family.
Living only to serve, love, nurture and protect them…
To shield the glorious secret of the Virgin birth from the world.
What a blessing you must have been to Mary!
She, who held the Creator of all things in her womb, whom the angel revealed to her that her Child would be the Savior, the Son of the Most High… who was so alone on this earth.
She needed a provider, a man who would love and understand her and her Child.
God tells us it is not good for us to be alone, so in His providence, He made the two of you for each other, knowing the depth of your souls before they existed.
How you must have loved each other in a most pure and perfect way
–with both of your eyes and heart fixed on the Father, Who is the source of all goodness and Who is LOVE Himself.
With both of your eyes and hearts fixed on the Son, Whom Mary carried and whom you provided for, Who came to redeem us and set us free.
With both of your eyes, hearts and minds filled with the Holy Spirit, the Source of all Wisdom and Understanding, the Advocate, Who filled you both with unfathomable Strength and Courage.
Though filled with the Spirit, you both had to walk in the darkness …
not understanding all…
not fathoming God’s complete plan.
For God comes slowly and with infinite tenderness like the dawn – shining His light ever so slowly – to the extent we can understand… little by little guiding us in faith and trust.
What faith and trust you must have had and how God must have expanded your mind and heart to grow each moment of the days spent both in blessed preparation for and in communion with the Savior.
Your Savior and your Child.
How God must have rejoiced in you and Mary, and your mutual love for one another…
How pleased He must have been that you sought her to be your bride.
So often in the past, people have assumed you must have been an old man, a widower, with other children… to have been entrusted with this beautiful virgin.
Yet, I have always seen and recognized you as a young and vibrant man –
Strong and faithful….
Fully righteous and humble…
A man of faith, a man filled with God’s wisdom and His love…
For you must have loved God with all your being – to all your capacity—which expanded increasingly through your life.
You must have loved Mary for who she was – a woman completely consumed with the love of her God.
You must have shared that same all consuming, heart-enflamed love of God and thus, sought only His will for your life and your love together…
As you loved Mary for her beauty and wisdom and grace and goodness… so she must have loved you for these same virtues.
God had formed each of you to be perfectly matched…
As you both desired only to love your God with all your heart, mind, power and strength.
Both only seeking to fulfill God’s will for your lives
How so perfectly in tune with each other you must have been!
How you must have spoken with Mary of her call to perpetual virginity and total consecration of herself with the Father before your betrothal.
If you hadn’t have spoken and agreed and have been in one heart and mind and soul regarding this… it wouldn’t have been a true betrothal.
It would have been untrue for Mary to not have shared her call with you, which we recognize in her question posed to the Angel Gabriel: “How can this be as I know not man?” She never considered this Child would be a fruit of your marital union, for you had both given of yourselves completely to God – offering up the sexual expression of marriage for a completely selfless and all consuming love of your God as He had called both of you to embrace.
How you must have readily agreed and embraced this call of God in Mary’s life and how it must have echoed a similar call of full consecration and complete gift of yourself to God in your own soul.
So how confused you must have been when you recognized Mary was with Child.
I don’t accept that you ever questioned Mary’s purity and faithfulness.
Instead, I’m sure that as a faithful Jew, you knew and held fast to the prophecies of a virgin conceiving the Messiah…
… so you must have seen Mary’s pregnancy as a fulfillment of this great promise.
But, you struggled because God had not shared this plan with you…
Mary had not shared this understanding with you…
So, in your heart you must have reasoned that God must not have wanted you to be Mary’s husband, believing yourself to be unworthy of such an honor… and supposing that God must have wanted Mary as Bride alone, because all this had taken place without your knowledge, without your consent.
Mary’s conception of the Messiah must mean you were not to be her husband.
And so, in infinite humility and grace, you decided to give up your great love of Mary and bow out of the betrothal quietly, so God could have his way.
How selfless you are, dear St. Joseph!
God was testing your selflessness…
He was expanding your love, your mind, your will… just as He was in Mary.
You were both fully human.
Neither understanding the fullness of God’s plan.
You and Mary had to work out and discern God’s will each moment of the day as we all do.
God knew your capacity.
He knew your soul was filled so greatly with love, because your will was humble and so united with His own, that it was empty enough to be filled beyond our understanding.
It wasn’t filled with countless things that fill our minds: like ego, jealousy, your rights or a pursuit of worldly honors or possessions…
Your soul was filled only with loving your Creator, your God.
So, as He does with all of us,
He must have led you one step at a time in loving darkness…
sometimes withholding His sensible presence and plan so you could grow in virtue… so you could grow in faith…
so you could grow more and more in union with Him…
dependent upon Him,
trusting in Him regardless of your feelings and circumstances.
How this circumstance must have tried your faith in your own discernment of God’s will. You must have prayed and sought Him so diligently to understand and pursue Mary as your bride…
But, after learning of Mary’s virginal conception, you must have reasoned your ways and your discernment must not be what God truly wanted…
For He was keeping this from you.
In your love and humility, you gave your plans and your betrothed back to God, knowing He does all things well and wanting only His will and not your own.
So, how wondrously you must have felt, when the angel appeared in a dream,
saying “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”
How in awe and what holy fear you must have felt to realize God had chosen you to be part of His plan to save the world!
How incredible was it that God did entrust His beloved daughter in your hands… how He counted you worthy of raising and protecting His Child!!!
How true was your discernment, your hope and dreams and all your prayers had were coming true! All your longing was being realized!!!
The long awaited Messiah whom you had prayed and longed for all your life was on His way
and He wanted you to be a father to HIM!!!!!
It makes me weep just trying to fathom what this revelation must have meant to you.
O dear St. Joseph, how good it is to ponder your place in God’s plan…
To ponder with what love you must have built a cradle for your Child…
And how you must have built a home to keep your family warm and safe…
And how you had to leave it all behind
For God’s ways are not our ways.
How hard was your way to Bethlehem, and how diligently and selflessness you must have tried to care for Mary and your Child… but so much was beyond your control… the rough travel, the cold, and the ultimate deprivation of not even being able to secure a safe place in which the Savior was to be born…
How that must have hurt you…
How you must have wondered if you were enough…
How misunderstood you have been for centuries… how little known and thought of… Yet, I suppose that it matters little how we see you…you just want to be a humble servant in whatever capacity God has in store for you.. Completely hidden and unknown is fine with you. Human respect means nothing.
All your heart and soul and mind is set on serving God alone how ever He calls you.
In whatever capacity… it makes no difference, just as long as you love
God the Father,
His Son, your Child,
the Holy Spirt, the Espoused of Mary,
and the beautiful woman, Mary, whom He entrusted to your love, your care and protection!
O dear St. Joseph, pray for us and for our families!
The beautiful video shown above is O Holy Night, sung by Josh Groban featuring images from The Nativity Story:
Janet Moore © 2015