St. Joseph gives his fiat to lead the Holy Family. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by reflecting upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph and growing in the Virtue of Chastity, and by seeking to imitate St. Joseph by growing in the Virtue of Duty so he can be the heroic head of his family.
4th Week of Advent – December 18 – Mt 1:18-25; 4th Week of Advent – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 1:18-24
The greatest honor ever bestowed on any man is Joseph’s selection to be the earthly father of the Son of God. Prepared from the beginning of time, God’s plan of salvation is fulfilled by the birth of His Son to a perfect Virgin who is married to St. Joseph, the holiest of men, and a hidden king in the line of David.
The Gospel of Matthew summarizes the more detailed Infancy Narrative of Luke (Lk 1-2). Prior to the miraculous conception of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are betrothed; in ancient Judaism, couples were formally married, but did not live together and consummate their marriage for up to a year. During this period of abstinence, Jesus Christ is conceived in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s womb through the fatherhood of the Holy Spirit. St. Joseph, perhaps told by the Blessed Virgin Mary of Jesus’ miraculous conception, first decides to end the marriage, but is then convinced by an angel in a dream of God’s glorious plan; St. Joseph gratefully receives the Blessed Virgin Mary and the unborn Child and becomes the head of the Holy Family.
While various explanations for St. Joseph’s initial reluctance have been offered (suspicion, confusion, reverence), most likely, St. Joseph’s believed he was unworthy to be the earthly father of the Son of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary is perfectly compelling, truthful and obedient, would not have kept the truth from St. Joseph, the head of the Holy Family, and would have revealed her pregnancy. St. Joseph would have believed her, for he was a supremely holy man specifically chosen by God to be the Son’s necessary earthly father. Jesus, present in Mary’s womb, would also have convinced and overwhelmed St. Joseph with the truth (as He does with Elizabeth, and, the yet to be born, John the Baptist – Lk 1:41-45). Strengthened by an angel, St. Joseph perfectly fulfills his vocation as the celibate husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the earthly father of the Son of God.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Chastity is a virtue which allows humans to regulate sexual thoughts, desires, and acts consistent with their vocation. Marvel that Jesus incarnates without the marital act, is born to the Virgin and St. Joseph, who remained celibate their entire married lives, and that He preached and demonstrated the perfection of Chasity (a part of Temperance) during the Incarnation.
Seek to grow in Chastity
Realize: A great and beautiful mystery and dogma of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church is the truth the Blessed Virgin Mary was “ever virgin.”
Believe: Reflect upon Our Queen’s Perfect Virginity and Motherhood (CCC 487-507).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Chastity, help me build the Virtue of Chastity (a part of Temperance) so I can abstain from sinful sexual thoughts and acts, grow in modesty, and joyfully live a life of purity.
Be the heroic head of your family
Realize: While modern culture denigrates men and the absolute essential need for fathers, God calls Catholic fathers to be “heads” of their families (Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:24, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3:1, 1 Tim 2:11, Titus 2:4-5).
Believe: Reflect upon the truth that God the Father insisted that even His Only Son needed an earthly father, St. Joseph (CCC 437, 532).
Pray: Jesus, Son of Joseph, help me build the Virtue of Duty/Responsibility (a part of Justice) so I can better imitate St. Joseph and fulfill my duty to be the sacrificial head and father of my family and I lead my family to You and Your Church.