St. Joseph’s heavenly virtues and sacrificial headship as the earthly father of God and the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated with the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he can always honor and seek to imitate St. Joseph and by growing in the Virtue of Duty so he can be the sacrificial head of his family. 

Commentary

Prior to Jesus’ miraculous conception, the Virgin Mary (a teen) and Joseph (mid-30’s), were betrothed; in ancient Judaism, couples did not live together or consummate their marriage for up to a year. During the betrothal period, the Virgin Mary miraculously conceives Jesus; the virtuous and just Joseph may have felt unworthy to be husband of Mary and earthly father of the Messiah. Despite his concerns, Joseph is convinced in a dream by an angel (Gabriel) of God’s glorious plan; Joseph gives his “fiat” (CCC 497, 1846), takes the Blessed Virgin Mary and the unborn Child into his home and names the infant Jesus (v 25 is omitted).

God creates and prepares Joseph, granting him absolute human authority over both Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and God Himself, Jesus; both Mary and Jesus perfectly submit to Joseph’s just authority. As the patriarch and head of his family, Joseph was bound by Jewish law to: name and circumcise Jesus; redeem his first-born son at the Temple; lead the Holy Family in Sabbath prayer and to annual feasts in Jerusalem; teach the Torah to Jesus; teach Jesus how to defend the family and swim; teach Jesus a vocation (carpenter). Jesus is perfectly obedient to Joseph until his most-happy death the arms of Mary and Jesus; tradition holds, shortly thereafter, Jesus begins His public ministry.

Just as Jesus and Mary highly revered Joseph, the Church has always venerated St. Joseph. St. Joseph’s feast day has been celebrated for over a thousand years. Numerous saints had special devotion to St. Joseph (St. Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila) and St. Joseph was declared the Patron (from Latin, patris, meaning “father”, “protector”) of the Church in 1847; he is also the patron of fathers, families and the unborn. In contrast to other Saints, and like Jesus and Mary, no relics of St. Joseph exist, leading some to conclude that St. Joseph was assumed, body and soul, into Heaven. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

While the Incarnation (to be made flesh) of the Son of God is an event which exceeds the ability of men to fully comprehend, marvel that the Son of God is also the Son of Joseph, the man created, inspired and given the highest levels of Divine Grace to become the earthly father of God.  

Honor and seek to imitate St. Joseph

Realize: Of all men ever born, God the Father created and called one man, St. Joseph, to protect, form, and shepherd the Son of God into the perfection of manhood (Lk 2:52). 

Believe: Reflect upon the Holy Feast Day of St. Joseph (CCC 2177) and reflect upon St. Joseph’s Patronage of the Church, fathers and families.

Pray: St. Joseph, pray for me that I grow in the Virtue of Piety so I honor you, I draw close to you, and seek to more consistently imitate you as I strive to be a better Catholic man, husband and father. 

Be a sacrificial leader of your family

Realize: God the Father confirms His model for families is patriarchy (rule by fathers/men) by giving St. Joseph headship over the Immaculate Conception and His own Son (CCC 532).

Believe: Reflect upon the Headship of Husbands/Fathers (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).

Pray: St. Joseph, pray for me that I grow in the Virtue of Duty (a part of Justice) so I accept my sacred duty to be the head of my family and I strive to imitate you as a sacrificial leader of my family.