Sunday, December 23, 2007

Joseph...



St Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c 1635


Who was this man named Joseph...who became the foster father of our Lord? Joseph of Nazareth, son of Jacob, descended from the line of David. He was a carpenter, Mary's husband and Jesus' foster father. That is about all we know...

Joseph, second only to the Blessed Virgin Mary in strength of faith, was given leadership of the Holy Family as a direct assignment from God. Imagine what strength of character it must have taken to fulfill his destiny? He had to provide all that was necessary for Jesus, the son of God, to grow in grace and wisdom. And he was "righteous" in the administration of his vocation (Matthew 1:18). But for many, the essence of this humble carpenter seems to elude us.
Read the Nativity story here...and here...

As I reflect on this father/husband/man and the Nativity story, I think of the virtues Joseph possessed in order to live the life he was called to lead...could I have undertaken such a Divine responsibility? Could you?

  • Obedience...to God through a dream he is told by "an angel of the Lord" not only to take his betrothed Mary home–in other words, to conduct the concluding legal Jewish wedding rite and accept the child with which she is pregnant as holy, to name him Jesus, and to assume legal paternity
  • Patience...with his betrothed, with Jesus, the life he accepted after marrying Mary
  • Love...of God, Mary and Jesus, and all generations to come
  • Righteousness...leading a life that is pleasing to God
  • Prudence...wisdom, insight, and knowledge to exercise sound judgment
  • Humility...to accept Mary and his calling by God
  • Respect...of Mary and her circumstances
  • Wisdom...to raise and guide such a special child
  • Perseverance...persistent determination in face of many difficulties (see tolerance)
  • Tolerance...during many hardships-the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be enrolled as required by the political authorities; the birth of Jesus in a stable; the flight to Egypt and return, the move to Galilee
  • Hope...belief in a positive outcome of his dreams
  • Faith...to believe without reason that his vocation was father of Jesus

St. Joseph's Dream by Rembrandt c. 1645

Jean-Paul Sartre tried to describe Joseph at the crib in Bethlehem: “I would not paint Joseph. I would show no more than a shadow at the back of the stable, and two shining eyes. For I do not know what to say about Joseph, and Joseph does not know what to say about himself. He adores, and is happy to adore, and he feels himself slightly out of it. I believe he suffers without admitting it. He suffers because he sees how much this woman whom he loves resembles God; how she is already at the side of God. For God has burst like a bomb into the intimacy of this family. Joseph and Mary are separated forever by this explosion of light. And I imagine that all through his life Joseph will be learning to accept this.”


Madonna and Child with St. Jerome, St. Joseph and St. Anne by Lorenzo Lotto c. 1534


In the Roman Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days (see Saint Joseph's Day). He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the universal Catholic Church (along with Saint Peter) by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. He is a rare example of a saint from the early days of the church whose devotional role has tended to increase in the centuries since the Middle Ages.

A 9-day Novena to St.Joseph is here...
I wish you joyous fruits of the Christmas season until I return...


images from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph
http://www.abcgallery.com/

22 comments:

qualcosa di bello said...

what a beautiful & timely post!!! giving me chills... i often pray to st. joseph for fathers & my own dear husband~~ he *knows* what a weight fatherhood is, in such a huge way. a powerful patron! much love to you, dear friend!

marita said...

mysterious veils surround the story of the holy family, so much written without unveiling...
wishing you blessed days rebecca!

Sherry said...

A beautiful post Rebecca.
Wishing you and those you love the most wonderful Christmas full of love, joy and laughter. And sending many good wishes for the coming year.

xo
Sherry

Britt-Arnhild said...

I have always wondered about Joseph and his feelings when Maria became pregnant and then gave birth to Jesus.

I've never seen the Rembrandth painting before. Great!

Naturegirl said...

JOY to the world!! Rebecca a perfect posting for this blessed celebration!
Wishing you peaceful blessings.
hugs NG

see you there! said...

A beautiful and thought provoking post. May your Christmas be filled with love and peace.

Darla

Abby Creek Art said...

Beautiful painting of St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus. Have a lovely holiday, Rebecca!

Felicia said...

Merry Christmas :)

susanna said...

Merry Christmas, Rebecca! I hope that you have a wonderful time over the holidays!

Sandra Evertson said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Sandra Evertson

NEEREANDEAR said...

I AM THINKING OF YOU SWEETIE... HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL AND HAVING AN WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!

HUGS AND LOVE

JO

suzi finer said...

You inspire and are a joyful experiene-evoking soul~Happy Holidays to you!
Love.

tlc illustration said...

Merry Christmas Rebecca. Enjoy, love and pamper yourself a bit.

flyinamber said...

Thinking on you this wonderful Christmas morning,Rebecca,I wish you all the best,peace,love,health and happiness!

marita said...

have a blessed xmas rebecca!!
enjoy the days...
thinking of you!

paris parfait said...

Such an interesting post. Merry Christmas, Rebecca! xoxox

Naturegirl said...

Rebecca its Christmas morning!! Thinking of you because I have my
~angel~ here as I type this!
THANK YOU!! a most beautiful gift!!
Merry Christmas and many blessings to YOU!! xoxoxoxo

e. beck said...

so lovely ... hope your day was full of joy ....

tongue in cheek said...

yes yes yes St Joseph the silent partner of love.

Counting Your Blessings said...

Very interesting post! I hadn't really thought about Joseph so deeply before. Hope your Christmas has been wonderful. Blessings...Polly

Maggie R said...

What a lovely post, I so enjoyed it...
Blessings to you and yours
((((hugs))))
Maggie

Nissa said...

Good words.

There was an error in this gadget