By Deacon Frederick Bartels
19 March 2018
If we wish to know Jesus, we will want to know his mother, the Virgin Mary. We will also wish to know his foster father, St. Joseph and spouse of Mary, who was the guardian and teacher of the child Jesus and protector of the Holy Family.
St. Joseph, like Mary, is a model and guide for all Christians, especially as a model of faith. St. Joseph teaches us the meaning of faith in God and how to actively and consistently live out the virtue of faith in our lives. By his life, we see how the virtue of faith, which is a free gift from God, is an attitude of complete self-entrustment and attentiveness to God. By faith, we say, “I love, I believe, I adore, I follow, I commit my life to you, O Lord.”
In the many difficulties St. Joseph faced, from Mary’s unexpected and mysterious pregnancy during their period of betrothal to the dangerous journey to Bethlehem, from the disturbing prophecy of Simeon to the murderous intent of Herod, St. Joseph consistently gave himself over to the will of God in faith and trust. In doing so, his life attained its fullness and the wondrous and saving plan of God was realized.
Above all, St. Joseph models the life of faith lived out in an unwavering commitment to the will of God. This type of life is a Christ-like life. In raising the Christ Child, Joseph becomes like the one he raised, living as Christ lived. That’s the goal of every Christian: To live as did Jesus, Savior of humankind, perfectly obedient to God the Father. Recall that Christ’s love for his Father moved him to become obedient to the point of death, even death on a Roman cross. The innocent, perfect Jesus suffered a most heinous and brutal death willingly, all for the sake of love. By his love, we are saved. By the instrument of torture, the cross Jesus voluntarily embraced, humankind is redeemed and salvation is made possible.
All praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus!
When we make the plan of God the plan of our life, we attain the fullness of human life and become all that God desires us to be. Therein lies our complete happiness.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
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Deacon Frederick Bartels is a member of the Catholic clergy who serves the Church in the diocese of Pueblo. He holds an MA in Theology and Educational Ministry and is a Catholic educator, public speaker, and evangelist who strives to infuse culture with the saving principles of the gospel.