The Gospel of Matthew presents Joseph as a righteous man :
« This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they were married, she found herself to be with child, through the Holy Spirit. Joseph, being a righteous man, did not wish to disgrace her publicly, resolving instead to break the engagement privately. » (Matthew 1, 18-19)
Joseph’s generosity and greatness are revealed in these few words. But Joseph went further in the gift of self by agreeing to become the real father of this child who was sent to save humanity. He served God’s purpose with dignity and deeply loved this Emmanuel, Jesus, God-with-us.
With simplicity and discretion
Joseph’s entire life as a labourer born into a modest home embodies the sanctity of daily life. He is a model for ordinary people who are called upon to live their lives as God’s children, through good and bad days, with simplicity and discretion.
The Scriptures do not contain any of Joseph’s words. The evangelists reveal a man who acts according to his conscience and obeys the instructions of the Lord’s angel. In his family life in Nazareth, he was guided by the obligation of performing everyday tasks. He passed on the values of altruism and honesty to the child Jesus, who was then an adolescent. Just like millions of other fathers, he did his best to educate his child, then let him go into the world when the time came.
An unusual vocation
In fact, Joseph was not a paragon of faith. Yet he acted like all of the faithful of his time, adhering to the commandments in the Scriptures, going on the pilgrimages required by Law and praying ardently each day. He was a genuine saint because he heard and accepted God’s call to accept a unique vocation: to become the earthly father of Jesus. He lived according to this vocation of husband, father, worker and good person. He is a just man, an inspiration and a companion to all “ordinary” believers, those who live their lives unspectacularly, and remain loyal to their faith and vocation.
Guardian, protector, supporter
Saint Joseph supports believers in many aspects of their lives. He has many designations: Guardian of the Pure in Heart, Hope of the Sick, Consolation of the Afflicted and Patron of the Dying. He is also known as a Model of Workers, Protector of the Church, Support of Families, and Terror of Demons. These multiple designations reveal a saint who is present in our daily lives, in times of suffering, and in the fears and hopes of those who pray.
In the liturgical calendar, Saint Joseph is celebrated on :
- March 19 as the spouse of the Virgin Mary and patron saint of Canada
- May 1 as Model of Workers.