As a newly married man, I often struggle to do justice to my prayer, family and work life. Day to day responsibilities can occasionally get overwhelming and I believe that at such moments, it is necessary to have a role model whom I can look up to. Who better than St. Joseph?
The Scriptures reveal very little about this amazing saint, but the very fact that the Church finds it fitting to celebrate his feast twice a year tells us that there is much more to St. Joseph than what meets the eye.
So I began meditating on a few of his attributes that inspire me.
- A Righteous Man
Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man… ~ Matthew 1:19
Joseph was a man who perfectly fulfilled the two greatest commandments. He loved God with all his heart and strength and he loved his neighbour as himself. He was also a man of deep prayer who knew the Psalms and the Mosaic Law inside out.
I try my best to love God by spending time with Him in prayer regularly, going for Holy Mass daily, reading the scriptures frequently and making time for daily family prayer and rosary.
I am inspired to go the extra mile to love my wife through small acts of kindness.
Like Joseph, I try to love selflessly but unlike him, I often fail.
- Loved Mary
Imagine being married to a perfect woman. It must have been an extremely humbling experience for Joseph. Yet, he loved Mary devotedly as his wife. He would have died to protect her honour. When she was distraught, he comforted her. When she was tired, he was there for her to lean on. He patiently listened to her and worked long hours to provide for her.
I try my best to be a devoted husband, striving to spend as much time as I can at home, despite my busy schedule in the hospital. I try to be patient, gentle, forgiving and kind and when I do fall, it is St. Joseph whose help I seek.
- Embraced Work
St. Joseph is known as “the worker“. He worked so hard that work is forever identified with his name. The church celebrates May 1st as the feast of St. Joseph the worker, which the rest of the world celebrates as Labour Day.
He wasn’t a procrastinator, and he didn’t idolize comfort and ease. He laboured with his hands to provide for his wife and Son, no task being insignificant for him.
As a doctor and as the breadwinner for my family, work makes up a very important part of my life. As I work, I pray daily that Jesus might use me to heal and restore others to fullness of life.
St. Augustine writes,
“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
I am reminded by St. José Maria Escriva that success in work must not make me lose my focus on God.
“You must be careful: don’t let your professional success or failure, which will certainly come make you forget, even for a moment, what the true aim of your work is: the glory of God!”
- A model Father
Joseph faithfully served the Holy Family and protected them from danger so that they could fulfil God’s mission. He taught Jesus how to be a man. No doubt he taught him how to be a faithful Jew, as well as the trade of carpentry.
While I am not yet a father, St. Joseph will most definitely serve as an inspiration when I need to bring up my kids in the right way.
- Did the will of God
From among thousands of Jewish men, many of whom were extremely righteous, why did God choose Joseph to be the father of Jesus?
The answer lies in the fact that Joseph was extremely obedient and would do anything asked of him.
The saints agree that conformity to the will of God through prompt obedience is one of the surest paths to holiness. St. Joseph exemplified this virtue and a perfect example of this is the flight into Egypt.
St. Matthew writes,
“The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt”….. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night and went to Egypt.” ~ Matthew 2:13-14
The minute he woke up, he obeyed. He didn’t let fear of uncertainty paralyze him. He didn’t spend weeks planning and he didn’t save up some money first. He took Jesus and Mary and left for Egypt, entrusting his family to the providence of God. That is prompt obedience and that is why St. Joseph was entrusted with the greatest responsibility ever given to a man.
I struggle to obey God promptly, often analysing and over analysing the situation and trying to be in control of it before moving forward. I learn from St. Joseph, the need to trust in the great providence of God who will always provide for our every need.
- A man of Silence
We never hear a word from St. Joseph in the Bible, for he was a man of great silence. Because of this silence, he was able to hear God’s voice and discern His will for the Holy Family. In an age of chaos and din, Joseph reminds us that if we wish to hear God’s voice, we must quieten our hearts and spend time daily in prayerful silence.
As a husband, one of my biggest failings is that I talk more than I listen. St. Joseph teaches me the need to lend a listening ear to my wife rather than wanting to have my opinion heard all the time.
To conclude, it is fitting to say that St. Joseph was the greatest husband to walk this planet. While he had his fair share of struggles, he didn’t let them come in the way of his relationship with God and his family.
His intercession is invaluable, especially to young men like me who wish to lead their family in the way of Christ.
St. Thomas Aquinas perfectly sums up why St. Joseph is the ‘go to saint’ for all our needs:
“Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”