our spiritual Father

Last week I blogged about what a gift it is to be a daughter of Mary. This week I’m struck by the example of St. Joseph, the chaste spouse and “step-dad” to Jesus. This weekend I attended Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rawlins, WY and this morning in daily Mass I couldn’t stop staring at the St. Joseph statue. There is so much we can learn from him, so much about him that I hope my future husband is imitating now:

1. Faith.
I started watching the Nativity Story last night because at the end of the day on my birthday, I wanted to unite myself with Mary as her daughter. Joseph had faith, a deep and abiding faith. Much like Abraham, his faith caused him to do things most people wouldn’t (i.e. sacrificing your son, marrying a woman who was preggers and not with your baby). Joseph, though at first unsure, ultimately trusted the voice of God that told him to marry Mary. His faith drove him to shelter Mary, to lead Mary and Jesus to Egypt and to be an earthly father to Jesus.

2. Humility.
Joseph (at least in the movie) feels unworthy to be the father of Jesus. He wonders if he will ever be able to teach Jesus anything. It is in humility that God lifts him up so that he can act as an earthly father to Jesus. (God does this to Mary in the same way, she bows down as she says “be it done unto me according to Your word” and God lifts her up to be the Mother of Jesus).

3. Strength.
Joseph offers his strength to Mary as they travel to Bethlehem for the census. He protects her, feeds her, keeps her safe and finds shelter for her when she is in labor. He cares for her not only because she is pregnant and his wife, but he cares for her because he loves her with a holy and pure love that flows from the heart of God through his own heart.

4. Protection.
Much like his strength, Joseph offers his protection to Mary. As a man, he protects her from theives, from the stones that people seek to throw at her for her perceived transgressions. In the movie after the angel appears to him in the dream telling him to marry Mary, he is talking to Mary and she tells him that people will not look at him the same if he takes her as his wife. He simply responds, “You are my wife. I am your husband. That is all anyone need know.” His faith drives him and he doesn’t care about what others think or how they look at him, they are in this for the long haul. Mary, Joseph and God. God before them, God between them, God in them.

St. Joseph is a wonderful example of what it means to be a man, to love with a holy, chaste, pure and abiding love. He loves with a love that comes directly from the heart of God. Though Scripture says very little about him, we know and believe that he was a wonderful and humble man who God trusted to provide an example of manliness and Godliness to His Son. Look to St. Joseph!

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