Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Just Man

Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife

Today is St. Joseph's Day--one of them, anyway. It's actually the feast of Joseph the Betrothed, or Joseph of the Holy Family. May 1 is celebrated as the feast of Joseph the Worker .

We don't know much about Joseph, aside from the fact that he was "a just man," as described in Matthew 1:19. He was also a man of great faith, who trusted in God when he was probably tempted to side with logic and reason. Because of his faith, Joseph became head of the Holy Family, and he is considered the patron saint of fathers and families, as well as working people.

My father (also a just man) had a lifelong devotion to St. Joseph. Dad used to say that Joseph was the most powerful saint, because he had been chosen to protect and provide for the Blessed Mother and Our Lord. Whenever he had a special intention to lift up in prayer, my father told me that he always asked for the aid of "St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus."

"When I ask in that way, my prayer is always answered," Dad said.

St. Joseph is also the patron of dying people, which is comforting. Twenty-one years ago tonight, on March 19, the feast of his favorite saint, my father died. I like to think that St. Joseph was watching over Dad. It seems like something Joseph would do, especially for a close friend.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus--thank you.