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Mar 16, 2021

St. Joseph: The Silent Hero

Dr. Edward Sri

This week, the Catholic Church celebrates one of the most important people in all of Biblical salvation history- St. Joseph. Dr. Sri explains why St. Joseph is such a crucial figure in the Catholic faith, and shares the virtues and attributes that make this saint such an admirable hero.

Snippet from the Show

St. Joseph is the silent hero of salvation history. His virtue, sacrifice, and courage alone speak volumes.


Shownotes

St. Joseph is one of the important people in all of Biblical salvation history. However, he had no power, prestige, or wealth. St. Joseph was a silent hero. He was a prayerful, simple, and virtuous man. He is held up as one of the greatest saints in the Church. Here are some of the greatest virtues that St. Joseph possessed: 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;  and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. 

But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and his name shall be called Emman′u-el”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife,  but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

– Matthew 1:18-25

Humility

The genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of the gospel of Matthew reveals that St. Joseph is from the royal line of King David. It captures the rise and fall of the Davidic Kingdom and points to God’s mission coming to fulfillment through Christ. Although St. Joseph is technically a royal heir; he was a poor, simple, and humble carpenter. He raised his family in an insignificant town and lived his life in service of the Divine plan. He dedicated his entire life to taking care of Mary and Jesus. 

Joseph’s reaction to Mary’s pregnancy can be interpreted in numerous ways. One of the interpretations that the early Church proposes is that Joseph sent Mary away because he didn’t feel worthy to take Mary as his wife and Jesus as his adopted son. Out of awe and reverence for God, Joseph recoiled and withdrew because of his humility. It is possible that he believed Mary completely but did not feel worthy to be part of God’s mission. 

Docility

St. Joseph was docile to God’s will. He responded to the demands and needs of the Holy family at every twist and turn. He fulfilled the needs of Mary and Jesus and never forced his own will on other people. He didn’t cling to his own dreams or plans, he surrendered entirely to the will of God. He was flexible and always put his freedom at the service of the Divine plan. We should also aim to always respond to the needs of others in the moment.

Silence

Joseph’s prayerful silence was the primacy of his interior life. Scripture doesn’t  record a single word of St. Joseph. In a world that is so noisy, St. Joseph reminds us of how important it is to cultivate interior silence. St. Joseph’s prayerful silence enabled him to respond generously to God.

“From this interior life very singular life and commands and coslolations came bringing him also the logic and strength that belonged to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power to make great decisions, such as the decisions to put his liberty immediately at the disposition of the divine designs.”

– St. Paul VI

Protector

St. Joseph was the great protector, he was in charge of leading and protecting the Holy family. We must learn to protect our families the way that St. Joseph protected Mary and Jesus. He did everything he could to protect them from dangers, like fleeing to Egypt to protect Jesus. We should also strive to protect our children’s hearts and minds from the dangers of the world. There are many ideologies, narratives, and voices trying to instill values in our culture that are contrary to God’s design for humanity. 

Resources


Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri

Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.

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