The Feast of St. Joseph – Universal Patron of the Church

At the birth of Christ, the seven hundred year old messianic prophecies of the prophet Isaiah became an historic reality. On a yearly basis, we celebrate and remember that moment on the Feast day of St. Joseph, the patron of the universal Church; for we see in Joseph not only a loyal husband and foster father of Jesus – our Savior – but also a man of conviction and prayer.

Upon hearing that Mary is pregnant Joseph is filled with pain and anger. Understandably, at first, he is not ready to say “yes” to Mary and her story of divine intercession – there are few men that would.  But through divine intervention and the sending of His angel, God makes another request, for the angel relates God’s message: “Joseph, Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.”

We call St. Joseph a confident man because – ultimately – he, like Mary, says “Yes” to God. He has confidence because he proclaims his trust in God. With Joseph’s “Yes,” his anger subsides and is replaced with a joyful nurturing spirit that enables him to exert leadership and act as a faith-filled father and loving husband.

Joseph, from that moment, grows in love for his wife and unborn child and through the years, like all fathers, he grows in love and intimacy with Jesus.

An intimacy not only of physical closeness and rapport – but of soul – an intimacy of prayer and meditation that filled his heart and mind with awe; this intimacy and proximity to Jesus meant that he was constantly exposed to the same grace that Jesus gives us in our Eucharistic adoration of Him.

Pope Pius 11th, in his teaching on St. Joseph in March 1928 said, “All Joseph’s sanctity lies precisely in the completely faithful accomplishment of his great and humble mission, so high and so hidden, so splendid and so surrounded with shadows.”

We are truly graced if we realize, like St. Joseph, that we must make ourselves vulnerable to God -– vulnerable to the gifts of God – by exposing our heart, and soul to God’s love – and trusting God – through His Sacramental grace, to turn our hearts, so that we, too, may fulfill the mission – simple or profound – that we are asked to complete in life.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Sacred image of St. Joseph and Jesus by Pietro Annigoni. It hangs in the Church of St. Lawrence in Florence, Italy. It was painted in 1963. Thanks to the website of the Oblates of St. Joseph for the painting by Annigoni.

Copyright © 2012 Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved

6 thoughts on “The Feast of St. Joseph – Universal Patron of the Church

  1. I always think of St. Joseph as being so humble. I mean he lived with the Immaculate Conception and with God in His humanity. You know St. Joseph was just like you and I. I always think about how humble he must of been, to live with the Two, who never told God “no.”

    Good post for our Blessed Saint. God Bless, SR

    • Hello,
      Thank you. Pietro Annigoni is one of my favorite 20th century artists. An excellent portrait painter as well as an interpreter of sacred Scripture. His recipe for egg tempera medium is on line in an old British Movietone 3 minute film. You see Annigoni making his recipe and it looks quite impressive! Best wishes for success in your prayer life and your sacred iconography.
      Peace in Christ,
      Deacon Paul Iacono

  2. Wow! great article! I absolutely love Joseph, even though the Bible doesn’t mention him so much. However, I admire his devotion to Mary and Jesus! He could have let her to be stoned because she was pregnant but not married. But he didn’t. He just let the wedding off secretly. I just love Joseph! Once again, such an inspirational message! God bless you!

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