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Saint Joseph: Just Man and Husband of Mary

Saint Joseph: Just Man and Husband of Mary

Pope Francis offers a third catechesis on Saint Joseph. At his general audience on Wednesday, December 1, he spoke about Joseph as a “just man” and husband of Mary. He directed his reflection to couples who are engaged to be married, but we all—as people who love others—can gain from his insights. Use this link to find Pope Francis’s entire reflection. Find a summary and prayer here:

In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now reflect on Saint Matthew’s description of Joseph as both ‘a just man’ and as ‘the husband of Mary.’ As a devout son of Israel, Joseph willingly submitted to the requirements of the Law and its precepts concerning marriage. Having learned that Mary was already with child, out of love and regard for her, Joseph sought to spare her the humiliation of a public separation. Then, in a dream, Joseph learned from an angel that it was right that he should marry Mary, since she had conceived her son by the power of the Holy Spirit. By God’s providence, Joseph came to a deeper understanding of divine justice and its authentic demands. Joseph and Mary’s openness to God’s saving plan brings their love to a maturity expressed in the virtues of chastity, fidelity, respect, and humility. Far from restricting our freedom, these virtues in fact give our love direction and endurance. In this sense, Joseph and Mary can serve as an example not only to young people engaged to be married, but to all of us who, also in the midst of life’s inevitable challenges, are called to discover the true joy and freedom that come from trusting in God’s just and providential concern for our lives.


Saint Joseph,
you who loved Mary with freedom,
and chose to renounce your fantasies to give way to reality,
help each of us to allow ourselves to be surprised by God
and to accept life not as something unforeseen from which to defend ourselves,
but as a mystery that hides the secret of true joy.
Obtain joy and radicality for all engaged Christians,
while always being aware
that only mercy and forgiveness make love possible.

Image credit: Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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