We have spent nearly a year looking at the life of Saint Joseph and what he means for us. Now, as we approach the holiday season, we have a chance to consider how we will present Joseph during the Advent and Christmas season.
Joseph deserves much more than to be the silent, stoic figure at the side of the manager. Even though there is not a single word of his recorded in the Gospels, his actions speak far louder than any words might.
As we consider how to think of Joseph as his year draws to a close, we turn once again to Pope Francis’ apostolic letter:
Being a father entails introducing children to life and reality. Not holding them back, being overprotective or possessive, but rather making them capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities. Perhaps for this reason, Joseph is traditionally called a “most chaste” father. That title is not simply a sign of affection, but the summation of an attitude that is the opposite of possessiveness. Chastity is freedom from possessiveness in every sphere of one’s life. Only when love is chaste, is it truly love. A possessive love ultimately becomes dangerous: it imprisons, constricts and makes for misery. God himself loved humanity with a chaste love; he left us free even to go astray and set ourselves against him. The logic of love is always the logic of freedom, and Joseph knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the center of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus. –On the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church [Patris Corde], 7
When we approach our Advent preparation for Christmas, let us remember that Joseph was a true father who gave Jesus the strength and courage to face his destiny. As we gather for holiday celebrations, may we be inspired to do the same thing for the members of our families.
“In Joseph . . . heads of the household are blessed with the unsurpassed model of fatherly watchfulness and care.” –Pope Leo XIII
Saint Joseph, as time races toward the holidays, help us to remember that you were a true father to Jesus and a living example for all parents. Amen.
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