By ANDREW HANSEN
He is one of several heroes we read about in the Bible, yet he is never quoted, and this hero also suddenly vanishes, leaving the reader wondering what happened to him.
St. Joseph is one of the most mysterious people we read about in the Bible. Despite being the foster father of Jesus — the Son of God — we know very little about him. We know he was a carpenter, he was a “righteous man” (Mt. 1:19), he was Mary’s husband, and his lineage can be traced back to King David. The last time we read about St. Joseph is in the Gospel of Luke when the Holy Family visited the temple for Passover and Jesus was 12 years old at the time. But how and when did St. Joseph die? Why is his death not even mentioned? Why is he never quoted in the Bible? What did St. Joseph think about raising the Son of God?
“It’s such a good question: Why does it seem like St. Joseph — who raised Jesus! — appears like he’s almost an afterthought in the Bible?” said Father Mark Tracy, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Decatur. “I think it speaks to who St. Joseph is — his humbleness, his quiet obedience, and his selflessness — but most importantly, I think it comes down to the fact St. Joseph wants us to live our lives like he lived his life, pointing all our attention and giving all our energy solely to Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.”
It is this reason why Father Tracy says St. Joseph is one of the best saints we can turn to for help, especially during the stresses that can come during the Christmas season.
“First, St. Joseph was at the first Christmas, and I think we can imagine it was pretty stressful,” Father Tracy said. “I mean traveling with Mary, who is nine months pregnant, on a donkey, finding out there is no room in the inn, Mary giving birth next to animals — I think we could conclude St. Joseph’s blood pressure was pretty high. But beyond Christmas, St. Joseph also knows how stressful a job can be and the uncertainties of budgets and resources. He understands the anxieties of raising a child and all the difficulties that come with parenting. He understands the sacrificial nature of marriage and the burden’s that come with being the head of a family. His life, what he felt, and what he had to do to overcome all these stresses and fears are exactly what we are going through today. He is a wonderful saint to turn to for help and an example for all of us to follow.”
St. Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church. March 19 is the feast day of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Confessor of the Faith, and May 1 is the feast day of St Joseph the Worker.
“There is so much turmoil, fear, and uncertainty in our world today,” Father Tracy said. “But St. Joseph is always pointing us back to the one true Hope, Jesus Christ. So, if you are feeling down or stressed, turn to St. Joseph and look to him as an example of humbleness and faithfulness. He understands your feelings, and he will help you not only find joy in the season of Christmas and in your earthly life, but the ultimate joy with his adopted Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven forever.”
A saint for all
Saints are powerful intercessors for us. Turning to saints by asking them to pray for us is part of our Catholic tradition. For St. Joseph, he is the patron saint of many causes:
- The Universal Church
- Expected mothers
- The dying
- House sellers and buyers
- Working people in general
Ways you can honor St. Joseph:
Check out these wonderful prayers by looking them up online as they are too long to print in Catholic Times:
- Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary
- 30 Day Prayer to St. Joseph
- Seven Sundays Devotion to St. Joseph
- Litany of St. Joseph
This article originally appeared in Catholic Times in 2020.