Wednesday 29th July 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Reconnecting With Mary… Reflecting On St. Joseph At Christmastide

December 30, 2013 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

The main focus during the season of Christmastide is naturally on the newborn Christ, whose birth we are celebrating, and then in a secondary way on His Blessed Mother, our Lady, whose great faithfulness made the Incarnation possible. St. Joseph, though, tends to remain in the background. He is there certainly in the Christmas story, but he is overshadowed by the Child Jesus and the Blessed Virgin.
Yet, the Holy Family was in Bethlehem because Joseph, who was of the House of David, had to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David, along with Mary, in order to register for the census called by the Emperor Caesar Augustus. Without this pressing necessity, Jesus would have been born in Nazareth, and the prophecies would not have been fulfilled, particularly this prophecy from Micah, who lived about 700 years before Christ:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).
So it is fitting to also look at St. Joseph during this joyful time. This series of articles will look at the life and role of this great saint in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, and also at how devotion to him in the Church grew from very humble beginnings to become widespread amongst Catholics.
What we know of him in historical terms is found in the opening chapters of the Gospel of St. Matthew and the Gospel of St. Luke. There is other information that has come down to us via the apocryphal writings — that is, writings which were ultimately not accepted by the Church — which were in circulation during the early centuries. But while some of what they contain about him may be true, it is only in the Gospels that we have absolute certainty, since the Church has accepted only them as canonical.
And what is in the Gospels about him is so little! We would love to know more. But we do not even have any record of anything he said. St. Joseph played a very important role as the foster father of Jesus and the spouse of our Lady, but he did it quietly, remaining in the background.
As indicated above, Joseph was of the House of David, and the tribe of Judah, and from the Gospels we learn that he was born in Bethlehem, the City of David near Jerusalem. His genealogy, or family history, is given in both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. At the time when he entered into his great role as head and protector of the Holy Family, he was living in Nazareth in Galilee, far to the north of Bethlehem. The reason for this move is uncertain, but perhaps it was due to the necessity of finding work there as a carpenter.
From what we know, it was at Nazareth that St. Joseph became betrothed to our Lady, and in all probability, his marriage to our Lady took place after the Annunciation to her by the Angel Gabriel, when he told her that, providing she gave her consent, she was to become the Mother of God.
It is from the apocryphal writings that the idea of Joseph being an old man originated, and they also give details of the story that he was chosen to be our Lady’s spouse in a miraculous way. But given the difficulties he had to endure in looking after Mary and Jesus, it is unlikely that he was very old, and it is more probable that he was in his 30s or perhaps his 40s when Jesus was born.
According to St. Augustine (354-430), and St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), who have been regarded as amongst the foremost Catholic thinkers, although the marriage of our Lady and St. Joseph was a true marriage it was a chaste and virginal one.
The distress of St. Joseph on finding out that our Lady was with child, following the Annunciation of the birth of the Christ Child to her by the Angel Gabriel, was thus considerable, and his faith in her was undoubtedly put to the test.
From this we can already get an idea of Joseph’s holiness and greatness, in that his reaction was very different from what might have been expected. Instead of reacting angrily, to spare our Lady any embarrassment he resolved to send her away quietly. For this reason St. Matthew described him as a “just man.”
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: “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” (Matt. 1:20-21).
St. Joseph did not delay, but when he awoke he took steps to make Mary his wife, and then, some time later, when the baby was due, it became necessary for them to go to Bethlehem in order to comply with the order from the Roman emperor for a census. This must have been a difficult journey for both of them, but their distress was compounded when, on arriving at Bethlehem, they could find nowhere to stay, even though the birth was imminent.
Here, too, was a strong test of Joseph’s faith. The holy couple eventually found some lodging, traditionally located in caves outside Bethlehem, and it was here that our Lady gave birth to Jesus without the usual pains of childbirth. What a mysterious and wonderful event that must have been for Joseph, and to be part of such a marvel.
The Gospel of Luke then outlines how local shepherds, alerted to the miraculous birth by hosts of angels, came to reverence the Child, and also how Mary pondered on all these things in her heart, an attitude of awe and contemplation surely shared by her silent spouse. St. Joseph was also with our Lady when she went up to the Temple for the Presentation of the Baby Jesus, but he remained in the background as the aged Simeon spoke to Mary and prophesied how her Child was destined to be a sign of contradiction for many in Israel, and spoke about how a sword of sorrow — the crucifixion — would pierce her soul (Luke 2:34-35).
The next article will look at role played by St. Joseph in the life of Jesus at events such as the coming of the Magi, the Three Kings, to visit Jesus, the Flight into Egypt, and His Finding in the Temple at the age of twelve, as well as the growth of devotion to the saint in the early Church.

+    +    +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian apparitions, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…Continue Reading

Kenyan President to Obama: You Will not Impose The ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda In Kenya

We need to speak frankly about these things” says President Kenyatta in response to Obama’s statement that Kenya must share the same values as the United States on sodomite rights issues. Kenyatta, at the press conference this morning in Kenya,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: Ignore Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies, Investigate Pro-Lifers

nancyp

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has no interest in digging deeper into the revelations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business is selling the body part of aborted babies Instead, she wants the Obama administration to investigate the pro-life activists who…Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina to Planned Parenthood: You Deny Ultrasounds to Show Women Life Within Them, but Use Ultrasounds to Preserve Organs of Their Dead Babies

Venezuela’s bishops caution against the adoption of no-fault divorce

The Venezuelan bishops last week warned that marriage and families in their nation will be weakened as a result of a court decision ruling that spouses can divorce without any evidence of wrongdoing on either’s part , Christian Telegraph reports…Continue Reading

Rationing? Obamacare Health Care Plans Have 34 Percent Fewer Doctors, Hospitals

According to the Washington Examiner, a new study reveals that Obamacare plans have 34% fewer doctors and hospitals than other health insurance plans. The information was released today by Avalere Heath and proves that exchange networks actually provide fewer heart…Continue Reading

Cdl. Vincent Nichols to Expand LGBT Ministry

WESTMINSTER, July 21, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales, is pushing to expand the Church’s ministry to those in the LGBT community. Monsignor Keith Barltrop, parish priest of St. Mary…Continue Reading

LA gets three new auxiliary bishops, including Fr. Robert Barron

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 21, 2015 / 07:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Known for his online videos which tackle everything from the saints, to the “new atheism,” to the latest blockbuster film, Fr. Robert Barron will have a new responsibility: auxiliary…Continue Reading

New video: Planned Parenthood official haggles over baby body part prices, jokes ‘I want a Lamborghini’

July 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A second video allegedly showing a senior Planned Parenthood official negotiating for fetal tissue and fetal parts for profit has been released. In the video, released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), Dr. Mary…Continue Reading

Bravo . . . Brit Hume

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Multiply good works like the loaves and fishes

pope113

(Vatican Radio) Before the recitation of the Marian Prayer before the faithful in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis recalled Sunday’s Gospel about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The Pope explained that “Jesus satisfies not only material hunger, but the most profound of hungers, the hunger for meaning in life, the hunger for God.” He went on to say that  “in the face of suffering, loneliness, poverty and difficulties of so many people,…Continue Reading

How PPFA Manipulates Women Into “Donating” Their Babies’ Organs

By DAVE ANDRUSKO (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from National Right to Life News Today, July 15, 2015. All rights reserved.) + + + We’ve discussed at some length a shocking hidden-camera video in which two undercover investigators are shown discussing with a high-ranking PPFA official how these supposed “procurers” of fetal tissue could work with Planned Parenthood affiliates to harvest intact baby body parts. I would also like to talk about…Continue Reading

Analyzing The Heterodoxies Of The “Shadow Council”

By MAIKE HICKSON As some readers might recall, on May 25, 2015, the presidents of the German, Swiss, and French Bishops Conferences had organized a private conference at the Gregorian University in Rome. This “Shadow Council,” as it soon was called, was criticized for its secrecy and obliqueness. The suspicion arose that this meeting was intended for preparing some revolutionary strategies and argumentation in order to promote the liberalizing agenda at the upcoming October 2015…Continue Reading

In the meeting on climate change and modern slavery, the Pope warns against the idolatry of technocracy

Vatican City, 22 July 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis greeted the participants in the meeting “Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of cities” and in the Symposium “Prosperity, people and planet: achieving sustainable development in our cities ”, held in the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, whose chancellor is Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The events were attended by the mayors of major cities, local administrators and various…Continue Reading

Aggressive Obama, Passive National GOP . . . Is Third-Party Option Starting To Look Better?

By DEXTER DUGGAN House Speaker John Boehner said the recently released sting video of a national Planned Parenthood official at lunch, munching away and chatting about how to “crush” unborn babies to harvest their organs for money, was “disgusting.” Republican Boehner finally seemed to have found his voice in a Washington where he usually blends…Continue Reading

Is This What Determines Our Position On Common Core?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK The mail that we receive at First Teachers is overwhelmingly opposed to Common Core, the federal government’s effort to establish education standards for the country. Certain of our correspondents object to what they see as a liberal bias in Common Core’s curriculum, while others object to what they believe are confusing…Continue Reading

When Trump Talks, People Should Listen

By REY FLORES How many of you recall the old E.F. Hutton television commercials where everyone on an airplane would stop and listen to one man when he says, “My broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says….” The voiceover would then state: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Donald Trump can do the same…Continue Reading

Thinking About The Church And Our Lives As Catholics

By PHILIP TROWER (Editor’s Note: This essay is an abridged version of a 2009 talk Philip Trower gave to the David Foster Summer School in England.) + + + I want this evening to share some thoughts with you about what being a Catholic has come to mean to me since I was received into…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Like A Prophet Warning Of A Nightmare

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, by Anthony Esolen (Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Wilmington, DE, 2015); 222 pp. Available through www.isibooks.org. When many hear the word compulsion, they think of a totalitarian society or a state of imprisonment or associate the word with some addiction like drugs…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Like Love, Assent To Faith Is A Matter Of The Will

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Reaction to my column last week titled “Where Is There Room to Disagree With Jesus? In Hell!” included the following note from a Facebook follower. Kim wrote, “Perhaps the question posed to you was not worded correctly. How about this onea. . . . Is there a line where Catholic teachings are not something Catholics…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Why Is The Gospel Message Unique Among Religions?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 12 In this series of articles on apologetics, we have followed a logical sequence, moving from the simpler to the more complex. So, first we saw how it makes sense that truth is objective, and not subjective; that is, our minds do not create the truth, they learn it, discover it, and grasp it from…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 3 As we continued to examine the third mark of the Church last week, that she is catholic (or universal), we saw that all mankind is called to belong to the one true Church, the new People of God. Christ’s clear mandate to His apostles was to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In our parish it is a custom following the final blessing at Mass for the priest to lead the congregation in a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and a Hail Mary. This past Sunday during that prayer, I was reminded of the tradition in the late 1940s and the 1950s to offer prayers for the conversion of Russia following…Continue Reading

Put On The New Self

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15 Eph. 4:17, 20-24 John 6:24-35 In the second reading today St. Paul calls his Ephesian converts to a deeper conversion, emphatically stating: “I declare in the Lord.” He could not have used any language that would have been stronger to make his point. And what…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading