Friday 24th October 2014

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:

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

">

Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

popep6

Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope: No To Death Penalty And To Inhuman Prison Conditions

pope626

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday called on all men and women of good will to fight for the abolishment of the death penalty in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions. The Pope was addressing a group of members of the International Association of Criminal Law whom he received in the Vatican. In his discourse…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: The Limitless Language Of God’s Love

pope563

(Vatican Radio) “We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit” who gives us the strength to love, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning at Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports: Pope Francis centered his homily on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience “that led him to…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church, The Body Of Christ

pope625

(Vatican Radio) Divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings and marginalization do not help the Church to grow as the Body of Christ, they shatter it into many pieces, they dismember it. Instead we should remember that we – as the Body of Christ – are called to appreciate the gifts and the quality of others in our communities. The Church as the Body…Continue Reading

Pope To Consistory: We Are Witnessing A Phenomenon Of Terrorism

In Briefing, Fr. Lombardi Says Interventions Reaffirmed That You Cannot Kill in the Name of God Vatican City, October 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Dedicating this morning’s Consistory of Cardinals to the Middle East, and particularly the region’s Christians, Pope Francis has called on the international community to do their part as well as his fellow prelates to protect…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Does Contraception Lead To Abortion?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “No matter how thin you slice it, ladies and gentlemen, family planning is a euphemism.…Continue Reading

The Purpose Of Education

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK It struck me many times during the 30 years I spent teaching history at a public high school in the suburbs of New York City that my understanding of the purpose of an education was starkly different from that of the education establishment. The establishment stressed the importance of teaching students…Continue Reading

Musings And Concerns On The Synod

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C. This October 9 commentary is reprinted with his permission. The Wanderer went to press this week on October 16, prior to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ final report and three days before the synod concluded…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Is The Church In The U.S. Unwittingly Helping To Promote The Secularist-Leftist Agenda?

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I am certain that there are no inaccuracies in your recent reply about wholesale anointing of the sick. However, I would like to call your attention to an address by Pope Francis last February 26. According to the text reprinted in The Wanderer of March 6, the Holy Father said that “every elderly person, every person over the age…Continue Reading

Purgatory: A Place Of Mercy

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Feast Of All Souls Readings: Wisdom 3:1-9 Romans 5:5-11 John 6:37-40 Today we have the great privilege of praying in a special way for those who have died yet still await the fullness of life in Heaven. We remember today the holy souls who are in Purgatory. It is rare that we hear about Purgatory…Continue Reading

Pope’s Message To Bishop Of Avila . . . St. Teresa Tells Everyone: “Do Not Cease To Be Joyful!”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is a translation of the message that Pope Francis sent October 15 to the bishop of Avila, Spain, Jesus Garcia Burillo, on the occasion of the opening of the Teresian Jubilee Year for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, doctor of the Church. The saint’s liturgical memorial is observed October…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Being Exposed To Synod’s Deliberations Is Not For The Fainthearted

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). “Peering into freedom’s ideal law,” as St. James’ letter exhorts and as the fathers of…Continue Reading

Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Evidently, Jesus did not stay with the apostles and disciples for long after the Resurrection. He founded a Church, His Church. Now, did He found it as a visible Church, with authority to guide, teach, and sanctify the people? Or didn’t He? Either He did or He didn’t. It is one or the…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading