As we bring this year, dedicated to St. Joseph, to a close on Dec. 8, it is significant to summarize why this saint is so vital to our lives as Christians. One noteworthy title of St. Joseph that seems to capture his importance, particularly at this time, is “Pillar of Families.” The family is the foundation of society. There is much in our culture that is set against the integrity of the family. These very real obstacles can lead parents and children away from God, which may result in greater selfishness, unrest, division and even separation.
St. Joseph is a saint for our time in our need for the protection of families. He is called the Pillar of Families because St. Joseph is head of the Holy Family. God chose this humble and just man to lead, protect and defend Jesus—the Son of God and our Savior—and Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In other words, St. Joseph was entrusted with the care of the greatest of all families and he proved himself to be faithful.
At the heart of St. Joseph’s faithfulness is his complete trust in God. St. Joseph trusted God and was obedient to all that God asked him to do, without knowing any of the details or the difficulties that were involved. This included such things as:
• Receiving the message from the angel to take Mary his wife into his home who was with child through the power of the Holy Spirit
• Traveling to Bethlehem to pay the taxes and register for the census
• Leaving for Egypt to protect the baby Jesus from being murdered by Herod’s soldiers
• Returning from Egypt to raise Jesus in Nazareth
• Fulfilling his God-ordained roles as a model of manhood and fatherhood for the Christ Child
During this year, many people throughout the diocese have come to know St. Joseph in a more personal way. Let us continue, even as this Year of St. Joseph ends, to be devoted to this “just man” who will always lead us closer to our Heavenly Father. St. Joseph’s life glorifies God, and as we honor and welcome his help in our lives, we, too, glorify God Himself. What follows are two accounts of how St. Joseph’s model and guidance allowed them to trust in God.
Director of the Office for Catechesis and Evangelization
Published in the December 2021 Issue of Catholic Life Magazine