Saint Joseph, the Hero

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. I love this solemnity! Joseph is a rock star in my home. He was a man of honor, integrity, and tremendous humility. While they were betrothed, he found out she was pregnant. Can you imagine how he felt when Mary came to him and told him about her encounter with the angel Gabriel?

Did he believe her right away or did he doubt her word? Did he think she’d been unfaithful or did he know she was telling the truth? Did he trust her but, knowing his own shortcomings, feel unworthy of the task at hand? Did he wonder if it was better to divorce her quietly and walk away?

The Church fathers have disagreed on the answers to these questions for centuries but one thing they do agree is that Joseph was a righteous and faith-filled man who trusted the Lord and was open to His plan for his life. As Joseph prayerfully contemplated what to do, an Angel appeared to him in a dream and filled him in on the whole story. God’s messenger encouraged him to have no fear and that God would be with him and Mary throughout this journey.

What he does next though is what makes him a hero to me. Not only did he set aside his own fear and questions but acted on the Angel’s instruction with courage and fortitude.

Joseph’s unwavering faith and implicit trust in God brings tears to my eyes. He gave his own “yes” to God as Mary had done earlier through the Archangel Gabriel. He agreed to be the helpmate to Mary’s New Eve as she gave birth to the new Adam, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we don’t know or fully understand how God is calling us to serve. And that’s okay. Like Joseph, we can question and doubt but when given direction from God we must act without fear, trusting He wants only the best for us. And like Joseph, we need to trust God even when the path is unclear and the outcome uncertain.

My spiritual director once told me that faith is the courage to want what God wants for us. So have faith as Joseph did. God will give you every skill and every ounce of courage needed to complete whatever He asks of you, just like He did for Joseph. The only thing you can be sure of is that the task, whatever it may be or however hard and uncomfortable it is, has been designed with love to draw you into a deeper relationship. Isn’t that the best place to be?

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years, is a full-time liturgist, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.

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