Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Joseph

I'm a dad. I have to be a big fan of St. Joseph. Occasionally, I actually have the audacity to think that my job is tough. Not that it's easy or anything, but Joseph had a pretty long row to hoe. Imagine God showing up one day and saying, "Look, what I really need for you to do is to take care of the two most important people that will ever exist in the history of the universe. These are my greatest treasures, and I'm delivering them into your keeping. Think you can handle that?"

Then you find out that one is God Incarnate and the other is immaculately conceived and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. And folks are going to try to kill all of you.

I have a hard enough time worrying about how I'm doing with my own wife and kids. I'd probably lose my ever-loving mind if I had to face the added pressure of being the caretaker of God and His Mother.

If you check the Scriptures, you don't get much on Joseph. I doubt that he minds. He knows where the focus should be. It's kind of infuriating when you hear folks who just want to harp on the relative silence of the Bible about him. The silence itself is instructive, I think. And let's face it, God isn't just going to choose any random guy to fill this role.

Should somebody be interested in a more robust portrayal of Joseph, you might want to check out the Protovengelium of James. It's not inspired or anything, but it does give an interesting account of Mary and Joseph's early days. My favorite part is probably where he's trying to deal with Mary's pregnancy.

And Joseph was greatly afraid, and retired from her, and considered what he should do in regard to her. And Joseph said: If I conceal her sin, I find myself fighting against the law of the Lord; and if I expose her to the sons of Israel, I am afraid lest that which is in her be from an angel, and I shall be found giving up innocent blood to the doom of death. What then shall I do with her? I will put her away from me secretly. And night came upon him; and, behold, an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream, saying: Be not afraid for this maiden, for that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she will bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. And Joseph arose from sleep, and glorified the God of Israel, who had given him this grace; and he kept her.

Oh, and as a side note, for anyone who tries to attack the Blessed Mother's virginity based on that whole "brothers of Lord" bit in Scripture, the PoJ explains all that as well.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

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