Honoring St. Joseph
I was delighted to learn that Pope Francis has dedicated this year to St. Joseph. On December 8, 2020, the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, the pope issued an apostolic letter, “Patris Corde,” in which he reflected on St. Joseph in a very personal way. I have been deeply inspired by the Holy Father’s presentation of Joseph.
Pope Francis reveals Joseph as a tender and loving father, obedient, accepting, trusting, a carpenter, creatively courageous in the face of life’s adversities, the earthly shadow of God. He writes: “Each of us can discover in Joseph—the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence—an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”
In his obedience to God’s call, Joseph embraced the mystery of the Incarnation, caring and faithful to the woman he loved and the child he fostered as his own. Together, Mary and Joseph created a home in which Jesus would grow and mature. The values he experienced and learned at Nazareth would mark his earthly life.
Throughout the history of the Carmelite Order, St. Joseph has held prominence as patron, protector and guide. St. Teresa has passed down to her Carmelite daughters and sons special devotion to St. Joseph. “I took for my advocate and lord the glorious St. Joseph…. It is an amazing thing the great many favors God has granted me through the mediation of this blessed saint.” The Carmelite tradition has recognized St. Joseph not only as patron of Carmelite life, but the model of all who practice prayer.
I encourage others to read Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, which can be found on the Vatican website. To quote the Holy Father: “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”