Crown and Bough

Monday, 19 March 2018

St. Joseph

What kind of man was St. Joseph?  The Bible tells us that he was a righteous man.  But when confronted with what looked like the impossible situation of a faithless bride, he did not do what would have been considered the "just" thing to do--renounce Mary as an adulteress and shun her.  Instead, he send her away quietly.  He has mercy on her, even when he believes he is the one who has been slighted -- when he is well within his rights to denounce her.  This is what righteousness looks like.

(It's not a concept new to the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, God is called righteous but "his mercy endures forever.")

What kind of man was (is!) St. Joseph, who plays his part and goes away quietly, standing like a backdrop to the holy family, a mountain in the distance, whose presence goes unremarked, unnoticed, but is utterly grounding?  What kind of man allows himself to be shuffled into the backdrop?  A true man, demonstrating a pure manhood; neither self-conscious, nor boastful.

I imagine him tenderly holding the child Jesus, delighting in him, as the Father in Heaven delights in us.  In the present environment of "toxic masculinity," how refreshing to know the carpenter with strong hands, cradling the baby who cradles the whole world in his.

St. Joseph, ora pro nobis.

No comments:

Post a Comment