Gran Couva/Tabaquite parish priest Fr Meenuga Prabhudas MSFS shares his thoughts on St Joseph, whose feast day will be Thursday, March 19.
According to the chapter on St Joseph in The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints by Jacobus de Voragine, the Blessed Virgin Mary was a beautiful girl. When she was three years old, she was dedicated to God, and was left in the temple for the service of the Lord by her parents. When she turned 14 years old, the high priest asked her and her companions of that same age to return to their homes and be legally joined with their husbands.
The other girls obeyed but Mary refused to go saying that her parents had dedicated her to the service of the Lord, and that she had vowed her virginity to the Lord.
The high priest prayed, and the Lord revealed that all the unmarried but marriageable men of the house of David should bring a branch to the altar. One of these branches would bloom and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove would perch upon its tip according to the prophecy of Isaiah.
The man to whom this branch belonged would beyond doubt be the virgin’s spouse. Joseph, a carpenter, from the house of David, was one of the men who had come with a branch, but he withheld the branch and did not give it to the high priest to be placed before the altar, since he considered himself too old for Mary the young bride.
When things did not happen, the high priest prayed again and consulted the Lord. The divine voice responded that the one who had withheld his branch was going to be the spouse of Mary. When Joseph placed the branch before the altar it bloomed at once and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came and sat upon the branch.
Joseph was a humble person who descended from the Kings of Israel. I strongly advise all husbands as head of their families, to take pattern and example from this just and humble man.
Today our society is in crisis because our families are in crisis. The family consists of three inseparable elements (1) Father—The head of the family (2) Mother—The heart of the family (3) Children—The fruits of the parents’ love.
When the family is in crisis it is because the fatherhood is in crisis.
Fathers should follow the example of St Joseph, a noble, loving, obedient, caring and praying man. How many fathers today spend quality time with God?
Like St Joseph, a father should guide his children to lead a prayerful life. Children learn by observation and example. If a child sees his or her parents praying sincerely every day, he or she in turn will be guided to a prayerful life. A true head of the family (father) must have God as a guide and inspiration in his daily life.
St Joseph was Jesus’ teacher on the human level—he taught Jesus how to speak, to say Abba, walk, become a craftsman, pray the words of the psalms. Fathers should teach their children qualities such as kindness and forgiveness, teach them not only to become good citizens of their country but children worthy of Heaven.
St Joseph was always available to the needs of his family. He prayed with them, worked with them, went to the temple with them, recreated with them and finally died in the arms of those he loved most.
Today many fathers are absentees through divorce, separation, working too many jobs or engaging in things such as alcohol abuse, gambling, partying and even sports.
When our present Pope was a young bishop, he experienced many problems in his diocese. He however had a lot of faith in St Joseph. He would write all his problems on a slip of paper, problems to which he felt he had no solutions, and place them under the statue of St Joseph.
Pope Francis claimed that he received many graces and blessings as well as many miracles resulting from his childlike devotion to St Joseph.
When Joseph found that Mary was with child before their marriage he was distressed and suspected her of infidelity. If he had reported her to the high priest, she would have been stoned to death according to the law, but his love and compassion for her was great, so he decided to break off with her privately. God intervened and revealed to him the mystery of Mary’s conception and His plan for Joseph’s life.
We all know the story of how King Herod wanted to kill the child Jesus, and how Joseph fled with his family to Egypt, a long and perilous journey where they remained amidst strangers until Herod’s death. Joseph proved his love and commitment to his family time and time again.
Here are two suggestions you can try if you would like St Joseph to sanctify your family.
You can also pray like this: Jesus meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us. Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us. Heart of St Joseph always faithful to Jesus and Mary, intercede for us. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save our souls. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give my heart and soul, assist me in my final agony. May I breathe forth my soul in peace. Amen.