Saint Joseph

Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth. Nazareth, it means: “Vil­lage of the shoot”. Why is that name impor­tant? Joseph was of David’s line, the town of Nazareth was set­tled out of noth­ing about 100 years before the birth of our Lord. The founders of the vil­lage were return­ing Davidic exiles. They knew the prophecy of Jer­im­iah which said the Mes­siah would come after “70 weeks of years” or 7 x 70 = 490 years. The time was right, the lin­eage was still estab­lished. They were mov­ing back to the Promised Land. They knew some­one from the Davidic line would be the Mes­siah and the time seemed cor­rect. Why name the vil­lage Nazareth?

Isa­iah Chap­ter 11 The Ideal Davidic King

1 But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blos­som. 2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wis­dom and of under­stand­ing, A spirit of coun­sel and of strength, a spirit of knowl­edge and of fear of the Lord, 3 and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. Not by appear­ance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, 4 But he shall judge the poor with jus­tice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruth­less with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. 5 Jus­tice shall be the band around his waist, and faith­ful­ness a belt upon his hips.

Joseph, as you well know, is silent in the Bible. Not one word is attrib­uted to him in the Gospels or else­where. How can we know so much about him? How can there be so much to study about him, so much to emu­late? First, he was vis­ited by an angel 4 times and per­fectly and imme­di­ately obeyed the angel each time, and to nec­es­sary and great effect. It inter­est­ing that scrip­ture never men­tions that Joseph was afraid of the angelic vis­i­tors. Look else­where in scrip­ture, in most cases, a human who is vis­ited by an angel is in abject ter­ror. Not Joseph.

Joseph is the earthly father of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet lit­tle is said of him and noth­ing is said by him in scrip­ture. How­ever, there was an earthly king who was the fas­ci­na­tion of his time. Titled “The Great” while he was still liv­ing; Herod was a favorite study of his­to­ri­ans and con­tem­po­rary com­men­ta­tors in the time of St. Joseph’s life. Herod was big­ger than life, a great archi­tect. a skilled war­rior, a hand­some and charis­matic politi­cian, a world class builder, an eco­nomic pow­er­house, a mur­der­ous tyrant, para­noid, insane and a despot. Much is writ­ten about Herod the Great, his time, the coun­try he ruled over, the econ­omy, the build­ing projects, the cities he was estab­lish­ing. There are even details on how well he treated his masons and car­pen­ters. Much can be learned about St. Joseph from the life and times of Herod the Great. For more on this approach to under­stand­ing St. Joseph, see: St. Joseph and His World by Mike Aquilina, Scep­tor Pub­lish­ers, 2020 ISBN 9781594173936.

A Favorite St. Joseph Prayer:

Oh, St. Joseph, whose pro­tec­tion is so great, so prompt, so strong, before the throne of God, I place in you all my inter­ests and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your pow­er­ful inter­ces­sion, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spir­i­tual bless­ings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, hav­ing engaged here below your heav­enly power, I may offer my thanks­giv­ing and homage to the most Lov­ing of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary con­tem­plat­ing you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and Ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls — pray for me. Amen.