It always amazes me that St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, has no speaking parts in the Bible.
While no quotes are attributed to him, scripture does reveal his lineage, his fear, his dream, his compassion in protecting Mary, and his courageous journey seeking refuge with his beloved Mary, eventually settling in a barn in Bethlehem.
Perhaps the greatest impact of Joseph is revealed in the life of Jesus. Joseph preparing Jesus, not only in the skill of carpentry, but as a faithful Jewish man and teacher is invaluable. While most credit appropriately goes to the Holy Spirit, and the mysterious truth that Jesus was both God and human, we cannot forget the critical efforts and love of Joseph and Mary.
I, and we, have much to learn from Joseph.
As a parent, his courage, his love, and his ability to raise his child inspires me as I attempt to do the same.
I am reminded of the familiar quote from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you feel, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Through the centuries, because of his love for Mary and Jesus and how that love has transformed our world, we remember how he made them feel, how he makes us feel as we recall his role in this greatest of stories.
We know the potential positive and negative impacts parents can have on our lives. Joseph, while likely not perfect, left his mark on his son and thus, the world.
In addition to his kindness and love, Joseph teaches us a lesson on behavior and reflection. Surely Joseph said many words, and taught many lessons, but his silence reminds us of the importance of both action and contemplation.
Joseph’s actions speak louder than words- all we have to do is look at who his son became as an adult.
His silence also reminds us to be reflective and contemplative. How important it is to allow God to speak to our hearts by carving out time to be quiet and intentional in our growing relationship with our Creator.
As we continue on this Advent journey, may we look to St. Joseph as a model of love, and may we call on his intercession to guide as in our journey with God who lives within our soul and within one another.