Year of St. Joseph: good husband

We begin a series of articles on St. Joseph, which will help us to deepen our understanding of the figure of the holy patriarch, and to "grow in love for this great saint, so that we may be led to implore his intercession and imitate his virtues, as well as his resolve," as Pope Francis encourages us.

Alejandro Vázquez-Dodero-December 21, 2020-Reading time: 3 minutes

In his apostolic letter of December 8, 2009, he wrotePatris Corde- Pope Francis invites us to live a year dedicated to the spouse of Mary and, therefore, father of Jesus Christ: St. Joseph. This on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his declaration as patron of the universal Church.

A very special espousal and paternity, since he was a man of great faith and many other virtues, some of which we will address in this first fascicle and others.

A "normal" man, an exemplary man

First of all, we should consider what would be the first impression of a "normal" man, just one more among his own people, who finds himself involved in the great mission of carrying out the double vocation of spouse of the Mother of God and father of the Son of God. For a first impression would be astonishment and gratitude, for sure. Because he was a man of God, and only from that condition we understand that he embraced with generosity the plan traced for him from Above; but amazed before such an exalted mission, and in any case grateful for the trust that the Lord had placed in him.

In what does the greatness of this saint consist? In that he was the husband of Mary and father of Jesus.

Evidently his behavior is an example to follow, and very accessible, because, as we said, he was a normal, simple man. Although the Lord endowed him with many virtues, and to a supreme degree, he did not have the divine gifts that his immaculate wife and his son, redeemer of humanity, did receive.

Good husband, committed and free

The Jewish tradition of the time led Myriam -who would be the Blessed Virgin- to marry Joseph, the artisan of Nazareth. The relatives with whom Myriam lived at that time would be in charge of the preparations for the wedding ceremony, since her parents, Joachim and Anna, had probably already passed away.

Joseph belonged to the house of David, and the holy Gospel says -Mt. 1:19- that he was a righteous man. That man was entrusted to Mary as her husband, without prejudice to the firm determination of the young Jewish girl to remain a virgin forever, as we can deduce from the answer she gave to the Archangel Gabriel -Lk. 1:34- when he offered her to be the Mother of God: How is this to be done? Because I do not know a man. Thus, Joseph would unite himself to his wife by submitting to the virginity that she would propose to him, thus consecrating himself as her virginal husband.

The chastity of St. Joseph, fruit of his pure and generous heart, must be united, as Pope Francis suggests to us in the Patris Cordeto his free spirit, for chastity".is in being free from the desire to possess in all areas of life. Only when a love is chaste is it a true love.". He loved because he wanted to, and in this way, accepting Mary in and from her circumstances.

From his purity and freedom he fully accepted Mary, who was in a state in the space of time between their betrothal union and the moment when, according to Jewish tradition, the husband should take his wife and take her to his own home. He humbly assumed the pregnancy of his wife, accepted the divine plan for him and Mary, which was that he should limit himself to being the legal father of Jesus, and no more.

From the moment he received the commission to take care of the Virgin, marrying her, Joseph put that mission - freely, because he wanted to - before any other project that he had in hand, that he had planned for the future. Generous, dedicated, in love.

A good husband, a committed husband, a free husband.

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