19 Mar – Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Joseph is a descendant of the house of David. A layman and a carpenter, he was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. He was a visionary who was visited by angels, and is noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him.
Prayer to St. Joseph
Blessed Joseph, husband of Mary, be with us this day.
You protected and cherished the Virgin;
loving the Child Jesus as your Son,
you rescued Him from the danger of death.
Defend the Church, the household of God,
purchased by the blood of Christ.
Guardian of the Holy Family,
be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us
the strength to flee from error
and wrestle with the powers of corruption
so that in life we may grow in holiness
and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.
- Patron Saint Index
2 Sam 7:4-5,12-14,16
“I will be a father to him and he a son to me…”
Growing up, I had an absent father. He was just never there. He dropped out of our lives in my primary school years and upended our family’s lives. I am still not certain why he left us in the lurch or if he was ‘forced by circumstances’ and I will probably never ever know.
So, I never had the experiences of most normal boys; my father didn’t teach me how to knot a tie, my father didn’t teach me how to play sports, my father didn’t teach me how to play the guitar, or most importantly then… how to chat and make friends with girls in my teenage years. My father wasn’t there when I did exceptionally well in my ‘O’ levels and he wasn’t there to share my one of proudest days in my life when I passed out as an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces.
Suffice to say, I never had a father figure in my life. I give thanks constantly that I wasn’t led down some unsavoury paths growing up. It would have been so easy to be led astray. I believe that it was due to the daily prayers of my grandmother and mother, and their devotion to our Blessed Mother that prevented my brother and myself from straying.
Another possible reason of not straying was because of my secondary school, St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), where I spent some of the best years of my life. It was in SJI where I learnt about St Joseph and our motto, “Ora et Labora”, “Pray and Work”. Don’t those three words give us a good introduction to St Joseph? We learnt in the bible that St Joseph was a hardworking worker, that he was also an honourable man, that he was humble and that he trusted in the Lord completely.
In addition, it was also in SJI where I picked up some of the more important life skills – to be responsible for our actions, to keep our word and promises, to be there with your friends and that we are all the same, even though we have different religions, straight or curly hair, rich or poor. We are all brothers that share a common bond. Of course, my brothers taught me how to play the guitar and how to speak to girls on the bus.
With St Joseph as our patron, through his prayers and intercessions, those years in SJI helped to mould our characters and become men, especially for boys like me that did not have a father figure. St Joseph, in his own quiet way, became that father figure to me.
Looking back on those years, it was truly God’s blessings and His perfect plan that He led me out of an unfortunate situation.
God’s plan is best if we let Him lead us. This can be seen from St Joseph’s example when he wanted to divorce Mary informally, to spare her embarrassment. But God told him not to do that and that the child that Mary was carrying had been conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he must call the child Jesus (Matt 1:20). St Joseph again trusted fully in the Lord when he was told in a dream to escape into Egypt with Mary and the child Jesus. He was a man of action and immediately acted upon the instructions of God, to accept Mary in her condition, to escape from Herod and to move back to Nazareth from Egypt.
St Joseph must have been beset with fears and questions, not least that the child he was raising with Mary was God himself, but he was humble enough to let God work through him. It is something that I will also have to learn from him — to take on humility and to let God lead me, especially in this time of my life where I feel that I am at a crossroads in the desert. I know that God the Father will never abandon us and I pray that I will have the humility, grace and strength, like St Joseph, to trust, to let go and let God.
“All that is vile reject, Heaven will e’er protect
Sons of St Joseph, valiant and true.”
(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)
Prayer: Good and gracious God, grant us the grace to be humble and be open to your will for us. For we know that your plan is perfect and that You will always want the best for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for St Joseph, he to whom You entrusted Your son to be raised in the ways of man, he to whom is for us, the example for humility and action. An example for us to follow and fully trust in Your ways without complaint, without fuss.