Sunday, 27 May 2018

Chartres 2018: Meditations (2)

Saint Joseph: A Perfect Model Of A Husband


It must be said again and again in the face of all the distortions of our times: marriage is the matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman constitute between themselves a community of all life, ordered in the first place by its nature towards the generation and education of children and the good of the spouses.

This reality belongs to the order of creation. It is something willed by God from the very beginning.

Unfortunately it has been damaged by sin, and it is so gravely attacked today that we need to remind ourselves that the marriage union can only be the indissoluble alliance of a man and a woman.

Major ideas
  • Christ saves marriage and family by coming into the marriage and the family.
  • Saint Joseph, a perfect model of a husband.
  • The protector! His Mission: to protect the Holy Family.
  • Mission accomplished!
  • Saint Joseph guides and encourages spouses and parents in their path of holiness.
  • Spiritual and supernatural fecundity of spouses and parents; to radiate and to go beyond even the family circle.
  • Saint Joseph, master of the two loves; love of charity, human love.

Christ, the healer of our souls, never ceases take care for our wounds, and especially those of the family. This is how Christ restored marriage to its original dignity by healing it with his grace. For that he has elevated it to the rank of sacrament, so that the spouses are especially supported by their grace to allow them to love each other faithfully and to be truly Christian parents for their children.

But Christ did not just sanctify marriage from the outside. Let us note that he sanctified it from within... The Word of God wanted to be born into a true family. Coming to fulfill our Redemption, Christ extended his work of salvation to all the realities that make up our lives, beginning with the family, without which none of us would have been born.

Naturally, each solitary man needs a family, a community, a society to grow and flourish. Left to his own strength, without the protection of a home, a solitary man would disappear almost immediately after his appearance on this earth.

This fundamental and genetic reality is inscribed in the very nature of man as desired by his Creator. Original sin did not change this basic structure, but it profoundly disrupted its concrete realisation. In a context in which societies hardly recognise the true structure of the family, it is up to the Church, mother and educator of the peoples, to recall the meaning of the family as responsible motherhood and fatherhood.

And for that, the Church constantly turns our eyes towards the Holy Family.

By making Saint Joseph the head of the Holy Family, God wanted to show us what real fatherhood and matrimony are. He also gives us a perfect model of a husband.

Let’s look at Saint Joseph: he is truly the husband of the Virgin Mary. Within the Holy Family, he fully and silently fulfills a fundamental mission, which teaches us, educates us, enlightens us, shows us what it is to be married.

Certainly the couple constituted by Mary and Joseph have something unique: they were both chosen to constitute the family of the Son of God who became, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Son of Man. Jesus owes his humanity only to his Mother and she lived with Joseph in perfect chastity. This is why Mary and Joseph are examples both for those who choose celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven and for Christian spouses because their union reveals the dignity and beauty of sacramental marriage.

The mission of Saint Joseph also has something unique: he has accepted a very special mission: that of protecting the Holy Family. He is present in all the vicissitudes that accompanied the first stages of our Saviour’s life in the flesh. And Mary found in Joseph a protector, an unwavering and faithful affection, a support for every moment.

Joseph is not crushed by the mystery, but, faithful to the particular grace that has been given to him, he holds his place, he fulfills perfectly the mission entrusted to him. He is truly “the righteous man,” the one who is always perfectly adjusted to the will of God as soon as it is manifested to him, including when that will seem very confusing and unexpected. In this sense, St. Joseph recapitulates the whole Old Covenant. A member of the royal tribe of Judah, descendant of King David, he appears as someone always perfect according to the heart of God. He lives all the requirements of the covenant that the Lord has made with his people. A father who acts in the image of St. Joseph will be able to give clear directions to his children, he will teach them to recognise and love the requirements of natural and divine law, he will prepare them to take their full place in the divine plan.

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph knew all the requirements of marriage, which is an indissoluble, faithful and fruitful alliance. It supposes the total gift of the spouses, with all that they have, and especially all that they are. Because of the consequences of sin, to keep oneself faithful, to grow in the total and selfless gift of oneself, presupposes a great spiritual struggle and requires the grace communicated by the sacrament of marriage. 

The perfection of Mary and Joseph does not distance them from us, quite the contrary. Their example reveals what God can achieve in this double human existence: the incarnation of the Word is not the consequence of the fidelity and virtue of the Virgin Mary or Saint Joseph; but rather it is the incarnation of the Word that communicates to them the very specific grace of being fully faithful to their mission! In the same way, the sacrament of marriage is a treasure of graces that allows the spouses to be faithful to their vocation. From this treasure of graces, the spouses can always draw: they will then find in it the strength to be holy spouses and parents.

This holy couple, Mary and Joseph, were rewarded with the greatest fecundity possible: to give the world its Saviour, to communicate to mankind the God-made-man. By living fully with sacramental grace, Christian spouses participate in this work of salvation: they become credible signs of the presence of God in this world. Thus they are able to have a real spiritual and supernatural fecundity which resounds well beyond their own homes and their children. Moreover, a couple who have to face the ordeal of infertility can also benefit from this fecundity, invisible to the eyes of many, and yet very precious in the eyes of God.

The spontaneous and spousal love that Joseph bore to Mary was raised by grace to a dimension that we will only discover in Heaven. But there remains a human love, with all its dimensions of delicacy, self-sacrifice, perseverance and courage. As a wife, the Virgin Mary was able to count on the unfailing support of Joseph, her husband.


As husband, St. Joseph remained the man of silence. He has perfectly accomplished what St. John, another great contemplative of the Incarnate Word, has written: “Let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Schooled by St Joseph, the Christian husband learns to manifest the total gift of himself by his generosity, the quality of his presence, the strength of his patience, the perseverance of his hope. 

O Saint Joseph, enlighten our paths, obtain for each Christian couple all the graces they need to accomplish their mission and their vocation.

No comments: