Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary

Guido Reni, 1642:  St Joseph


What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it—the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him, because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort—the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates—in knowing that God is constantly taking care of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me.

J. I. Packer, from Knowing God

On this day, March 19th, the church remembers Saint Joseph.

Yes, of course he obeyed God and took Mary as his wife – for better or worse as they say, but better was still ahead.  In the days preceding the birth of the Savior, there was the uncertainty of the life to follow, but that was surely eclipsed by the certainty of the life about to emerge in a stable.  As he settled into the rough quarters they were offered, he no doubt did his best to make the accommodations comfortable for He who was soon to arrive.

Joseph was first to prepare Him room.

I think of Joseph today, in these expectant days preceding Passion Week.  I feel his fearful heart, overshadowed only by a greater love.


Matthew 1:18-15

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.


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Rick Wilcox

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