Ten Reasons Why I love Saint Joseph

One of the most loved figures within Christianity is certainly St Joseph, whose silence makes him more popular. Joseph preached and convinced by his total trust and obedient faith more than his words alone, which often lead to disarray.

Personally speaking I never had a particular devotion to St Joseph. However, since Pope Francis dedicated a whole year to St Joseph in order to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the declaration of this saint as patron of the universal Church something was moved within my heart. Today I say that what Pope Francis intended by dedicating this year, namely, to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal, as he rightly points out in his Apostolic Letter regarding St Joseph, Patris Corde, has happened in my life.

If I were to ask myself, why do I love St Joseph, what would my reply be? Since love is multifaceted, I would answer that there are many reasons why I do love this great saint, the Light of Patriarchs. First, I love St Joseph because he lived closely to Jesus and Mary. St John Henry Newman tells us: He is Holy Joseph, because according to the opinion of a great number of doctors, he, as well as St. John Baptist, was sanctified even before he was born. He is Holy Joseph, because his office, of being spouse and protector of Mary, specially demanded sanctity. He is Holy Joseph, because no other Saint but he lived in such and so long intimacy and familiarity with the source of all holiness, Jesus, God incarnate, and Mary, the holiest of creatures.

 Second, I love St Joseph because his intercession is powerful and his influence with God is so convincing. Having St Joseph as your spiritual father helps you grow in holiness. St Teresa of Avila states: Knowing by experience St. Joseph’s astonishing influence with God, I would wish to persuade everyone to honor him with particular devotion. I have always seen those who honored him in a special manner make progress in virtue, for this heavenly protector favors in a striking manner the spiritual advancement of souls who commend themselves to him.”

Third, another reason I tend to love St Joseph is because my love for Jesus and Mary can now be complete. Let us never forget that the Holy Family consists of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. St Josemaría Escriva instructs us on this point by this simple yet profound reflection: Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch.

Fourth, St Joseph’s care of us is total. He takes care of all our needs. Can I not love him if he cares for me totally? St Thomas Aquinas convinces me on this point when he explains: Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.

Fifth, I love St Joseph because he teaches me what responsible fatherhood really is. Pope Leo XIII demonstrates this great reality in Joseph’s life when he says: Joseph, of royal blood, united by marriage to the greatest and holiest of women, reputed the father of the Son of God, passed his life in labor, and won by the toil of the artisan the needful support of his family.

Sixth, I love St Joseph because this Chaste Guardian of the Virgin inspires me how to love my Mother Mary, his Chaste Spouse. Blessed William Joseph Chaminade says: We wonder why the Gospel makes so little mention of St. Joseph. But did it not say everything when it taught us that he was the husband of Mary?

Seventh, I love St Joseph because when I pray to him my prayers are heard. Again, St Thomas Aquinas tells me: There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to St. Joseph is unlimited: It extends to all our needs, and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard.

 Eighth, I love St Joseph because he is a solid teacher of interior life with Jesus. St Josemaría tells me: In human life, Joseph was Jesus’ teacher in their daily contact, full of refined affection, glad to deny himself to take better care of Jesus. Isn’t that reason enough for us to consider this just man, this holy patriarch, in whom the faith of the Old Covenant comes to full fruition, as a master of interior life? Interior life is nothing but continual and direct conversation with Christ, so as to become one with him. And Joseph can tell us many things about Jesus. Therefore, never neglect devotion to him—Ite ad Ioseph: “Go to Joseph”—as Christian tradition puts it in the words of the Old Testament (Gen 41:55)”.

Ninth, St Joseph is the object of my love for God because he draws me to the Lord by helping me live the virtues he himself lived with such an extraordinary generosity of heart. St Madeleine Sophie Barat makes me aware of this reality when she reflects: Let us love Jesus above all, let us love Mary as our mother; but then, how could we keep from loving Joseph, who was so intimately united to both Jesus and Mary? And how can we honor him better than by imitating his virtues? Now, what else did he do in all his life but contemplate, study, and adore Jesus, even in the midst of his daily labors? Behold, therefore, our model.

 Tenth, I love St Joseph because physically and spiritually he held Jesus, God Incarnate, in his arms and the arms of his heart. Blessed Gabrielle Allegra says: In our time Our Lady has helped us comprehend and love her dear and chaste husband, St. Joseph. She has told us of the mystery surrounding him and of his greatness. She has let us know something of her love for St. Joseph, that most lovable saint who for years held the Word made flesh in his arms.

I can keep enlisting all sorts of various reasons why I do love St Joseph, and rightly so! This man is a great saint indeed! But let me conclude these simple reflections by resorting to the prayer Pope Francis wrote to the Head of the Holy Family, as he accompanied us throughout the Year of St Joseph:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

 

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Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap was born in San Gwann on August 26 1972. After being educated in governmental primary and secondary schools as well as at the Naxxar Trade School he felt the call to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order. After obtaining the university requirements he entered the Capuchin friary at Kalkara on October 12 1993. A year after he was ordained a priest, precisely on 4 September 2004, his superiors sent him to work with patients as a chaplain first at St. Luke's Hospital and later at Mater Dei. In 2007 Fr Mario obtained a Master's Degree in Hospital Chaplaincy from Sydney College of Divinity, University of Sydney, Australia. From November 2007 till March 2020 Fr Mario was one of the six chaplains who worked at Mater Dei Hospital., Malta's national hospital. Presently he is a chaplain at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. Furthermore, he is a regular contributor in the MUMN magazine IL-MUSBIEĦ, as well as doing radio programmes on Radio Mario about the spiritual care of the sick.