The ABC’s of Catholic Doctrine
by Lianne Tiu
A famous painter once showed Blessed Pope Pius IX a picture of heaven. The pope greatly admired it. There were the Holy Trinity, Our Lady, the angels and the saints. But he noticed someone missing and asked, “Where is St. Joseph?” No one can blame the painter for forgetting the patriarch. For there was nothing special about Joseph to attract our attention. The Bible hardly mentioned about him. Not a single word was spoken by him in the Gospel. By world’s standard, he had no achievement which was worth recognizing.
God, however, chose Joseph to take care of two greatest treasures—Jesus and Mary. He chose this craftsman of Nazareth to be the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus. He was given one of the most difficult and responsible missions. It was not easy because of the exceptional qualities of Mary (who was daughter of God the Father, mother of God the Son, and spouse of God the Holy Spirit). Besides, the child whom he had to care for was the Creator of the universe. This meant that he was inferior to the persons subordinated to him. Yet he worked well and carried out his duties as a family man with love intending to please God. He was always obedient to His plans.
Joseph was not, after all, such an ordinary man as he seemed. He went completely unnoticed because of his humility. No wonder when the artist told Pope Pius IX that he would put St. Joseph almost hidden among the saints, the Holy Father pointed his finger close beside our Lord and said, “No, you will put him there, for that is his place in heaven.” In 1870, he declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church. Joseph is the greatest of the saints after Our Lady.
Reference: Joseph of Nazareth by Federico Suarez; A Vademecum of Stories by Rev Mauricio Rufino; “St. Joseph: The Greatest Male Saint Who Ever Lived” by St. Josemaria Institute; Catholic Treasury: http://www.catholic treasury.info/joseph.php
As published in the March 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.