What to say? He said so little himself, there is not one line in the Bible quoting him. But this man spent thirty years raising and training Jesus Christ. Day after day he taught Jesus, working at hard manual labor, providing for the holy family in utter loyalty and faith and humility. Who was he, and why is he so important?

Pope John Paul II devoted an apostolic exhortation Guardian of the Redeemer to him.

I’ve had close to two decades of fascination of him, and the pleasure to devote part of a radio show heading into this big weekend in a lively conversation with Holy Land expert Steve Ray about the man Joseph, whose solmenity the Catholic Church celebrates on March 19th. He is on historical record in the geneology of Jesus, though he remains elusive in his role as strength of his home. What John Paul II grasped is this:

What is crucially important here is the sanctification of daily life, a sanctification which each person must acquire according to his or her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to all people: “St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies;…he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things-it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues…

To me he represents a strong and quiet strength. His appeal is transcendent. He is celebrated today universally. His fatherhood perpetually endures.


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