Within the Protestant faith I didn’t look to Saints at all, but within the Catholic faith, I have definitely overlooked Saint-Joseph. Unlike Mary, Saint Joseph was a simple man who wasn’t free of sin. However, the stepfather of Jesus had many virtues that we can and should aspire to as Catholics.
We never hear Saint Joseph speak in the bible and thus all we have of him is the example of his virtuous life.
Saint Joseph was a husband to Mary and a father to baby Jesus. The Catholic tradition teaches us that just as Mary is our spiritual Mother, Saint Joseph is also our spiritual father.
With his many virtues, Saint Joseph is a model for manhood. Moreover, he is a model for women looking for a candidate if they have marriage as a vocation.
SAINT JOSEPH AND HIS VIRTUES
Some of the virtues of Saint Joseph are the following :
- The virtue of Humility : Saint Joseph knew that he could do nothing without God. He was OK living a life unnoticed by everyone and putting himself at the service of others. He worked hard day in and day out, but he did not draw attention to himself. He did the right thing even when nobody was watching him.
- The virtue of Prayerfulness : Saint Joseph is considered the master of the interior spiritual life. He was a man of action, but also a man of disciplined prayer and he understood that they both go together. He also offered his work as a form of sacrifice to the Lord.
- The virtue of Discipline : Saint Joseph had the discipline to pray & provide for his family. He was willing to suffer for the good of others. He understood the ability to deny himself for the sake of others. Saint Joseph did what he needed to do even when he did not feel like it. He suffered to keep his commitments instead of following his feelings.
- The virtue of Obedience: Obedience properly understood is a foundation for holiness. Saint Joseph understood that well. He trusted God with the plan he had for Mary, baby Jesus and himself.
- The virtue of Chastity: Saint Joseph and Mary were called to chastity. The Catholic tradition teaches us that he never knew Mary as Adam knew Eve. Saint Joseph was called to honour and respect his bride in total purity, but never to be sexually intimate with her. His love for her was pure and did not seek selfishly the desires of the flesh. The Catholic tradition teaches us that they had no other children together than Jesus.*
Saints are models for us. Without idolizing them, we should study their lives and allow them to get us even closer to Jesus. They are not means of salvation, rather examples of what a holy life looks like.
As a former protestant, I understand the doubts that can arise in regards to the devotion of Saints. However, one cannot ignore the life of the people closest to Christ.
Mary and Joseph knew Jesus personally, raised him and were touched by him deeply. Their very roles as stepfather and mother of Christ were chosen by God himself.
With this in mind, please note that Saint Joseph has been proven to be extremely powerful as an intercessor and spiritual father. His very name “Joseph” means to increase. Therefore, if you want to be a great saint, you should ask for the intercession of the great increaser, Saint Joseph!
Saint Joseph is known to protect your family and lead you to a great husband if that is your vocation according to the will of God.
Asking Saint Joseph for intercession is recommended by many Catholic Saints throughout church history.
Finally, as Catholics, we have the advantage of praying with all the Saints in heaven, so are we using all of these treasures of our faith ?
Notes: *Protestants often oppose this view of Mary being a perpetual virgin and Joseph being chaste due to the passages in the bible that express that Jesus had brothers & sisters.
Mark 6:3, KJV
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”
John 2:12 “he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days”.
Luke 8:19-21 “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you,” Jesus famously rejects them: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it”.
What Protestants often forget is that the english translation of the greek, Hebrew and Aramaic often lacks in clarity.
The word “brother” here in Greek adelphios could refer to step-siblings, “half”siblings or not even siblings at all, but cousins.
For centuries theologians have debated whether Jesus had siblings or not, but the Catholic tradition teaches us that he did not. Catholics are meant to recognize the authority of the teachings of the Church on that matter and thus believe Joseph and Mary were chaste together.
I pray this article serves you well.
Meet the author
Johanna – Hebrew for “God is Gracious”
I’m a former New Ager, Yogi & spiritual nomad turned Christian after a moment of illumination in 2017. I created this website to help you differentiate between light & darkness and to answer questions about spiritual topics from a Catholic Christian worldview. ->Find me on IG @myjourneytojesus