Strong, Silent Type
Monday March 19th 2007, 3:07 am
Filed under: Patristics

What a great day. It’s the feast of St. Joseph — and I beg your prayers today for a Joseph I know, a dear friend, who’s undergoing surgery for liver cancer. Please pray that he will be completely cured and may have many more years of active service of the Lord.

I love this feast, and not only because it’s one of the patronal feasts of Italy, but because St. Joseph is such a quiet giant in the New Testament. For those of us who talk too much and write too much, he’s an important corrective. Earlier this month, I recommended Father Joseph Lienhard’s book St. Joseph in Early Christianity: Devotion and Theology: A Study and an Anthology of Patristic Texts, and I can’t help but endorse the book again. It’s been my constant companion through this month. If you want to draw closer to the human father whom Jesus shares with you, order the book on his feast!

St. John Chrysostom reflects on St. Joseph:

[Matthew] introduces Joseph as contributing, by what he underwent, to the proof of the things mentioned; and by his narrative all but says, “If you doubt me, and if you suspect my testimony, believe her husband.” For Joseph, says he, “her husband, was a just man.” By “a just man” he means a man who is virtuous in all things. For both freedom from covetousness is justice, and universal virtue is also justice; and it is mostly in this latter sense that the Scripture uses the word justice; as when it says, “a man who was just and true” (Job 1:1) and again, “they were both just” (Lk 1:6) … that is good and considerate.

Today especially, ite ad Ioseph: “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do” (Gen 41:55). And, again, please remember to ask his intercession for my friend.


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