“We are born to love, we live to love,
and we will die to love still more.”
St. Joseph was chosen among men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind. –St. Bernard of Clairvaux
While the Scriptures have no record of words spoken by Joseph, all four Gospels make reference to him, and Luke and Matthew speak of him directly. Many believe Joseph’s actions speak louder than anything he could have said. The home he built for Mary and Jesus in Nazareth are the foundation upon which Jesus would build his saving ministry. Joseph is best known through Jesus’ words and deeds.
The well-versed story of Mary and Joseph illustrates the difficult decision Joseph faced when Mary approached him with news of her pregnancy. He struggled with the decision of demanding justice and bringing the full force of the law against Mary; for a public example of obedience would cause others to avoid such sin. Or, he could grant her unmerited mercy, for she was refusing to confess what Joseph perceived as a sin.
A miraculous intervention by God led Joseph to his decision. According to Matthew, Joseph shows mercy to Mary by obeying the angel that appears to him in a dream and marrying Mary despite her expecting a child that was not his. Joseph showed unwavering faith in God as he risked everything to care for Mary and her son. His life is an illustration of what it means to live according to God’s will.
Joseph died in 18 AD in the arms of Jesus and Mary. According to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death.