Recovering St. Joseph

St. Joseph.jpgAs a father of only a few years duration, I have developed an especial affection for St. Joseph, who always intrigued me given the short shrift he gets in the Gospels. And that leads to such odd devotions as burying him upside down in lawns to help sell you house. (Hey, in this market, who could blame you?)
Christmas is pretty much it for Joseph, and my friend and saints maven Jim Martin, SJ, (“My Life with the Saints”) has a typically perceptive take on the Old Man of the Nativity narrative, just in time for this evening’s pageants and liturgies.
It’s at, and titled, “The Hidden Man of Christmas: Putting St. Joseph back in the picture.” Check it out–a sample:


Many Christmas cards show just Mary and Jesus. And how many carols even mention Joseph? He is at the Nativity scene and in American Christmas traditions. That’s a loss since Joseph can be a powerful figure not only for fathers but also for the average believer.

Perhaps one problem for the church is related to a story a friend told me about her daughter asking questions at CCD class, along the lines of: “Well, if Joseph is Jesus’s daddy, then Joseph must be God.” Explain that to a six-year-old…If any can, it’s Father Martin. Check it out.

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posted December 24, 2008 at 8:30 am

Those of us named Joseph receive a special blessing from reminders like the painting in your post today.

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Victor Melendez

posted December 25, 2008 at 4:24 am

I always pray to ST. Joseph,he has anwser my prayers.

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non-metaphysical stephen

posted December 28, 2008 at 10:29 pm

I saw that Slate article and liked it — how can we bring back depictions of young Joseph, in the prime of life, raising the Son of God?

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Nancy Dallavalle

posted December 29, 2008 at 9:45 am

Best reflection on Saint Joseph remains, IMHO, Paul Baumann’s “A Family Man,” in Paul Elie, ed., A Tremor of Bliss: Contemporary Writers on the Saints (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co, 1994).
Comparing Joseph to James Joyce’s Bloom (the anti-hero of “Ulysses”), Baumann observes that Joseph “relinquishes sovereignty where we expect him to demand it most…Joseph and Bloom participate in the transcendent by the measure of their self-abnegation; they find reconciliation not in retribution or even justice, but through faith and love; they embrace human finitude as an affirmation of mystery, not its denial.”

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