St. Joseph, Patron of Dedicated Souls
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
There are many good reasons why St. Joseph should be the special heavenly patron of dedicated souls – in the religious life, in the priesthood, and among the laity. But as the Church teaches, he is especially to be venerated and his patronage invoked because he was the guardian of the Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus.
The dignity of the Mother of God is so sublime that nothing created can rank above it. But as Joseph was united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, we may believe that he approached nearer than anyone else to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses all human persons in holiness. Marriage is the most intimate of all unions, which from its essence confers a sharing of gifts between those joined together in wedlock. Thus, in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as his spouse, God appointed him to be not only the witness of her virginity, the protector of her honor, but also, because they were truly married, a sharer in her exalted sanctity.
Joseph shines above all mankind by the august privilege of his vocation as the foster-father of the Son of God and, therefore, the diligent protector of Christ.
From this two-fold dignity flows the obligation which nature lays on the heads of families, so that Joseph became the administrator and legal defender of the Holy Family. He set himself to defend with a mighty love and a daily concern his spouse and the Divine Infant. Regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing. He guarded the Child from death when threatened by Herod’s jealousy, and found for him a refuge in Egypt. In the miseries of the journey and in the bitterness of exile, he was ever the companion, the helper, and the upholder of Jesus and His Virgin Mother.
We may confidently say that the Holy Family which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father contained within itself the first beginnings of the Church. So that, even as Mary is the Mother of the Church because she is the Mother of Christ, so Joseph is the Protector of Holy Church because he was the guardian of Jesus and Mary.
Dearest St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to your service. I give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a great purity of heart, a fervent love of the interior life, and the spirit of prayer.
After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And you, blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.