St. Joseph as Parent
How did St. Joseph parent the boy Jesus for his ministry as Savior? He lived a life of choosing to trust in a God who understood everything perfectly, especially when nothing made sense. Surely this attitude set an example that helped Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
For example, when Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant, the only sensible conclusion he understood was that the father was another man. He might have also thought that the townspeople had considered Mary to be model citizen and now they would probably condemn her for a major breach of righteousness.
He also knew that he loved her, and in that unconditional love, under the circumstances, the most sensible thing to do would be to break their engagement and free her to marry the child’s father.
However, Joseph’s trust in God overrode his sensibilities. He was open to being corrected when his assumptions were wrong. After the angel spoke to him in a dream, it didn’t take Joseph long to admit his mistake and change his plans. Did he understand how God would protect this family from judgmental neighbors? No. Did he understand how to raise a messiah? No. But he knew God knew, and that’s all that really mattered.
Joseph lived a practical faith, continually seeking God’s will, choosing to follow his guidance even when it didn’t make logical sense. It carried him through the difficult journey to Bethlehem and the search for a room when Mary went into labor. It saved the family when Herod sent soldiers to kill the baby. It kept them safe in Egypt until the time was right to return home. It helped him and his wife cope with losing their 12-year-old in the crowded city of Jerusalem.
This fatherly example of practical spirituality surely must have helped Jesus find the strength to put up with the daily hardships of his ministry. I suspect it also helped him overcome his self-protective resistance to the torture of the cross, so that he could obey and trust his divine Father all the way to the resurrection and beyond.
Dads: Never underestimate the impact you have on your children’s faith! Your examples are powerful influences!
We need not be afraid of anything. We can trust God in everything. Even the most confusing, or the most worrisome, or the most catastrophic events are not fearsome when we realize that God is trustworthy.