The Silence of St. Joseph
St. Joseph is a man of few words. Or, rather, a man of no words at all.
His silence in the Gospels is striking—especially when others who encountered Jesus and Mary were moved to speech. Elizabeth cried out in joy when the pregnant Mary approached. Simeon praised God upon seeing the Christ Child in the temple.
Yet St. Joseph’s silence speaks louder than any words that could have been recorded. He did something greater than speak—he acted. Even when St. Joseph initially decided to distance himself from Mary, “he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” (Matt. 1:24). Then, when God called him to flee to Egypt, “Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night” (Matt. 2:14).
The only way St. Joseph could act so righteously, so selflessly was not because he could speak well. It was because he could listen well. He stilled his own voice until all that was left was the voice of God.
In Redemptoris Custos, St. John Paul II said St. Joseph’s silence “reveals in a special way the inner portrait of the man. The Gospels speak exclusively of what Joseph ‘did.’ Still, they allow us to discover in his ‘actions’—shrouded in silence as they are—an aura of deep contemplation.”
In our modern world filled with noise, silence is seen as passivity or weakness. But St. Joseph shows us the strength in silence. If we, like St. Joseph, can quiet our own voice, we can hear the Lord’s quiet promptings. We, too, can become great actors in his divine plan.