Here’s one thing I’ve realized over the last several years: If you love Mary, you will eventually end up loving St. Joseph.
If you love Mary’s compassion for those who are on the outs of society, you have to love Joseph, too. After all, his behavior towards Mary herself shows that he was a man who could forgive. His betrothed is pregnant, and he knows it’s not HIS child; there’s pretty much only one conclusion you can reach, right? And yet even though he must have been seriously disappointed and humiliated (talk about an ego blow for any guy!), he was determined to spare her as much of the inevitable social and religious condemnation as he could. Seriously: Joseph was quite the guy.
If you love Mary’s courage and the way that she said “yes” to such a terrifyingly huge mission, then you have to love Joseph’s courage, too. After all, he — much like Mary — surely had a vision of the way his future would unfold. I don’t want to presume to know what Joseph hoped for, but I’m guessing it was something along the lines of the cozy family home and the white picket fence. Odds are good it did not involve raising the Son of God and the Savior of the World. That’s why Joseph, like Mary, is a terrific model of Letting Go and Rolling With It.
If you love Mary’s devotion to her son, you have to love Joseph’s, too. He is a beautiful model for all dads, especially for men who raise children who are not biologically their own. I think Joseph is proof that fatherhood is more than just contributing DNA — it’s about the hands-on, daily experience of nurturing a child. It’s about modeling, through your dealings with those around you, what it means to be a person of integrity. It’s about showing that a true man doesn’t walk all over those who have less power; instead, he treats them with dignity and compassion. It’s about being the person that others can count on to be there, always. We see evidence of all of this in Joseph, and more.
So on this feast day, go ahead and love him. He deserves it.