Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fr. Henry Johnstone, S.J., "The Holy Spirit Is Saint Joseph’s Biographer"

“A man whose name was Joseph.” Thus, almost casually, we might say, is Saint Joseph introduced to us in the Gospel. Yet how much interest, almost romantic interest, is gathered round that name! How many thoughts and scenes the name of Joseph can conjure up! “A man whose name was Joseph” — that is, the man who was husband of the Virgin Mother of God, and was called Father by the Son of God; the man who received from heaven the revelation of what Israel had waited for through thousands of years; the man who prepared the manger and adored the new-born Saviour on the first Christmas night; the man who talked with the shepherds and heard from their own lips the story we read in Saint Luke; the man who redeemed the Redeemer with five pieces (shekels) of silver, and stood by in wonder while Simeon and Anna uttered their prophecies; the man who was interrupted in his daily toil by the arrival of distinguished strangers from the East, and saw them worship and offer princely gifts; the man who, under Divine Providence, cheated Herod of his prey and fled in the starlight from Bethlehem; the man who, day after day, watched God made Man grow from babyhood to childhood, from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to manhood, under his very eyes; the man who taught a trade to the Creator of heaven and earth; the man whom Mary loved, and Jesus trusted and obeyed — "a man called Joseph.” When we first set out to glean what we can about Saint Joseph in the pages of the Gospel, we seem to be told very little. Of course, we cannot expect to find a complete biography of him there. Even of Christ Himself, we do not get that. But we might expect many details which are not given us. We know the story of the birth of John the Baptist; we know who were his parents, where he was born, where he grew up; we can discover his age; we are told what he ate, how he was dressed, many of the things he said, where and how he died. In the case of Saint Joseph, we know not a single one of these details (except the name of his father). Yet what we do know is of great interest. We know some of the places where he lived, we know the things he saw and some of the words he listened to, and we know a little of what he thought and felt. The sketch of him which we get may be only an outline drawing, but it is by a master hand. The Holy Spirit is Saint Joseph’s biographer. The reason, perhaps, why there is such an air of unreality about Saint Joseph in our minds, why even pictures and statues of him seem so un-lifelike, is that we do not study him sufficiently in the only authentic record of him we possess, the Gospels. 
Link (here) to the full article by Fr. Henry Johnstone, S.J. entiled, "A Man Called Joseph"

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