St. Joseph’s job was not easy. As head of the Holy Family and protector of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, there were many dangers he had to navigate. Not only the journey to Bethlehem, fleeing the violence of a mass murderer, and providing for the Holy Family in Nazareth. There were also many spiritual components to his role as protector and guardian.
In this month’s installment of 19 on the 19th, a series that brings you 19-minute reflections on St. Joseph each month, Patrick Madrid, host of The Patrick Madrid Show, continued his meditation on St. Joseph and his role as Guardian and Protector of the Holy Family and the Church.
“God entrusted St. Joseph with a singularly important role of physically safeguarding the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ Child from any harm that might come to them externally,” Patrick said. “But also, He gave St. Joseph the special task of safeguarding the Blessed Virgin Mary’s virginity.”
Patrick noted, “As you know, the Catholic Church has always taught from the very beginning that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a perpetual virgin. So her virginity is also something that St. Joseph, her Most Chaste Spouse, was instrumental in safeguarding.”
Patrick addressed some common claims people make in denying the perpetual virginity of Mary, and some erroneous portrayals of Joseph in his relationship to the Virgin Mary. Using Scripture, Patrick affirmed both the perpetual virginity of Mary and the role St. Joseph played as guardian of her virginity and protector of Mary and Jesus’ reputation.
Patrick also pointed out that St. Joseph is known under the title, Protector of the Church. This is fitting, because Scripture shows us that he was the protector of the Church from the very beginning. Mary was the first Christian, the first to hear the Good News, believe it, and welcome Jesus into her life. As guardian of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph was the guardian of the Church from its first moments.
Pope John Paul II writes in Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer), “Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation.”
But St. Joseph’s protection of the Church was not limited to his protection of Mary. He continues to guard and protect the Church through his intercession and fatherly care.
The writings of St. Teresa of Avila reveal her relationship with St. Joseph. She wrote, “I took St. Joseph as my protector and advocate and recommended myself very earnestly to him. He came to my help in the most visible manner.”
“This loving father of my soul, this beloved protector, hastened to pull me out of the state in which my body was languishing,” St. Teresa wrote. “Just as he snatched me away from greater dangers of another nature that were jeopardizing my honor and my eternal salvation. For my happiness to be complete he has always answered my prayers beyond what I asked and hoped for. I do not remember, even now, that I have ever asked anything of him that he has failed to bring. I am astonished at the great favors that God has bestowed upon me through this blessed saint, and from the perils from which he has freed me, of both body and soul.”
Just as St. Joseph protected Mary, the Christ Child, and continues to protect the Church, he offers his fatherly protection to you. Learn more by listening to or reading Patrick Madrid’s full 19 on the 19th talk below:
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