What can we learn from this silent witness, one so humble and in the background that Scripture mentions Joseph less than ten times? Father Matthew Spencer, an Oblate of Saint Joseph and frequent guest on Relevant Radio, has learned more from studying this silent saint than he thought possible. He details some of his favorite findings in his audio, “The Hidden Life of Saint Joseph”. Take a listen below and see how it changes your insights on your own “hidden life”!
From the time we start learning to make decisions, we often find ourselves being instructed left and right on what we should and shouldn’t do. And just as often, if we’re astute, we find very quickly that actions often speak far larger than words, and we learn to watch how others act, sometimes in contradiction with what they say.
Thankfully, we have a stellar example of actions speaking louder than words in Scripture. Saint Joseph’s story is told through his actions, which are unhesitatingly and humbly obedient to the will of God: Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus, shows us precisely how we should live and trust in the Lord without saying a single word in the Gospels.
Scripture tells us Saint Joseph is a good, faithful, and righteous man; he seeks to do what is right, no matter the challenge. Even where a rash response would have been justified, such as the unexpected pregnancy of his betrothed, Joseph responded with an attempt to protect her from shame and ridicule: a quiet divorce. But how quickly he acted in faith when he was told of Mary’s true circumstances, that she was the mother of God! Without another thought, he believed and acted; took Mary into his home and accepted his essential, incredible role as the earthly father of Jesus and husband to the Blessed Mother.
He continued in his mission as protector of the Holy Family and didn’t falter when God asked him to move; because of Joseph’s quick, obedient action to relocate his family from Nazareth to Egypt, they were spared from harm by Herod’s command. Though the path may have been long and dangerous, Saint Joseph protected and provided for his family, trusting that whatever God had in store for them, it would only lead to change for the better.
These are simply the examples we see in Scripture! We can only wonder how Joseph embodied obedience, humility, and a desire to protect within the walls of the Holy Family’s private home. We can only imagine Joseph in “the hidden life”, the years of Jesus’ upbringing Scripture leaves private. How he must have lived out his virtues, responding to God’s call through the needs of his infant Son and his wife, in the quiet of his everyday life and work.
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