St. Joseph the Chaste
August 16, 2021 • 4 min
“Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God” (Matt. v. 8). “No price is worthy a continent soul” (Ecclus. xxv. 30).
Consider how precious in the eyes of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ is the holy virtue of purity. Our Divine Redeemer on every suitable occasion manifests His love and preference for this holy virtue.
None but Mary “most pure,” Mary “most chaste,” Mary “undefiled,” Mary “Virgin of virgins,” Mary “Immaculate” was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus.
Who was privileged to recline his head upon the bosom of the Saviour at the Last Supper? The virgin disciple St. John the Evangelist.
When Jesus was dying upon the cross, in whose charge did He leave the dearest and most precious treasure He had on earth, His Virgin Mother? Jesus dying gave charge of His Virgin Mother to the virgin disciple, St. John the Evangelist.
In heaven the virgins enjoy special honours and favours above all other Saints.
In heaven are the confessors, who wore chains for Jesus Christ. In heaven are the countless martyrs with their palm branch in their hands, the emblem of their martyrdom. They washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Could they do more than shed their blood and give their life for Jesus.
Yet far beyond these, and far nearer to Jesus is another band of Saints who are privileged to sing special hymns, and to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Who are these privileged souls? Pure virgins. The Evangelist thus narrates it: “And they sung as were a new canticle before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the ancients, and no man could say the canticle but these three hundred and forty thousand … for they are virgins. These followed the Lamb whithersoever he goeth … for they are without spot before the throne of God” (Apoc. xiv. 3).
Thus in heaven, as on earth, all who approached nearest to Jesus, the “Lamb,” were the pure and the chaste.
Now, it is from his relation with Mary and Jesus that we form a true notion of the purity and chastity of St. Joseph.
God was so jealous of Mary the Immaculate Mother of Jesus that He would choose no other for her spouse but the purest and chastest man ever created.
Let us hear the beautiful and sublime words of St. Bernardine of Sienna: “How can a discreet mind think that the Holy Ghost would have united by such a union any soul to the soul of such a Virgin unless most like her in the practice of virtue? Whence I believe that this most holy man Joseph was most pure in virginity, most profound in humility, most ardent in charity, most high in contemplation, and most solicitous for his spouse.” So much for St. Joseph in his relation with Mary.
But how speak of the purity and chastity of St. Joseph from his relation with Jesus? If Mary called him spouse, Jesus called him father.
How pure and chaste must St. Joseph be, who for about thirty years lived in the presence of uncreated purity, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate and Eternal Son of God.
The purity and chastity of St. Joseph was on account of the Incarnation, in honour of Jesus and Mary.
St. Francis of Sales writes: “St. Joseph surpassed the Angels and Saints in purity; for if being exposed for a few days only to the heat of the material sun the lily acquires its dazzling whiteness, who can conceive the extraordinary degree of purity to which St. Joseph was exalted, exposed as he was, day and night, for so many years, to the rays of the Son of Justice, and to that mystical moon which derives all her splendour from him.”
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