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The dignity of St. Joseph

2 min • Digitized on July 3, 2021

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 358
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

Next to the unapproachable dignity of the great Mother of God there is none that can be compared to that of Joseph. The great Chancellor of the University of Paris, Gerson, says that, as the obedience of Jesus to Joseph was an inestimable act of humility, it implies correspondingly, in Joseph an incomparable dignity.

This authority of Joseph is, in fact, so singular that, not only has no man, however favoured and exalted, whether by miraculous or prophetical or apostolic powers, but no angel has ever shared it even for a moment, nor ever will during the eternal ages; and, if this be so, we may well hold, with Gerson, that the having received the obedience of the Supreme Lord of all things belongs to Joseph as an exclusive and unexampled honour. In this glory he stands alone with Mary.

God said to St. Bridget: “My Son was so obedient that when Joseph said do this or that immediately He did it.” The blessed spirits of Heaven must have contemplated such a spectacle with inconceivable amazement and admiration: the Very Son of God neither moving a step, nor speaking a word, nor taking food or repose, save under Joseph’s direction.

They must have marvelled to behold Him—and that at an age when other sons are emancipated—willingly prolonging for eighteen years the period of submission, making Himself a humble apprentice in Joseph’s workshop and labouring with him at his trade; for it was in this character, as the Gospel tells us, He was familiarly known to His countrymen, who, scandalised afterwards at the wisdom and power with which He spoke, querulously asked, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not this the carpenter?”

Sight more admirable to the angelic hosts was this self-humiliation of the Eternal Word than the creation of the visible world, when God laid the corner-stone thereof, and the morning stars together praised Him, and all the sons of God burst forth in joyful melody.

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