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St. Joseph was a far more perfect father to Jesus than natural fathers are

3 min • Digitized on September 17, 2021

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 387
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

Again, how much does suffering nourish love, and endear the beloved one for whom the suffering is undergone! We see this constantly in the case of fond parents.

But what parent ever suffered so much for his son as did Joseph for Jesus? All his sufferings were on His account, and were brought upon him because he was father to the Messias.

He was the first to suffer persecution for Him. The martyrs suffered because they were disciples of the Son of God, but Joseph paid the penalty of having been made father to the Incarnate Word.

All, however, that he endured was joy unutterable to his soul, because it was for Jesus, and gladly would he have welcomed tenfold more cruel sufferings, that he might give the Saviour fresh proofs of the tender love of his heart.

And what father ever toiled for his son as did Joseph for Jesus? Other fathers, it is true, concern themselves much for their children’s interests, still those children are not their exclusive thought or occupation. But Joseph was so entirely occupied with the interests of Jesus that everything else may be said to have had no place in his thoughts, or to have been perceived and valued only as subservient to that one object.

And not his external actions alone were given to this dear Son, whatever labour, trouble, fatigue, or privation might thus be involved; but, as the Incarnate Word, like His Eternal Father, desires to be served in spirit, thus also did Joseph serve Him, never permitting his mind to form a thought, or his heart to entertain an affection, which did not tend to the service of Jesus.

The inordinate fondness which not a few parents feel for their children is the unhappy source of many of the sins into which they are themselves betrayed; but Joseph’s love for his Son could be only a source of sanctity to him, and the zeal which he evinced to consecrate his whole being to His service is an incontestable proof of that sanctity, as well as the fruit of the love which he bore Him. For this love and this sanctity were, in fact, one and the same thing. Jesus was his God, and, in loving Him, he was loving the Supreme Good as the blessed love Him in Heaven.

We must ever bear in mind that there was this singular character in all the acts of Joseph, whether external or internal, which gave them (as Suarez observes) an eminent value. They were performed immediately towards the person of Christ, so that, just as the sin of those who crucified our Lord was increased in magnitude by the dignity of His person, so with much fuller reason were Joseph’s acts of piety and love towards the Person of Jesus beyond measure enhanced, since he performed them with perfect knowledge and love of Him who was their object; a knowledge and a love surpassing that of the very angels themselves and of beatified spirits.

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