St. Joseph – Contemplating the Mystery of the Human Face of God

“The most illustrious thing the Church has is that which she hides most.” ~Bossuet

Detail, St. Joseph with the Child, by Alonso Miguel de Tovar

His countless virtues made him worthy to be the foster father of the Son of God. He was the first man to see the human Face of God; the first man to hear the cry of the Word of God. Yet for centuries the most just and humble St. Joseph was fairly hidden in the Church. Not a word is spoken by St. Joseph in the Gospels. But as Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “His is a silence permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to His divine wishes.”

Josephs’s Dream by Rembrandt c.1645

It was St. Teresa of Avila who recognized St. Joseph as the model of contemplative prayer. She wrote: “Would that I could persuade all men to have devotion to this glorious Saint; for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God.”  Because St. Joseph was silent, he was attuned to hear the voice of God, although it was in darkness and obscurity.  “Those who practice prayer,” says St. Teresa, “should have a tremendous devotion to him always.”

“Joseph, the honest man, seeks God. Joseph, the selfless man, finds God. Joseph, the hidden man, delights in God’s presence.” –Second Panegyric on St. Joseph by Bossuet

Holy Family with bird, c. 1650, by Murillo

St. Joseph, through continuous prayer, sought God’s Will in each present moment. St. Teresa writes that he is the master of the interior life.  “In human life Joseph was Jesus’ master in their daily contact, full of refined affection, glad to deny himself in order to take better care of Jesus.  Isn’t that reason enough for us to consider this just man, this holy patriarch, in whom the faith of the old covenant bears fruit, as master of interior life?  Interior life is nothing but continual and direct conversation with Christ, so as to become one with Him.  And Joseph can tell us many things about Jesus.”  St. Joseph reveals those hidden graces in our daily lives; gifts from God that are available in each ordinary moment, as well as in trials and times of suffering. St. Joseph teaches us to live by faith as he did, before the presence of such a great mystery, by contemplating the human Face of God.

 

 

3 thoughts on “St. Joseph – Contemplating the Mystery of the Human Face of God

  1. elizabeth ogilvie March 12, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    I’ve never seen the Rembrandt – thanks for posting it. And you’ve written well about St Joseph.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Carmel March 12, 2018 / 11:58 pm

    Beautiful reflection! Thank you Patricia! 🌹 St. Joseph, pray for us! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s