“The most illustrious thing the Church has is that which she hides most.” ~Bossuet
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.”
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
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 with the eyes of faith.
“In the wonder of the Incarnation your Eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of your glory. In him we see our God made visible, and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see.” (from the Christmas liturgy of the Mass)