7 Things You Didn’t Know About St Joseph
As the divinely-ordained foster-father of the Redeemer, we know surprisingly little of St. Joseph’s life.
Sts Matthew & Luke record him as a carpenter of King David’s lineage. He was inspired and guided by angels to wed Mary and escape persecution with the Christ Child into Egypt. The last mention of him is with the Finding in the Temple, during Christ’s boyhood.
It is assumed that his lack of presence during Christ’s three-year ministry means he died in the loving arms of Jesus and Mary. (From Saintnook: St Joseph)
‘Viral contributor and martial arts expert Dennis McGeehan has run off a list of 7 things you didn’t know about St Joseph, inspired by his book ‘The Diaries of Joseph and Mary’.
1. Joseph & Jacob
Joseph the husband of Mary and Joseph of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat have a lot in common:
- Both of their fathers were named Jacob.
- Both Saint Joseph and the ancient Joseph were informed of their future roles in dreams.
- Both are saviors.
2. Joseph & Joseph
The ancient Joseph in Egypt saved the people from starvation. Joseph, the husband of Mary, saved both Mary and Jesus from death.
- Joseph is often pictured with a walking staff that is flowering. This is based on a story of how the Priests of the Temple chose a suitable spouse and guardian for the Virgin Mary after her father died. The flowering staff is reminiscent of the story of how Aaron was chosen to succeed Moses.
3. Joseph the Virgin
According to Saint Athanasius in the 3rd. century, Saint Joseph was a perpetual virgin. Saint Jerome, in a letter defending Mary’s perpetual virginity, stated “both remained intact.” Saint Peter Damian held up the virginity of Saint Joseph as a reason for clerical celibacy.
Saint Thomas Aquinas asserts that the Virgin Mary was enlightened by God that Joseph himself had taken a vow of virginity which made her acceptance of him as a suitable spouse more tenable. Saint Francis de Sales also spoke on the perpetual virginity of both Joseph and Mary.
4. First Son
Saint Joseph was the first born son of Jacob, however:
- In the Gospel of Saint Matthew the genealogy of Jesus begins with Abraham and traces Joseph’s lineage until we read, Matthan begat Jacob who begat Joseph the father of Jesus.
- In the Gospel of Saint Luke the genealogy begins Jesus, the son …, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthan … and goes until Adam.
- So how can Joseph be the son of Jacob and the son of Heli? He can’t BUT there is no contradiction. Joseph’s natural father is Jacob. He also has a legal father, as we have a Father-in-Law when we marry. That person is Heli. Heli is an abbreviation for Eliachim and Eliachim is the father of Mary, Joseph’s spouse.
5. Scientist & Theologian?
According to an Oriental tradition, Saint Joseph at age twelve, studied Science and Religion at the Temple in Jerusalem. This is related in the book The Gifts of Saint Joseph. His training at the temple would be the foundation for what he would later understand as he served as Jesus’ earthly father and Mary’s husband.
6. Related to Mary
Joseph and Mary are related. Jesus received all of his humanity from Mary. As Joseph, Mary and Jesus are related, there would be a family appearance among all of them.
This would serve as another way to protect the identity of Jesus as he matured. He would look like Joseph’s true son.
7. Son of the King
Saint Joseph is a direct descendent of King David and therefore the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. Because of this he and his family lived a perilous life.
Herod was a paranoid murdering tyrant who readily killed anyone he saw as a threat to his power.
The Diaries of Joseph and Mary
Available for Kindle
The Bible in Matthew and Luke briefly relates how Mary became pregnant with Jesus, how Joseph took her as his wife and then how Jesus got lost in the Temple at age twelve. A few short pages spans the time from before his birth to age twelve, but is there more? The Early Church Fathers thought so. Saint Jerome, Saint Athanasius, Saint Augustine and others gave sermons to their flocks on details left out of Scripture. These stories have been mostly lost to the modern Christian but now are brought to life in The Diaries of Joseph and Mary.
Nothing in the Bible about the Nativity is changed, nothing about who Jesus is is changed. Rather the ancient theologians proffered insights surrounding these events and filled in gaps. The Diaries of Joseph and Mary presents the beliefs of the Early Church Fathers on the Nativity in the form of a diary that Joseph and Mary may have kept. It illuminates the events and answers questions like, “Where was Joseph when Mary visited Elizabeth?”
In addition the book offers an appendix, 101 Questions and Answers About Saint Joseph that provides the reader with additional details. The questions delve deeper into who Joesph was, indeed who he had to be as the man chosen by God the Father to be the foster-father of His Son on Earth. The reader of this book will find in Joseph a man who all men should try to emulate no matter their vocation in life.
Together the Diary of Joseph and Mary and 101 Questions and Answers About Saint Joseph provide a wonderful way to enter more deeply into the message of the Advent and Christmas season. Writing this book my faith has been deepened. My celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons are more vibrant and alive for me. My hope is that you, the reader, have the same experience.
St. Joseph is online at Saintnook.com, where the saints are always online!
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