The Bible says Saint Joseph was a just man. Just means as a law-abiding citizen he could have reported about Mary’s pregnancy to the Jewish authorities, and she could have been subjected to a severe and humiliating punishment. Instead, he showed mercy by deciding to divorce her privately in order to spare or in order to protect her from much shame and punishment. But God had other intention and sent his messenger to assure Joseph that the child Mary was carrying was of the Holy Spirit and would save his people from their sins.
Joseph was not only a merciful man, but he was righteous. He was a devout religious person. Seeing the dream, he believed the words of the Angel. He took Mary as his wife. Again, he saw a dream, believed the words of the Angel, took Mary and Child Jesus to Egypt to protect the child from the wrath of Herod. Again, he believes. Brought the child from Egypt and settled at Nazareth. Can you imagine a person who was doing some kind of business in his hometown and was engaged and was about to marry. And now his life is in chaos and is shattered. He’s just running. He must have lost his business. He must have lost his all the relations that he had developed over the years that he stayed in his hometown. He was like an immigrant in Egypt.
Like we used to think about settling in a place, buying a house, buying the furniture, all the household items and vehicles, and get our life settled. All of us want to do that, but you think about him. His life remained unsettled till the end. But then he remained obedient to each and every word that he heard from God. He could see God’s plan in each and every event that he was involved in. Not only that as a head of a Jewish family he made certain that the requirements of the law were fulfilled. As the head of the family, he made sure that Jesus was circumcised and the name was given on the eighth day. And after the completion of the 40 days he was presented in the temple where Simeon and Anna proclaimed amazing things about this child. And then when he was 12 years old, he made sure that the family will travel to Jerusalem for the Passover. He made sure that as the head of the family every requirement of the law would be fulfilled.
Looking at the life of Saint Joseph we can say it was like a good ending of a book. A good ending. Or in our language we say good climax of a movie. Saint Bernardine of Sienna, who was an Italian priest, and Franciscan missionary preacher, once wrote like this: Two things we can see from the life of Saint Joseph. 1) On one hand Saint Joseph was a fitting closure of the Old Testament. 2) Second: He brought the noble line of patriarch and prophets to its promise fulfillment. In that short life we can see two things being fulfilled. The Old Testament covenant becoming fulfilled through his obedience and through the fulfillment of his law. Secondly, all the prophets and the Kings and the big people who lived in Old Testament who could not see the fulfillment of the promise that God made, he could see in his own lifetime and make sure that all what was promised all what was prophesied in the Old Testament will come to the true fulfillment through his obedience and through his action.
Saint Joseph lived an honorable and godly life in whatever time that was given for him on this earth. How much can we learn from Saint Joseph? By following his example we can learn to listen for the voice of God in our hearts, giving us direction for our lives. When it comes to direction of our lives, we may not see dreams like Saint Joseph saw maybe. Not only that when we spend time in silence and solitude and prayer, meditating and listening we should be like Saint Joseph, believing that God has a plan for our lives and He cares about the decisions and the actions that we take. And God does not ask us to leap from the tall buildings or not to turn bread into stones. God is just asking us to study the scriptures, to learn from the life of the Saints. To learn from the life of the church fathers. And to know Him and through our daily lives in prayer and sacrament through giving, fasting, forgiveness and repentance. And to realize that He is always with us.