Theological Virtues in St. Joseph
Note: This article was posted on the official website of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (www.agustinosrecoletos.com)
St. Joseph perfectly represents the three theological virtues: faith in the Word of God; hope in the face of danger; and the charity of accepting Jesus as our son.
When we affirm that we are children of God, we always keep in mind the theological virtues: the Christian life, with reference to God, is based above all on believing, hoping and loving. In this year dedicated to St. Joseph, we wish to highlight these virtues in the just and faithful man, in this humble and silent biblical figure. Not much is said about him, but what is said is of utmost importance for the life of the believer.
In Sacred Scripture we read that St. Joseph was a just man. Such an appellation, just man, is applied to one who is adorned with singular virtues, that is, to a holy person. Let us point out the three theological virtues that shine in the spouse of Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer.
Joseph is a man of faith. Thanks to faith, he received Mary into his home as his wife; otherwise, if he had been a man without faith, he would not have acted in this way, since the fruit of her womb did not belong to him. But Joseph, by his faith, accepts the words of God’s messenger: “Joseph, son of David, do not hesitate to take Mary as your wife, for the child in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save the people from sin. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him”. Therefore, he is certainly a man of faith. With complete firmness he thought: God’s will be done in me and not mine. Every man and every woman who does the will of God is a person of faith, because he obeys God’s voice and not his own; and he does it with absolute trust in God himself.
Joseph also teaches us today that he is a man of absolute hope. This is particularly evident when he sets out with Mary on the journey to Egypt. Before, with his trust in God, he had shown it in his efforts to find a place where Mary, his wife, could give birth; he searched until he found a place where the Savior could be born. Had he been a man without hope, the reaction and behavior would have been very different in the heartfelt scenes to find the desired place. Joseph persevered until he found a place for the plight. All his hopes have always been placed in God; hence, his lesson for these difficult times. In the midst of complicated situations, let us keep in mind that dark and difficult moments are temporary, and that God never abandons us even when we sometimes feel His distance.
Joseph is all love. From love, he welcomed Mary, he was at her side; he went to Egypt out of love, he took care of the family, he carried out the task of his job… In other words: you were a father to Jesus with love, you were the Virgin’s husband with love, with love you worked in your workshop, you were a good and faithful man with love. We could end with the words of Genesis referring to God’s creative action: “Everything he did, he did very well, because it was all done out of love”.
May this year dedicated to the holy carpenter be a unique time for all Christians, and may we realize that life is not only about prayer and pastoral action, but also about believing, hoping, loving from the heart and following the will of God, following the example of St. Joseph. If we pray and perform with illusion any social activity in life, which are only mediations with God, but without faith, hope and love, they would be philanthropic deeds. Indeed, carried out apart from God, they could highlight especially the personal, and the theological life, which must be essential in every human being, would be marginalized. By his life in deep and constant reference to God, Joseph is a just man, whose life and mission have always followed the will of God the Father.
Wilmer Moyetones OAR