St. Joseph: A model for the modern age

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A statue of St. Joseph in front of Augustine Hall. Photo by Emma Powers.

“Mirror of Patience, Lover of Poverty, Glory of Domestic Life, Pray for us.” -Litany of St. Joseph

March 19 was the feast day of one of the quietest men in Church history: St. Joseph. Despite being one-third of the Holy Family, St. Joseph is often overlooked and forgotten. Much can be learned from this holy man, whether it’s in his humility, devotion or loving servitude. 

Whether you’re religious or not, St. Joseph is an example of what it means to live a life of hard work and service to others.

One of the most well-known traits of St. Joseph was his patience. In the book, “Consecration to Saint Joseph,” Donald Calloway describes St. Joseph as “always peaceful, kind, calm, and abandoned to Divine Providence.” 

Whether it was in his work as a carpenter or his travels with Mary, St. Joseph is always described as trusting in the Lord to lead them on the right path. He exemplifies what it truly means to wait, even when the situation may seem hopeless. 

We live in a very different age from the Holy Family. While Mary and Joseph traveled for months to reach Nazareth, we can book a flight online. We have technology at our fingertips and the ability to go almost anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. 

As a result, we have become conditioned to expect to get what we want, when we want it. With so many advancements, we rarely consider developing the practice of patience. 

It seems that our modern definition of patience revolves around waiting for a task to be done. Patience isn’t just waiting for an app to load or a message to send. Patience is forgiving someone after having been wronged, and forgiving them again when they wrong you again. 

Patience is also the key to accepting the faults of others. It allows us to understand that no one is perfect and everyone needs time for growth.

St. Joseph modeled this patience day after day. He lived with the only two people in the world that were perfect, but those that he encountered outside of his home weren’t perfect. It’s in those situations that he likely had to practice the most patience. 

When we look to Jesus as the source of kindness, His actions reflect those of His earthly father. The infinite love of Jesus, even after we sin over and over again, never falters. One can only imagine the patience His foster-father must have taught Him as a child. 

St. Joseph Marello wrote, “St. Joseph was always imperturbable, even in adversities. Let us model ourselves after this sublime example and let us learn to remain peaceful and tranquil in all of life’s circumstances.”

We are always being confronted with challenges. By modeling ourselves after St. Joseph, we are looking to one — if not the most — patient man in Church history. 

Let us learn to stay calm, trusting and forgiving as St. Joseph did in his life. He lived in a much different age than us, but the virtues we can learn from him are timeless.

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