Happy Feast of St. Joseph!

Among other titles in the Litany of St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord is invoked as the “terror of demons.” One reason for this is that the devil tempts us with all kinds of things to show our power in domination over others. St. Joseph subverts and overthrows this spirit of pride by his obedience, humility, and detachment.

One can see this obedience lived in the silence of St. Joseph. One preacher compares this to the sanctuary lamp burning in silent witness to the presence of Christ in the tabernacle.

This silent witness is replete in Scripture where Joseph does all his fatherly tasks: leading the family to Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the presentation of our Lord in accordance with Jewish custom.

All the spiritual authors are clear that authentic growth in prayer is not a matter of some spectacular experience. Authentic spirituality is rather an exercise in growing in humility and detachment. Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Detachment is surrendering all that the self holds dear as a substitute for God, to serve the Lord more faithfully.

Once one has formed these virtues by listening to God and acting, as Joseph did when he received word from the angel (Mt 1:24), this cannot but affect human relationships as well. Joseph’s quiet presence serves as proof that the spiritual presence of the father is vital in the domestic church if it is to be a community of love and spiritual growth. That spiritual presence is exemplified in his humility and detachment.

Adapted from “St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church” by Fr. Brian Mullady, OP.