St. Joseph was a widower chosen by God to be the head of the Holy Family. He was a faithful husband to Mary, and a devoted foster father to Jesus Christ. Sacred Scripture portrays him as a pious man who always followed the will of God.
As we prepare to celebrate his Solemnity, we would do well to reflect on the top three ways in which St. Joseph serves as the perfect model of Catholic fatherhood:
1) St. Joseph was Righteous
The Gospel according to St. Matthew describes St. Joseph as a “righteous man” (Mt 1:19). In the first century, a righteous man was one who obeyed the laws of God. We know St. Joseph was obedient because he and Mary took the infant Jesus to the temple for consecration in accordance with the Mosaic law (Lk 2:22-24).
Today, we imitate St. Joseph by obeying the Divine Law as contained in the Ten Commandments and Eight Beatitudes. We also obey the Five Precepts of the Catholic Church.
2) St. Joseph was Chaste
The Catholic Church teaches Mary was a perpetual virgin. It follows St. Joseph did not have conjugal relations with her. He was chaste throughout his marriage, thus allowing it to serve, in a special way, as a preeminent sign of God’s loving union with humanity.
We follow the example of St. Joseph when we regulate our sexual desires. For single persons, chastity requires abstinence from any type of sexual activity; for married couples, it includes mutual fidelity between spouses, as well as an openness to the gift of life.
3) St. Joseph was Industrious
St. Joseph was a carpenter by trade (Mt 13:55). As such, he knew the value of a hard day’s work. He also understood the challenges of providing for a family.
His industriousness inspires us to greater diligence in our professions. Regardless of our respective career paths, we should always strive to imitate St. Joseph and put forth our very best efforts. Christ promises to repay us for the conscientious performance of our duties (Col 3:23-24).
The righteousness, chastity, and industriousness of St. Joseph make him the perfect model of Catholic fatherhood. We should all seek to follow his example. In so doing, he will help us become the fathers God wants us to be.