Tuesday, 21 December 2010

St Joseph - What a man!

I am fed up with the image of St Joseph that runs through so many paintings and mental pictures we have of this great saint. Apparently, last night's screening by the BBC of 'The Nativity', featured St Joseph as a bumbling half wit - that may be unfair, I did not see it! I have blood pressure problems.

Pure as the lily flower.....
In Renaissance art he is shown as an elderly man and, I must admit, that my teaching at school directed us down that route. But that is not my image of him. I see him as a handsome, young man, maybe just a year or two older than Our Lady.
He is strong (carpenter skills), resourceful - he must have worked pdq to turn that stable into a form of crude accommodation and, above all else, holy.
It is hard looking around our society today, to see anyone with those sort of qualities, not just any qualities, outstanding qualities. And I am not getting at the young, few of any age could stand up to that wonderful model.
He is not afraid of taking decisions either, he is a 'risk taker', albeit guided and informed from on high. He stood by Our Lady in her hour of need after the Annunciation and he stood by her again in Bethlehem and then fleeing into Egypt. Not a journey to be taken lightly with a new born babe and a young mother.
His chaste nature is a beacon to all and he must have been much loved by his foster Son, Our Lord. And, of course, he must have been wholly exceptional to have won Our Lady's hand!
We look to him for aid with our homes and house buying especially, as protector of the Holy Family and, by immediate association, our own family, as a symbol of purity, as a patron of the Universal Church, a patron to carpenters and the champion of a happy death to all.

This is the hymn I always associate with St Joseph and March 19th



  1. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog.

    I attended "Holy Family" school as a child. In our church, we had a statue of St. Joseph, not holding a lily, but carpentry tools. I have always thought of him as a strong, able, skilled man.

    My mother was born on St. Joseph's day, we always celebrated her birthday as such. I was thrilled when my oldest granddaughter was born on March 19 - at St. Joseph's hospital!

  2. Dear Friend I don't know what you were told but I watched The Nativity with some trepidation because of the negative comments I saw on Catholic blogs, IT WAS LOVELY. Joseph was NOT shown as a bumbling fool, but as a wise ,sensitive and witty young man who had been waiting chastely for the right girl.(and he was also working hard building a house for his new bride)An excellent portrayal Please don't criticise what you have not seen, I know my Bible and Tradition and its very well done, so far and I think the rest will be good too.

  3. Diddleymaz, Re- The Nativity - I went on the review of the Daily Telegraph critic and past experience of the BBC. My post was general in that respect. A comment made on the poor standard generally of BBC Christian productions.
    I will take a peek and see if I agree with you.

  4. MC, yes, he is often seen holding carpentry tools. The lily, of course, is his symbol of purity.
    God bless

  5. Saint Joseph's traditional attribute is the flowering rod- as seen in images such as Raphael's "Marriage of the Virgin".