Sunday, March 19, 2006


Some Thoughts on the
Feast of St. Joseph, March 19

Today (Sunday, March 19) is traditionally celebrated as the day of Saint Joseph. The Book of Common Prayer suggests the following prayer on this date in the church calendar:

"O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

A friend of mine who is part of the Roman Catholic tradition, told me several years ago that St. Joseph was the patron saint of a good death. I asked him where this came from, becasue there is little about Joseph in the gospels other than the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke. He said that when it came time for Jospeh to die, he almost certainly had the Virgin Mary praying for him on one side of the bed, and Jesus praying for him on the other side, and if one has to pass away, it doesn't get better than that. I had to admit that my Catholic friend had a point there.

I also have a special place in my heart for St. Joseph because my wife and I have two adotped children. This saint accepted a child that he knew was not directly of his body, and raised him with such love that when Jesus, in adulthood, wanted a metaphor for a loving heavenly God, he used the term abba, father. Certainly, if Joseph had not been loving, Jesus would have looked elsewhere for an image of loving-kindness.

We should all be so loving--even to persons not directly of our biological family. It is entirely appropriate for us to remember this imporant person in our prayers as part of the yearly cycle of church celebrations.

Best wishes,
Mason Smith


Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

Your comments on Joseph, the "father" of Jesus, are a real blessing for me. Not only do I appreciate Joseph more as our Lord's spiritual/psychological father from whom he learned to say "Abba," but I also now see him as the model of those who die well--with Jesus and Mary at his bedside--and as a model for me personally as I, an adoptive parent, live as an "abba" for Chelsea. Thank you, Mason, for your words.

Friday, 24 March, 2006  

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