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As we get ready to wind down the year of Saint Joseph, we would love to take a look at just how much influence this Saint has on our lives.
Joseph shows us how important protecting one's family is, and, as we begin to celebrate the year of the holy family, we should all take a moment to celebrate our own families and their protection over us.
Whether chosen, blood-related, or both, our families are central to our very being and shape us into who we are. As we look to Saint Joseph to teach us what it means to love and protect our family, we pray to him to continue to be with us and bless our families.
Do not be Afraid
“Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife” Matthew 1:19-21
The Angel commanded that Joseph not be afraid and take Mary as his wife. Joseph, a man of good, swiftly obeyed.
Not only is Saint Joseph’s love for and devotion to Mary worthy of admiration, but his devotion to protecting his whole family is unparalleled.
He trusted that God had amazing plans for him and his family, so he listened to the angel and took Mary’s hand in marriage.
Joseph never wavered in his love for his family and was a strong, powerful figure on which his family could lean. He bravely led Mary through the desert to Egypt, and he defended her and their son Jesus valiantly, knowing God was on their side.
Constant Fidelity and Upright Conduct
“Saint Joseph was the just man, by his constant fidelity, an effect of justice; by his perfect discretion, a sister to prudence; by his upright conduct, a mark of strength and by his inviolable chastity, a flower of temperance” –Saint Albert The Great
As a fellow saint comments on Saint Joseph’s significance in our lives and his holiness throughout his life, we are reminded of just how important it is to try to live as Saint Joseph did.
Saint Albert The Great starts by noting that Saint Joseph was a just, loyal man, who always stood by his family’s side and was fair to everyone around him. He goes on to further explain that Joseph had perfect discretion, cautious to be fair to all.
Joseph was a patient, fair man, who took the time to sit with his family and impart his wisdom to them. He was always fair and used caution to be sure that his decisions exuded as much justice as he did.
In a family, the strength of the individual members is extremely important. Saint Joseph, the patriarch of his family, was as strong as they come. He had enough willpower to sacrifice for his family, anything so that they may flourish. His strength is shown not in his body, but through the power of his words and actions as he protects and loves his family.
Surround Me With Songs of Deliverance
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” Psalm 32:7
Imparting wisdom to others in your family is one thing, but meeting them where they are and helping them through experience is another.
Joseph met Mary as she was and he became a place for her to come and be herself. He was her hiding place.
What strengthened their marriage, however, was that they both found another hiding place outside from each other: God. Having time and prayer with the Lord as spiritual space where they could both go and be themselves strengthened their marriage and their individual selves.
Joseph, through God, protected his family and surrounded them with love and kindness, protecting them from all trouble. He was a safe space for his family, something all family members are called to be this Christmas season.
The Lord is With You
“For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” Deuteronomy 20:4
If God was not on Joseph’s side, he would not have been able to win his fight.
Joseph fought valiantly to protect his family from all evil, like how he took Mary and fled from King Herod to Egypt, sacrificing the comfort of his hometown for the safety and welfare of his family. If God was not on Joseph’s side, Joseph would not have come out victorious.
If every fight you fight for your family is in good faith and intentions through God, He will go with you and help you emerge victorious.
Fight valiantly for your family with the Lord on your side, for He will aid you.
He Will Guard You
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” Psalm 91:11
Not only will God help you emerge victorious against your enemies, He will protect you and your family using his angels to ensure that you and your family are protected from all harm.
God is good, and Joseph knew this. He listened to everything the Lord and his angels told him, trusting that God would protect him and his family. Even when the task seemed grand, like fleeing to Egypt, Joseph willingly complied, trusting that God would send one of his angels to ensure that he and his family were safe.
God will help you and guard you as you protect your family from harm, just as Joseph did.
Live Together in Unity
"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1
As we all know, a family unit is not always perfect. There are arguments, discrepancies. We are human. But, out of love for our families, we sit down and talk through it. Because that’s what families do. They fight for each other.
With God on our side, we talk to each other, we work through the arguments, taking extra care to hear our family members when they talk to us, being sure to be kind and respectful to everyone.
The more we can work through these discrepancies, the more we can live together as one unit. When we live together as one, when we love together as one, when we smile together as one, we live just as God intended: Unified. Holy.
Rounding Out the Year of Saint Joseph
Just as Saint Joseph did for his family, we must try to live up to his image and do for ours. We must protect them at all costs and love them as they are, trying our best to embody Saint Joseph’s love and patience.
As we get ready to round out the year of Saint Joseph, we are reminded of how amazing Saint Joseph was, and how we can carry his image with us as we go through our lives.
It is no secret that Mary loved her baby Jesus more than anyone, and we see many instances where Mary shows her skill as a mother and mentor to Jesus Christ. But what exactly is Mary’s role in the Church as a whole?
Mary is a mentor, mother, and role model for women everywhere. Saint Mary is someone that all Christians should look up, for she is the definition of trusting in God and caring for others.
Mother Mary’s Role as Jesus’ mentor
You do not have to be a mother to understand just how much influence a mom has on her child’s life, even after they are all grown up.
Mary influenced Jesus’ life in many ways as a mom, with one of the most prominent being teaching Him how to pray.
Teaching the Son of God how to pray sounds a bit ironic, doesn’t it? But, the fact is, Jesus grew up Jewish, just like His parents. His mom, who we can tell by the Magnificat is an avid pray-er, must have taught Him how to pray, just as all good Christian parents must.
The image that comes to mind of Jesus and Mary on their knees next to each other, Mary reciting the same prayers she does every day, and Jesus keenly listening by her side, provides great insight into Mary's role as a mom.
Mary also knew what Jesus would become, and she would have pushed Him to realize His full potential while He was growing up.
When The Holy Family was at the Wedding in Cana, for example, Mary noticed that there was no more wine. In an effort to keep the hosts from embarrassing themselves, she told Jesus that the family had no more wine. Jesus then asked Mary what she wanted Him to do, for His “hour is not yet come” (John 12:4).
Mary was adamant, however, that Jesus help the couple, telling the servants at the party to do exactly what Jesus tells them. Jesus then instructs the servants to get six jugs of water, then He turned all of the water into wine.
If not for Mary pushing Him to realize His potential as the Son of God, Jesus would never have preformed this miracle, illustrating the impact Mary had on his life and his journey as the Son of God.
Mother Mary’s Love for Jesus
Although Mary’s love for Jesus is prevalent every time they are mentioned together, her love is especially noticeable in a few key points throughout the bible.
When an angel appeared to Joseph In a dream to tell him to flee to Egypt to escape King Herod, Mary followed without question. Mary sacrificed months of her life on the back of a donkey, sometimes possibly on foot, just to keep her child safe.
This beautiful statue of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph on their way to Egypt to escape King Herod showcases Mary’s resilience as she does everything she can to ensure Jesus’ safety. Holding Jesus in her arms, she is clearly protecting Him as best as she can.
Traveling with a child today is nothing short of a nightmare, and we have the luxury of planes today. Imagine months of travel on foot with a toddler– Mary must have had a lot of patience to be able to go through this. She willingly and gracefully took on this task just to be sure that her son was safe from anything that could possibly come His way.
This just goes to show Mary’s devotion to God and to her son on a level that many Christian mothers today aspire to duplicate.
Mary also shows her devotion to her son when she makes an effort to never leave His side during trying times, something that mothers today also strive to replicate.
From the second Jesus was born to when He was being persecuted to when He was crucified, Mary never left His side.
Here in the Pieta statue, we see Mary's love for Jesus so clearly portrayed in her eyes. Like a loving mom, she is going to stay by her child no matter what happens.
Not only does the love in her eyes convey such passionate emotions, but the way she is holding Him so gently as His lifeless body is draped across her arms and looking into His eyes shows us just how much love there was between Jesus and His mother.
Mary never left Jesus while He was going through a horrible, trying time in his life, showing real dedication as His mother. To be able to watch your child go through something like that is very difficult, but to know that she had the courage and strength to be with Him as He suffered really speaks to her love for Him and her devotion to God.
Mother Mary's Role as a Woman in the Bible
Mary is the perfect example of what it means to be a God-loving woman. She was an avid pray-er and she always accepted God’s will.
When God told her that she would fall pregnant and she was to name the baby Jesus, she said “I am the Lord's servant,” and she let God’s will be done unto her.
She never questioned God’s plan for her and she trusted that God would take care of everything, the symbol of a truly faithful person.
She also offered an amazing prayer to God, known as the Magnificat, which is one of the most beautiful prayers in the whole world. A Godly woman such as herself knows the true power of prayer, which is why women today should strive to have the relationship with God that she did.
She took care of her husband and son all throughout the Bible, extending her caring nature to them and to anyone else who asked her for help. Today, we pray to Mary to extend that same caring nature unto us so that we many extend it to others.
Mary is a role model for all Christian women out there, and we should all strive to live our lives the way she lived hers: through God.
From pushing Christ to realize His full potential and preform His first miracle to being a role model for all faithful women today, Mary plays a key role in our lives as Christians.
Mary taught Jesus to pray and mentored Him in His faith, something all parents and mentors can only strive to do as well as Mary did. Mary prayed avidly both before and after Jesus was born, a mark of a truly faithful woman, a practice of hers which should serve as an inspiration to every Christian.
Also, Mary stayed with Jesus as He was being crucified, showing her dedication to Him and her yearn to take care of Him and be with Him through everything. Mary also spent many days and many nights on her way to Egypt to ensure Jesus’ safety, further illustrating her love for– and dedication to– Him.
She is a true role model for Christian women everywhere, trusting in God’s word and staying with her family through thick and thin and continuing to be a caring charitable person. As Christians, we all have a lot to learn from Mary.