In seven years of writing on this website/blog, I have written on Saint Joseph at least twelve different times. He is one my favorite saints and my go-to-saint during times of stress and frustration. Currently, I am praying the Novena to St. Joseph. This year’s novena intention could alter an aspect of my life for years to come. I also feel a closeness to the foster-father of Our Lord because my middle name is Joseph.
Since tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Universal Patron of the Church, I found it fitting to use today’s “Mondays with Mary” to focus on this great saint and Guardian of the Redeemer. I’ve used this particular series and platform in the past since Joseph and Our Lady are so closely united through their marriage to one another and their care and raising of Jesus Christ.
In order to see St. Joseph as the Guardian of the Redeemer, I am going to draw quotes from a document which I have used many times in the past. This document is written by another favorite saint of mine – Pope St. John Paul II. The document, which focuses on Saint Joseph is known as – Redemptoris Custos, On the Person and Mission of Saint Joseph in the Life of Christ and the Church.
St. Joseph’s role as Universal Patron of the Church finds its genesis in his role as the Guardian of the Redeemer. Since Christ and the Church are one, it makes sense that the man who cared for and raised Jesus as a child, along with Mary, would also be the protector and patron of the universal Church. As St. Joseph protected Our Lord; so too does he protect the Church, which includes each one of us.
Below are 6 quotes from Pope St. John Paul focusing on the guardianship of Saint Joseph –
1. This is precisely the mystery in which Joseph of Nazareth “shared” like no other human being except Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. He shared in it with her; he was involved in the same salvific event; he was the guardian of the same love, through the power of which the eternal Father “destined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:5).
2. Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way.”
3. The path that was Joseph’s-his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father, when she was present in the upper room on Pentecost, the day the Church was manifested to the world, having been born in the power of the Spirit of truth. Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian.
4. Joseph is the one whom God chose to be the “overseer of the Lord’s birth, “the one who has the responsibility to look after the Son of God’s “ordained” entry into the world, in accordance with divine dispositions and human laws. All of the so-called “private” or “hidden” life of Jesus is entrusted to Joseph’s guardianship.
5. And so Jesus’ way back to Nazareth from Bethlehem passed through Egypt. Just as Israel had followed the path of the exodus “from the condition of slavery” in order to begin the Old Covenant, so Joseph, guardian and cooperator in the providential mystery of God, even in exile watched over the one who brings about the New Covenant.
6. [Pope Leo XIII said], “Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family…. It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph’s dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ.”
Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church…Pray for Us