St. Joseph the Superhero
In these days of super this and super that, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and now Captain Marvelette, it is obvious people are feeling the need for a super something to save them from the evils of life. Sure the evils in superhero land are robots and space monsters, but inside of us the little insecurities and prods of evil bother us and we don’t know how to cope.
But all along we have had our own superheroes, the saints in glory, and the one most overlooked is none other than St. Joseph, feast day March 19. St. Joseph? That old-looking fellow in the holy cards? An action hero? Seriously? If your favorite superhero is a man of action, of assessing a situation and acting, of defending the defenseless, being honorable and just, St. Joseph is your man. Rays of dazzling power may not be coming from his hammer, but make no mistake, the graces he holds are far more powerful.
Joseph, Man of Mystery
Very little is known officially about Joseph, the man who became the foster father and guardian of our Lord Jesus Christ as a child and young man. He was a carpenter, he is referred to in Scripture as a “just man,” and the Church teaches that he honored our Blessed Lady’s virginity. There are other qualities that are hinted at: he was prayerful, compassionate, courageous, a man of action. That he was specially chosen is hinted at by stories I learned as a child, that when Mary was to be betrothed, she had many suitors. The men placed stalks in the temple and the one which flowered indicated who was to be her husband. Of course, it was Joseph’s.
No one knows Joseph’s background — age, previous marital state, and the like. Maybe he was older, maybe not. Maybe he had a wife who died and children, maybe not. What is written is that when he was betrothed to Mary and found that she was with child, he didn’t want her stoned according to the Law. He wanted to keep her safe no matter what others thought. He was so attuned to the will of God that when told in a dream about Mary’s situation, he accepted her, no questions asked.
Joseph, God’s Man
Again, his relationship to God was such that when an angel appeared in the middle of the night and told him to take the Child and Mary and run, he didn’t stop to ask how soon, are you sure, or why. He took action, leading the family into an unknown land. Again, when the danger had passed, Joseph accepted the will of God when the angel said it was safe to return home. He was a father to this Child, looking for Him in the temple, showing Him the ways of carpentry, providing for the family entrusted to him: No questions asked.
How many of us would recognize the will of God revealed in such a way and act on it? With all our fears of the evils within and without, how many of us would reach out in prayer to a real- life man of action for help? Not relevant in this day and age? You think Ironman lives next door and Thor makes the thunder boom? Time to get real. We are in a life and death battle daily, not with space aliens, but with good and evil and we need all the spiritual help we can get.
St. Joseph is the patron of the Catholic Church. He is the patron of a happy death since his passage to eternity was likely attended by Mary and Jesus. He is patron of workers for he worked with his hands to bring glory to God. He should be our model of trust in the Providence of God and of courageous action in doing His will.
This article, St. Joseph the Superhero is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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