A Man of Few Words

Consider the thickness of the Bible. Some Bibles are quite weighty; others have thinner paper and thus lighter bulk. Being the most important book of all time, it is fitting that the Bible should take precedence on family coffee tables, bedstands, altars, and even (at least for us Sisters) in suitcases! 

But just how many words does such a voluminous work hold? That might be a difficult question to attempt an answer, but good authority has it that over 780,000 words are contained in the 73 books of the Bible. With this astronomical number, have you ever stopped to consider how many of those words came from the mouth of the greatest saint, next to Christ’s mother and ours, the good St. Joseph? Zero! If this doesn’t exemplify the virtue of meekness, I don’t know what does!

A Father’s Heart

In his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis wrote that St. Joseph shows us how God, in His plan of salvation, not only chose a mother for His son, but also chose a family, because by choosing Mary, He also chose Joseph as her husband and adoptive father of Jesus. We know that St. Joseph exercised his masculine genius in his protection of the Virgin Mary before and after her conception of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity by the Holy Spirit. 

Imagine the glorious weight of responsibility he carried as he guided Mary, pregnant with Divine-humanity, to Bethlehem; as he quickly whisked his wife and the infant Jesus to safety in Bethlehem; as he settled into his carpentry work to earn sufficient means for the necessities of the Holy Family. 

Contemplating the life of St. Joseph, God invites us to meditate on the role that the father plays in the family, and this father was the most meek, for by his open heart, he only sought to do the Divine will. His example of obedience to God prodded the child Jesus to learn early on about acceptance of the Father’s will.

Blessed Are the Meek

The Dominican Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that meekness is more synonymous with empowerment than with weakness, because it makes a man self-possessed. Surely, years later, as Christ was preaching the beatitude “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt. 5:5), he thought of his own foster-father Joseph. Perhaps then he bowed his head and heart in reverence to the memory of the man he had called, as every other Hebrew child identified his father, with the affectionate title of “Abba.”

St. Joseph, meek of heart, pray for us!
St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us!

Sister Joseph Andrew, O.P. is one of the four founders of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As the former vocations director, she lectures on topics related to religious life and theology, speaking at youth conferences, parishes, to university students, religious women, priests, and seminarians. She is also an accomplished organist, and is currently the Eucharistic & Marian Revival Preacher for the community.

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