ST. JOSEPH’S LOVE FOR MARY AND JESUS
Joseph regarded Mary as the beloved of God chosen to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son. And as God gave St. Joseph the place of father to Jesus, He must have certainly infused into the heart of Joseph the love of a father, and of a father to so amiable a Son, a Son Who was also God.
And (Jesus) went down with them, and came to Nazareth and was subject to them (Luke ii. 51).
Consider the love Joseph bore to his holy spouse. Of all the women that ever lived Mary was the most beautiful. She was more humble, more meek, more pure, more obedient, more inflamed with the love of God, than all the Angels and men that have been or shall be created. Hence she merited all the affections of Joseph, who was so great a lover of virtue. Add to all this, the tenderness with which he saw himself loved by Mary, who certainly loved her own spouse above all creatures. Besides, Joseph regarded her as the beloved of God, chosen to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. Consider how great must have been the affection which, for all these reasons, the just and grateful heart of Joseph entertained for so amiable a spouse as Mary.
Oh! how many tears must Mary and Joseph have shed in speaking of Jesus’ Passion and Death, which they had already learned from the Sacred Scriptures! What tenderness must they have felt in saying and thinking that their Beloved was, according to Isaias, to be a Man a sorrows and reproaches; that His enemies would so disfigure Him that His lovely countenance could be no longer recognized; that by their scourges they would lacerate and bruise His flesh to such a degree, that He would appear as a leper all covered with ulcers and wounds; that their beloved Treasure would suffer all with patience, without ever opening His mouth to complain of His torments; that He would be led like a lamb to the slaughter; and that, finally He would die by dint of torments, hanging on an infamous gibbet between two thieves.
Consider, also, the love Joseph bore Jesus. Having given our Saint the place of father to Jesus, God must certainly have infused into the heart of Joseph the love of a father, and of a father to so amiable a Son, a Son Who was also God. Hence the love of Joseph was not purely human, like the love of other fathers, but a superhuman love; for he found in the same person one who behaved like his son, and yet was his very God. Joseph knew from the Angel, by an infallible Divine revelation, that the Child by Whom he was always accompanied was the Divine Word, Who had become Man for the love of men, and especially for the love of him. He knew that he himself had been chosen from among all men to be the guardian of the life of the Divine Infant, and that the Infant wished to be called his Son. Consider what a flame of holy love must have been kindled in the heart of Joseph by meditating on all these things, and in seeing his Lord performing for him the little offices of a boy, at one time opening and closing the door; at another helping him to saw or to plane; and at another, gathering fragments of wood, or sweeping the house; and finally, in seeing that He obeyed all his commands, and even did nothing without his direction.
What affections must he have felt in carrying Jesus in his arms, caressing Him, and in receiving the caress of that sweet Infant! In hearing from Him the words of eternal life, which, like so many loving darts, wounded his heart! And particularly in witnessing the holy examples of all virtues which the Divine Child gave him. Long familiarity with persons who love one another cools their affection: for the longer men converse together, the more perfectly they learn one another’s defects. This was not the case with Joseph: the more he conversed with Jesus, the better he became acquainted with His sanctity. Consider, then, how great was Joseph’s love for Jesus, since, according to the authors, he enjoyed His society for the space of twenty-five years.