Monday, March 20, 2006
St. Joseph: Dreamer and Guardian  

Although not much is known explicitly about St. Joseph from Scripture's accounts of the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can know something of him based on the fact that his life has parallels with Joseph the Patriarch. Both spent time in Egypt, and both Joseph of the Old Testament and Joseph of the New Testament were led by dreams.

Joseph the Patriarch had dreams at an early age that indicated he would rule over his brothers. He also interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker when all three were in prison. It was the interpretation of the butler's dream which led to his rise to power. Pharaoh had two dreams which could not be understood by any of his wise men. The butler, who had been released from prison and restored to his position, remembered that Joseph had correctly interpreted his dream that indicated the butler's restoration. When summoned by Pharaoh, Joseph was able to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams which predicted that in Egypt there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh was impressed enough to make Joseph the prime minister and put him in charge of dealing with the coming agricultural crisis. When the years of famine did come, Joseph's brothers had to come to Egypt and pay homage to their brother, whom they did not recognize, in order to obtain food because of the famine. Through Joseph, his brothers and father received needed food, and eventually after revealing himself to them, Joseph helped his family come to Egypt in order to provide for them during the famine.

Joseph was led by dreams to proceed to take the Blessed Virgin Mary as his spouse. He was also given dreams which instructed him to make haste and take his wife and the child Jesus to Egypt. By fleeing to Egypt, Joseph protected Jesus from Herod's attempt to kill the new king by slaughtering all of the boys two years and younger. After some time in Egypt, Joseph received a dream which instructed him to take his family back to Israel and to settle in Nazareth.

The parallels point to our Lord's identification with His people and the role of protector and provider that St. Joseph fulfilled. Joseph the Patriarch provided for Israel represented by the sons of Jacob. And Joseph the spouse of the Virgin Mary provided for our Lord by protecting Jesus and serving Him as His legal father. It is no wonder then, that the Church has made St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church. He was the guardian of the redeemer as John Paul the Great called him in his encyclical on St. Joseph. Now with his prayers, he is the guardian of the Church with whom are Lord has so closely identified Himself.

Posted by David at 8:14 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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