There is a film which I have heard of for so many years, but which I have never actually seen, probably because it was made years before I was born. It is called The Quiet Man, and I believe it starred John Wayne. But the title of the film has always reminded me of St Joseph, who throughout the Gospels comes over to us as a quiet man, always serving God in his life with Mary and Jesus. On Monday we celebrated the Solemnity of his feast, and again I would like to turn to Pope Francis, who has offered us many beautiful words on the significance of St. Joseph in our spiritual lives.
Five years ago, on the Solemnity of St Joseph, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry. He chose 19 March precisely as he has always seen in St Joseph the strength and the wisdom of God.
Pope Francis in his own words on St Joseph:
19 March 2013: Homily during the Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry
“Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason, he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly.
Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!
16 January 2015: Discourse to families in Manila
I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So, when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him: pray for this problem!
Next, rising with Jesus and Mary. Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong. But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act (cf. Rom 13:11). In our families, we have to get up and act! Faith does not remove us from the world but draws us more deeply into it.
Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God’s plan is entrusted to us. Like Saint Joseph. The gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph so that he could care for it. Each of you, each of us – for I too am part of a family – is charged with caring for God’s plan. The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth. So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm.
20 March 2017: Morning homily, Casa Santa Marta
“Today I would like to ask that St Joseph grant all of us the ability to dream because when we dream great things, good things, we draw near to God’s dream, what God dreams about us. That he might give to those who are young people — because he was young — the ability to dream, to take risks and to take on the difficult tasks seen in their dreams. And that he might give to all the fidelity that generally matures in upright behaviour, since he was just, which grows in silence—in few words–and grows in that tenderness which is capable of safeguarding one’s own weaknesses and those of others”.
Fr Gerard, CSsR