As this is the year of St. Joseph, I would like to periodically write letters to you cultivating devotion to St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is often depicted in sacred art with the Child Jesus in his workshop. It is a beautiful site to see Jesus learning the trade of a carpenter from his foster father St. Joseph. While we are in this pandemic, it has become very common for parents to work at home and children to stay home while receiving education through online learning. It may not be so different than in the house of the Holy Family in Nazareth. Many fathers have a tool shed and a simple workshop within the property of their home.
We do not know for sure where St. Joseph’s workshop was, however, we can presume it was near to his home. In a similar way, today’s children can see their parents working while they are at home and perhaps that they too will follow their father or mother’s trade.
Just imagine Jesus, the Eternal Son of the Father, in His humanity learning the trade of being a carpenter from his foster father St. Joseph. In Christ’s divinity you can’t teach Him anything. However, Jesus can be taught through his Humanity.
Since one doesn’t know for certain, some Catholics piously contend that St. Joseph taught Jesus to make the actual cross in which He would be crucified. The mystery of Jesus being a carver of wood with the understanding that he was placed after his birth on the wood of a manger, offered the Last Supper on a wooden altar, and was crucified by the wood of the Cross, is all part of God’s wondrous plan.
Although Jesus was descended from the line of David, He did not live in luxury. He lived in the humble home of St. Joseph and Mary. The humility of the Holy Family was so distinguished that their own neighbors were in shock at the signs and wonderous deeds of Jesus that they said, “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” Yes, He is! That is the humble of spirit of St. Joseph. All the focus goes to his wife and to Jesus.
There was a young couple I married a few years ago. I happened to know the groom’s parents very well. I noticed the interactions of his parents especially that the husband hardly spoke, and the wife did much of the talking. At their son’s wedding I said to the groom: “Joseph be just like your father, keep silent and let your wife do all the talking.” In Sacred Scripture, St. Joseph doesn’t say a single word. He simply listens.
St. Joseph is a man like so many men who provided for His family with great labor and love. He did so with great dignity, and purity. In closing, I would like to thank our fellow staff members who worked very hard in shoveling and plowing the snow to make our Church accessible to God’s children.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz
Certain content of this letter was taken from Consecration to St. Joseph by Father Donald Calloway