In this year dedicated to St. Joseph, and in a week during which the Church celebrates the beauty of the Sacrament of Marriage we offer these excerpts from Venerable Fulton Sheen as he reflects on St. Joseph and the Holy Spouses:
"Was St. Joseph old or young? Most of the statues and pictures we see of Joseph today represent him as an old man with a gray beard....We have, of course, no historical evidence whatsoever concerning the age of Joseph....But when one searches for the reasons why Christian art should have pictured Joseph as aged, we discover that it was in order to better safeguard the virginity of Mary. Somehow, the assumption had crept in that senility was a better protector of virginity than adolescence.
"...To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried. The Church will not ordain a man to his priesthood who has not his vital powers. She wants men who have something to tame, rather than those who are tame because they have no energy to be wild. It should be no different with God.
"...Joseph was probably a young man, strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste, and disciplined. Instead of being a man incapable of loving, he must have been on fire with love. Just as we would give very little credit to the Blessed Mother if she had taken her vow of virginity after having been an old maid for fifty years, so neither could we give much credit to a Joseph who became her spouse because he was advanced in years....Mary and Joseph brought to their espousals not only their vows of virginity, but also two hearts with greater torrents of love than had ever before coursed through human breasts...
"How much more beautiful Mary and Joseph become when we see in their lives what might be called the first Divine Romance!....In Joseph and Mary, we do not find one controlled waterfall and one dried-up lake but rather two youths who, before they knew the beauty of the one and the handsome strength of the other, willed to surrender these things for Jesus. Leaning over the manger crib of the Infant Jesus, then, are not age and youth, but youth and youth, the consecration of beauty in a maid and the surrender of strong comeliness in a man."
Fulton J. Sheen excerpted from
"Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father"
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC