Theresa Doyle-Nelson enjoys researching and writing about holy people from the Bible. She has written for a variety of Catholic resources and is the author of Saints in Scripture. Theresa and her husband Chad have been married for over 30 years, and although their nest is now empty, their three adult sons have growing families — providing enjoyable opportunities for growing gatherings and grandchildren graces! Theresa and Chad are parishioners at the beautiful and historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas. You can find Theresa’s blog, “The Hill Country Hermit” at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus.” ―Matthew 1:20–21a
God, the true father of Jesus, desired to have an earthly father for his Son as well. God chose a gentle, quiet, and humble man named Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth, who was actually already betrothed to Mary. When Joseph discovered that Mary was with child before he had brought her into his home, he was stunned. He agonized over what to do. He wondered how he could marry her when he knew the child was not his. Because of his caring and righteous nature, he decided he would divorce her quietly in order to avoid humiliating her publicly. However, in a dream, an angel told Joseph to not worry, that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that Joseph was needed to be the foster father of the baby. Joseph immediately canceled his plans of divorce and took Mary into his home.
Other examples exist in the New Testament that show evidence of Joseph’s calm, considerate, and God-fearing nature, including:
- Joseph carefully taking Mary to Bethlehem when a census was ordered.
- Being devotedly at Mary’s and Jesus’ side during the visits of the shepherds and Magi.
- Being pensive and no doubt an amazed witness when Jesus was presented to Simeon and Anna at the Temple.
- Unquestioningly paying heed to more dreams from the angel of the Lord, cautiously taking Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod and then returning to Nazareth when it was safe.
- Finally—and this is the last mention of Joseph—anxiously helping Mary search for Jesus for three days in the hectic city of Jerusalem.
Joseph’s nature offers inspiration for a strong, quiet confidence in the Lord. There is never a sense of chaos or disarray about him. Even when he didn’t understand and things seemed illogical, he completely trusted and let God guide him.
A Biblical Novena to St. Joseph
St. Joseph’s Day is March 19. This humble saint is the patron of many people and situations including: Fathers, Workers, and a Peaceful Death. If inspired, spend a novena of days with this kind foster father of Christ. Read the passages below throughout nine days, maybe record a few meaningful reflections, and see if St. Joseph’s narratives speak to you in some way. Be sure to ask this kind and holy man to pray for you during the nine days of prayerful Bible reading!
- Day 1) Matthew 1:16–17
- Day 2) Matthew 1:18–25
- Day 3) Matthew 2:13–23
- Day 4) Luke 1:26–35
- Day 5) Luke 2:1–14
- Day 6) Luke 2:15–21
- Day 7) Luke 2:22-40
- Day 8) Luke 2:41–52
- Day 9) John 6:42