By: Rick Hernandez
“At Nazareth, Joseph’s days were filled with work which necessarily took him away at times from his Infant God. During these hours, Mary replaced him, but when evening brought him home again, he would pass the entire night in adoration, never tiring, only too happy for the chance to contemplate the hidden riches of Jesus’ divinity. For he pierced the rough garments the Child wore until his faith touched the Sacred Heart. In profound adoration, he united himself to the special grace of each one of the events in the life of Jesus. He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph. Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father (and He flooded him with the graces attached to every one of His mysteries) is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament. That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph. Have confidence, strong confidence in him. Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration.” - St. Peter Julian Eymard
When people ask me about my father, I often respond with, “I am the son of a preacher man,” echoing the famous song. But my father was not always a preacher man. Before he became a Catholic missionary, he was a factory worker. As a child, I remember him getting ready to go to work early every morning. I missed him very much whenever he was away, but it was always a big deal for my siblings and me whenever my dad arrived from work at the end of the day, gifting us with the stories of his life. His stories were always engaging, for he had a way to make the mundane sound exciting and at the same time taught us about life, selflessness, and sacrifice. In our little domestic church, our humble home, Dad was our Saint Joseph.
When we think about adoration, we might picture Mother Mary with the Child Jesus, but we know that Joseph was there as well. Joseph watched over them, provided for them, and protected them from the world as they both, Jesus and Mary, grew into the wisdom they required to perform their work in this world. If Mary’s fiat was the beginning of the work of redemption, then Joseph’s fiat was the one that maintained it.
“We do not want only to adore, serve and love Jesus-Eucharist, but also to make Him known, adored, served and loved by all hearts” (St. Peter Julian Eymard).
Joseph adored, but he also always worked. I can picture him caring for Jesus and Mary when they were sick. I can imagine Joseph doing his carpentry job, providing for the holy family the same way my father did for ours, and I can also imagine the times when Joseph came back home at the end of the day to share in the love of his family.
If Mother Mary was the first tabernacle, then Saint Joseph was the first sanctuary lamp, showering light over his charges, watching and announcing that we should pay attention because “there is something greater here” (Mt 12:6). And all that Joseph did was in private, hidden. All his love and sacrifice were witnessed only by Jesus and Mary, and “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:12).
That is still the job with our families today. Fathers are called to protect the “pearls of great value” (Mt 13:46) that are our charges. We know that we transcend our solitary value by our families, and by our actions there, we can enrich the Kingdom of God.
As fathers, we are to do this, in the background, in humility, but with love and confidence, that His Kingdom may come and that our work and sacrifice may allow us to meet our loved ones in Heaven, for “we hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy” (Heb 10:23). Amen.