St. Joseph the Worker: Patron of Religious Brothers
St. Joseph, a Patron of Religious Brothers? Yes, he is a patron of husbands and fathers in the married vocation. But Joseph is our patron, too, because he lived the three evangelical counsels heroically. As Religious Brothers, we are consecrated to Jesus through the counsels of poverty, celibate chastity, and obedience. We know of Joseph’s obedience to God and the angel’s revelations through his dreams... take Mary your wife into your home... Name the Child Jesus... depart for Egypt... return... but take a different route! We know of his poverty from his humble trade of carpentry in the unpopular town of Nazareth. We know of his chastity, for he guarded the very Ark of the New Covenant, the Perpetual Virgin!
Joseph’s silence in the Gospels is a sign of the virtue of humility, a key virtue of our Religious Life. That he provided for his family as a carpenter is a sign of a faithful, skilled laborer and of his understanding of the call and dignity of work. Brothers develop skills to provide generously for the poor we serve. As a foster father, he guards the Virgin and Jesus in a most direct way. We Brothers guard Jesus in the Eucharist, keeping watch at many hours daily. In our Western tradition, Joseph was not a biological father, but he was called on to be a father―to provide, protect, defend, love, and shepherd his family. We Brothers aren’t biological fathers, but we are spiritual fathers to many souls: the unborn, the homeless, the hospitalized, the medically vulnerable, the victims of torture, the refugees. It is these souls we are called to “father” as we provide, protect, defend, love and shepherd them.
St. Joseph the Worker, pray for Religious Brothers!
By Brother Paschal Listi, fbp
Franciscan Brothers of Peace