St. Joseph: Family Man

by Archbishop Donald Wuerl

Because Joseph was spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary he formed with her a family. As spouses come together to exchange vows publicly and have their marriage to each other witnessed, they become a family.

Marriage by its nature is indissoluble and intended to provide mutual support to the spouses. In a society where family life is collapsing and our social order is unraveling, the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the obligation of parents to their children is a timely remedy.

In God’s plan for our salvation the second person of the Blessed Trinity was to become one of us. To do that, Mary would bring forth her child. St. Joseph would be called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus Christ “through the exercise of his fatherhood” (8).

Thus we can rejoice that St. Joseph through his marriage to Mary was caught up in the mystery of spiritual fatherhood and became a model of marriage, care of one’s child, and an exemplar of the Holy Family.

The family is essential because it is “the original cell of social life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2207). It is the natural society in which a husband and wife come together in love and give themselves in mutual support. From that original cell the whole human community grows in an ever-widening set of relationships.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has written numerous books of the Catholic faith. This article was excerpted from the June 2002 issue of Columbia, the monthly magazine of the Knights of Columbus.

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