St. Joseph: A ‘Just Man’

by Archbishop Donald Wuerl

Chapter 3 of Redemptoris Custos is directed to Joseph as a “just man,” a husband. Here, John Paul unfolds for us a picture of Joseph who is enveloped in love: love of God, love of his spouse, and love of the child committed to his care, Jesus.

While married life may bring with it enormous challenges that surface in daily life, it is love that makes it a blessing.

In wedding celebrations the readings from Scripture remind us that a marriage is a part of God’s plan expressed in the Book of Genesis. The fulfillment of God’s plan requires an enormous amount of effort on the part of both spouses. It is love that brings the effort to the fore every day — day in and day out.

Among the “hard sayings” of Jesus, “What God has joined together no human being must separate” (Mk 10:9), is a particularly challenging one for many people today. Statistics show that one of every two marriages in the United States ends in divorce. Perhaps what Jesus was saying to all of us is that it is impossible to sustain a loving, permanent relationship through all the difficulties of life without the firm commitment that, in spite of all of the trials and tribulations, the partnership will endure.

In a society that so lightly sets aside personal commitment, we should not be surprised that marriage is in a state of decline. The Catholic vision of love and marriage continues to offer sound direction and true guidance.

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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