Gift of the Holy Spirit:
Knowledge of God
Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.
1 Cor 15:12
But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
At the time of St. Joseph’s death, redemption of man was yet to be accomplished by his Foster Son, so the gates of Paradise were not yet opened to those who died in grace, including the martyrs and the saints. But at the very moment Jesus surrendered his life on the cross, tombs of many holy people opened and they rose from the dead.
The evangelist Matthew recounts in Matt 27:51-53:
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Christians in the early centuries believed that among these holy people who were raised to life were St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist. After Jesus’ resurrection on that first Easter, they entered the city and were seen by many.
Blessed Joseph was the holiest of the holy people – he and Mary were the first among the redeemed – and it would be more surprising if he were not counted among these selected holy souls who rose from their tombs to give witness to Jesus’ own resurrection.
Imagine the great rejoicing of the Holy Family as the risen Jesus appears to His Mother, and they are joined by St. Joseph. What a great reunion of the Holy Family, with tears of joy streaming down their holy faces, singing praises of homage and glory to God.
The great humility of Joseph did not permit the evangelists to record even one word spoken by him, much less this event of his being raised to life. Many saints also believed that the risen Jesus appeared first to His Mother before he appeared to Mary Magdalene but this was not recorded by the evangelists.
St. Francis de Sales was certain that St. Joseph resurrected from the dead and was brought to heaven, body and soul, with Jesus on Ascension Day. He wrote: “What is there left for us to say now if not that, in no way, must we doubt that this glorious saint enjoys much credit in heaven in the company of the One who favored him so much as to raise him there, body and soul. It seems to me no one can doubt this truth, for how could He have refused this grace to St. Joseph, he who had been obedient at all times in his entire life …. he who had the honor and the grace of carrying Him so often in his holy arms in which Our Lord had found so much delight? O how happy we shall be if we can be worthy of having a share in his holy intercessions! For nothing will be refused him, neither by Our Lady nor by her Glorious Son.”
It was said that Pope John XXIII also held this belief of the early centuries that St. Joseph and John the Baptist were assumed into heaven, together with Jesus on the day of His Ascension.
Who could imagine the glories and honors reserved in heaven for St. Joseph as he enters Paradise escorted by His Risen Son? Suffice it for us to say that the Omnipotent Father must have prepared the grandest celebration that we cannot even begin to imagine, with the heavenly hosts and the choirs of cherubim and seraphim, all the Saints and Martyrs in attendance.
Contemplate this scene as the Son presents His Foster Father to the Father in His heavenly throne. What rejoicing there must be! A special place is given to St. Joseph befitting the Father’s Surrogate on earth whom His Beloved Son called Father.
Blessed indeed is Joseph who is pure of heart, for he sees God face to face.
We speak here of Knowledge not in the ordinary sense as even unbelievers are capable of common knowledge. We speak here of the Spirit’s gift of Knowledge which is a personal and intimate knowledge of God and the things of God. As when Jesus said: “No one knows the Father except the Son and no one knows the Son except the Father,” He was speaking of a personal, intimate and profound knowledge between Him and His Father in heaven.
This intimate knowledge of God is given only to the pure in heart. This personal knowledge and intimacy with God is the ultimate gift of the Spirit to those who live the Spirit of the Beatitudes.
As Proverbs 2:1-5 say:
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
Blessed Joseph lives this life of the Beatitudes to the full. He is single hearted, pure in heart and spirit. Joseph is the first man to follow the counsel of Jesus: “Be perfect as My Father is perfect.” Jesus was speaking of His Father in heaven but his example of perfection could very well apply to His Foster Father on earth.
St. Joseph’s greatest reward in heaven is the perfect knowledge of the perfect God.
Blessed St. Joseph, you know my failings in living the Spirit of the Beatitudes. How far I am from your example in the things that are of God. But I trust in your fatherhood as you are the Father of Divine Mercy.
Be a merciful father: do not abandon me and my loved ones to the evil one. Send the Angels to guard us, the Saints to guide us.
Bring us close to the Hearts of your Son and His Mother and speak a kind word to them on our behalf, that we too, one day, may enter Paradise and come to the full knowledge of God in the company of your Holy Family and the angels and saints. Amen.
Our Father. Ten Hail Marys. Glory Be.