Gift of the Holy Spirit:
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall have their fill.
Indeed, wisdom reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things well.
Her I loved and sought after from my youth, I sought to take her for my bride and was enamored by her beauty.
She adds to nobility the splendor of companionship with God, even the Lord all loved her.
For she is the instructress in the understanding of God, the selector of his works. And if riches be a desirable possession in life, what is more rich than Wisdom, who produces all things?
Or if one loves justice, the fruits of her works are virtues;
For she teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, and nothing in life is more useful for men than these.
The Proverb: “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom” aptly describes St. Joseph and his departure from earth. Wisely, he departs quietly.
There is no scriptural passage relating the death of St. Joseph. This is in keeping with the respect of the Evangelists for his silent humility and poverty of spirit. Christian tradition tells us that St. Joseph died the holiest and happiest of deaths, in the embrace of Jesus and Mary.
But his dying is not without sorrowful tears for the Holy Family, knowing that the Patriarch-protector is leaving, even before Jesus’ destined hour has come.
Joseph’s inestimable joy is to be in the presence of His beloved Jesus and Mary. Now that he is leaving them, this joy has turned into spiritual sadness, knowing that he would not be sharing in the paschal hour of his Savior Son and His Mother. He would no longer be there to protect and console them and be with them when the hour of their agony and passion arrives.
As surrogate Father, he wisely knows that it is now time for him to fade away before Jesus’ appointed hour arrives. Jesus and Mary bid him farewell with loving kisses. In their sweet embrace, Mother and Son bless him and entrust his soul to the care of the Heavenly Father who sends a retinue of angels to escort his soul to await the Resurrection when the heavenly gates shall be opened.
The episode at the temple when Jesus was twelve – speaking to His parents of His Father’s affairs – was only a preview of what eventually would come. At that time, Joseph could not understand. Now, having been given the fullness of Wisdom, he realizes that the time has come for the Father in heaven to receive from him the ‘handing over’ of his earthly task, a task that he has realized so well in life.
Joseph has completed his mission, fulfilling his assigned role as Substitute of the Father. What Jesus had said could very well be spoken by Joseph: “I come not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
After the demise of St. Joseph, in the first public appearance of Jesus at the river Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptizer, it is the heavenly Father who introduces His Son: “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The son of the carpenter is now publicly proclaimed by His Father in heaven as the Son of the Most High God.
In his role as surrogate father of the Messiah, Joseph was infused by the Holy Spirit with the Gift of Wisdom to perform his role to perfection. This innate wisdom has produced in him the other cardinal virtues of justice, fortitude, prudence and temperance, earning for him the description of “a just and upright man.”
This passage from Proverbs 2:6-11 perhaps best describes Joseph’s special gifts, the virtues corresponding to his being a “just and upright man,” one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness and godliness.
“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”.
In all his travails, when he was put to the test, time and again, Joseph never doubts the goodness of God. From this wisdom, he derives his understanding of God’s plans, and the fortitude to carry them out, in joy as in adversity, even now in his last moments as his life flickers away. It is this eternal wisdom that is the wellspring of his justice and righteousness, the source of his hunger for God and His ways.
Even as he is dying and leaving his two dearly beloved, he never loses trust in the providence of God. He is obedient to the end, “a just and upright man.” Certainly, the Lord holds him victorious and gives Joseph his fill as he leaves this world.
Father Joseph, just and wise, you have run the race and emerged victorious, faithful and true.
Teach me Wisdom that my life will bring forth justice and truth.
Give me your hunger for righteousness and thirst for justice that I may walk the good path and have my fill of God’s merciful love.
Grant me a share of your Wisdom that I too, in imitation of you, my Father, will be faithful and obedient to the end of my days to enjoy the fullness of God’s Holy Presence. Amen.
Our Father. Ten Hail Marys. Glory Be.
These meditations invite the reader to a spiritual journey with St. Joseph, reliving nine joyous, sorrowful, and glorious events in his life with his most beloved Jesus and Mary. They are meant for prayer and presented in the framework of a Novena Rosary of the Holy Family.
The matching of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit with the Beatitudes in the life of St. Joseph is not meant to be theologically precise. They are presented as meditations to demonstrate the truth that one cannot live the way of the Beatitudes without the Gifts of the Spirit.
It is to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that our prayers are addressed, and St. Joseph in the company of Blessed Mary are there to receive our petitions and intercede for us, to help and guide us as we shepherd our own families toward our Heavenly Father’s house, the true destination of our own earthly journey.
With love and devotion to the Holy Family,
Howard Joseph Q. Dee