Gift of the Holy Spirit:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, in the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
The fullness of time has arrived for the fulfillment of the prophecy foretold in every generation: the coming of the Messiah. God keeps His promise; the Messiah King is born of a virgin betrothed to a descendant of King David. Yet He comes without the pomp and pageantry befitting the King of Kings.
The Lord comes in holy poverty amid great piety: Piety fills the shepherds as they praise God for fulfilling His promise of a savior, the promise given to Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden and to Abraham at the mountain of Moriah.
And the Spirit of Holy Poverty goes forth to all who hear the Good News, the poor and the lowly who are first in the new Kingdom, giving hope to all of mankind, even the lepers and the most wretched, the destitute and the prostitute, the sinners and the forsaken, all who are poor in spirit and are totally dependent on the providence of God.
This Spirit of Piety and Poverty gives birth to a new human order born not of strife and conquest but of love and forgiveness, establishing a new Kingdom founded not on wealth and power, but on mercy and justice.
To Joseph, the humble carpenter, “a just and upright man,” the Almighty gives this prophetic role to fulfill His promise of man’s redemption. For this, Joseph is gifted with all the natural and supernatural virtues.
His poverty of spirit is marked by his fidelity and total abandonment to the Divine Will and his dependency on Divine Providence and protection. In his spiritual poverty, he empties himself and allows God to flood his nothingness with all the spiritual riches befitting the Foster Father of God’s only Son.
After the long journey from Nazareth to Judea and on to Bethlehem with Mary who is heavy with child, astride a donkey, and he on foot, Joseph is saddened as “there was no room for them in the inn.” They are content to make home in a cave used as an animal stable to welcome their God child, a feeding trough for His crib. The lack of any amenity is made up with great love and piety. In His infinite wisdom, the Father has deemed it fitting that His Son be born in such lowly estate to bring hope to all who are poor and forsaken.
For ages and ages, the coming of the Messiah was foretold and awaited with great anticipation. Yet, when He arrives, the herald angels bypass the castles of kings and emperors’ palaces and hasten to the shepherds in the open fields under a starry sky to announce the Savior’s birth in a stable.
Joseph kneels adoringly before the Madonna and Child who is now his Foster Son, the Son of the Most High. He is awed by the wonder of it all, that God would choose him, a humble carpenter, to be His Foster Father.
Imagine his amazement as the shepherds come in procession into the stable to adore the God Child with choirs of angels singing their sweet anthems in the silent night. Then enter the Magi who, guided by the Christmas star, come to adore their King of Kings in His throne of straw, presenting their gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. “They prostrated themselves and did him homage,” the evangelist wrote.
During all this Mary and Joseph are filled with sweet joy. The recognition and veneration of the Infant Jesus, lodged so poorly, whose infinite glory is a secret hidden in their humble hearts, brings them endless consolation.
The whole of heaven descends upon earth to adore their God. Love permeates everyone with the Spirit of piety and poverty in the holy presence of the Savior King. So overwhelmed is Joseph that with Mary, he keeps all these things in his heart. He is truly poor in spirit; he possesses nothing. Yet he possesses everything; he possesses God.
In all of Holy Scripture not one word is spoken by Joseph as if the evangelists, together with Peter and Paul, have a holy conspiracy of silence, as a way of honoring the silent humility of Joseph.
Joseph’s spirit of holy poverty is the fruit of his great piety and humility. Humility is the mother of virtues, as opposed to pride, the father of sin as Lucifer’s pride brought the curse of sin upon mankind. Joseph’s pious humility made him the Father’s choice to be His Surrogate, Mary’s spouse and Foster Father of His Son to begin the redemption of man.
His Foster Son, the Son of the Most High, in taking on human flesh, to suffer and die an ignominious death of a criminal for our redemption, would perform the single greatest act of humility in the history of man and his Savior God.
To believe that God the Creator would die for man the creature, is beyond human logic and comprehension. “He who was rich was born poor, so that out of His poverty, we may become rich.”
It is necessary that the Foster Father of this God-Son who would give Himself in sacrifice must himself be meek and humble of heart. He must be filled with piety for this great God, to live the godly virtues required of the guardian, to be guide and teacher of the Savior Son as He advances in age and wisdom.
After the miracle of the sun at Fatima in October 1917, several tableaux appeared in the sky that many saw in wonderment. In one scene, the Blessed Mother appears with St. Joseph carrying the child Jesus in his arms, blessing the world from the heavens where he occupies a great place of honor, retaining his revered position as Foster Father of the Savior God.
Even in heaven, Joseph is the Father of the Holy Family, to inspire all families, parents and children alike, to live the spirit of poverty and seek their riches in their eternal home in heaven.
Blessed indeed are all those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Dear Blessed Joseph, pious and poor, yet so rich in love and fidelity, open my heart to receive the gift of Piety, the most precious gift of intimacy with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Lend me your pious heart to be one with you in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Grant that you, my Father, will transfuse into my heart your pious love, that I may be rich in piety and poor in spirit to gain the Kingdom of Heaven that knows no end. 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