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In 1989, John Paul II wrote a very short but extremely moving
and informative encyclical on the role of Joseph as the "Guardian of the Redeemer".
In it, he describes Joseph's role in salvation history, the loving beauty of
marriage in general and the uniqueness of Joseph's marriage to Mary, and the
wonderful responsibilities of fatherhood, whether it be by adoption or not.
In Scriptures, Joseph is called "a just man", who "obeys" the angel's command to take Mary as his wife, and who, from then on forward, with loving care and steadfast dedication, will be the head of the Holy Family. He is the one who will name the child and he is the one "into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures".
Read this beautiful (and short) encyclical Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer) here
and you will never look at Saint Joseph the same way!
"May Saint Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ's saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate". JPII
Joseph listens to the Angel,
Joseph is obedient, Joseph is a just man, Joseph names the child, Joseph marvels
at what is said about Jesus, Joseph searches for him anxiously, Joseph is silent,
Joseph leads them to Egypt, Joseph works with his hands, Joseph protects Mary
and Jesus, Joseph is the guardian of the Holy Family, Joseph is the patron of
workers, Joseph is prudent, Joseph is humble and quiet but strong and steadfast.
Joseph adopted Jesus with loving care.
God our Father,
creator and ruler of the universe,
in every age you call man
to develop and use his gifts for the good of others.
With Saint Joseph as our example and guide,
help us to do the work you have asked
and come to the rewards you have promised.
The Holy Family, stained-glass in Samoens Church.