How is Saint Joseph a Model of Faith?

How is Saint Joseph a Model of Faith?

Written by Rachel Kell, a Catholic wife, mother of four, and blogger at

I don’t remember when I realized that Joseph speaks no words in the Bible. I do remember I was old enough to be shocked. I wondered how a man with such a vital role in the story of my salvation could have left behind no verbal wisdom; how he who modeled the framework of family for all generations never uttered a word worthy of eternal preservation in Sacred Scripture.

Rather than believe that the Bible is lacking some piece of vital information (it isn’t), I trust that what is revealed to us about St. Joseph is enough. Like small droplets in a large pool of contemplation, the little we know about the adoptive father of the Messiah mingles with the salvation story and adds depth to our knowledge of God.

A Noble Man

When we meet Joseph in Matthew 1, the first thing we learn is that his lineage points toward a fulfillment of the prophecy made in 2 Samuel 7:12-14—that God would bring forth a Son to establish His Kingdom through the offspring of David.

The second thing we learn is that he was concerned. He discovered that Mary, to whom he was betrothed, was with child. He knows that his actions will have grave implications for her based on the law, so he decided to “dismiss her quietly,” hoping to save her from public disgrace (Matthew 1:18-19).

God allowed him to wrestle with this crisis and come to his own resolution. Even the chosen earthly father of His son, to whom He could have revealed every heavenly plan, was permitted to battle through the humanness of the events. Joseph, who we know is a noble man, landed on a conclusion that would not evade the law, but would also not leave Mary subject to it. He found the best possible plan for the conflict with which he was presented.

But God had a better plan. He took Joseph’s desire to both follow the law and protect Mary, and He multiplied it. Much like Jesus did with the loaves and fish, God accepted what Joseph could offer and gave it back to him a thousandfold.

“…Just when he resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Obeying God’s Will

The rare and radical heroism of St. Joseph is not that he made every right decision of his own volition—but that he listened and obeyed.

He took Mary as his wife and provided her with the protection of a family. He gave Jesus the name that God had appointed. And he remained faithfully alert to God’s will, because as God continued to instruct him through his dreams, Joseph listened. He obeyed. When he was told to flee Herod’s wrath and take his family to Egypt, he obeyed. (Matthew 2:13-15). When he was finally told that danger had ended and they could return to Israel (Matthew 2:19-20), he obeyed. He was fearful when he learned that Herod’s son now ruled there, but he did not rely on that fear for action. It was the warning in his fourth dream (Matthew 2:22-23) that he obeyed, withdrawing to Nazareth.

We hear nothing from Joseph through all of these events. We know he wrestled with decisions and had fears for his future, but we aren’t granted access to his interior life. We just watch as he boldly moves within God’s will.

And maybe that’s the point.

There is a time for reflection and rhetoric. We know God loves these things and has used them to build His Kingdom. But there is also a time for action. In the case of God becoming man, there was THE time for action.

Joseph was quiet so that God could be heard.

He listened. He obeyed.

Living St. Joseph’s Example

It is easy to brush off Biblical obedience as obvious. But is it? ‘Well, if God told me what to do, I’d do it too!’ is a natural thought, but would we? Are we listening? Are we obedient to the small things God asks of us in a way that is worthy of Him asking for more? And if He did, would we trust Him? Would we need to know when, how, if we have time for it, and if our family would be cared for through it?

We are capable of rare and radical heroism; not on our own, but through living within God’s will. We can listen. We might have to do it for a long time, long enough to quiet all the other voices and attune our hearts and minds to God. We might have to learn the language God has created just for our conversations.

When God speaks, will we listen?

And when He asks us to do that for which we have been created…will we obey?

Saint Joseph is available as a charm selection for every piece in our Custom Saint Collection. He is also commemorated in our Most Chaste Heart of Saint Joseph Necklace.

1 comment

  • Gayla

    I always felt that St. Joseph was so special to be chosen for the role of the earthly father of Jesus……so much, that I pray every night for his guidance.
    Thank you for the beautiful article.
    Stella & Tide replied:
    That is so sweet, Gayla. Thank you for sharing! We hope you have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Our Catholic Jewelry

Shop our full collection of Catholic jewelry below