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j. rodrigues:  Many writings on St. Joseph make reference to his silence, as not a single spoken word by him is recorded in the Scriptures. Many of us would have liked some sort of Fiat or Canticle from St. Joseph, since even Zechariah, who at first doubted the angel’s words (Lk. 1:11-19,) has a song of praise after the birth of his son (Lk. 1:68-79.) However, until the birth, Zechariah was made mute for his disbelief, whereas when the angel appeared to St. Joseph, his silence was not a chastisement but his own choice. 

If we read carefully, St. Joseph actually has a lot to say to us – not in his words but in his deeds. Each time the angel instructed him, revealing God’s Will through his dreams, immediately upon waking he responded in action. He did not waste time in questions and wondering, but obeyed and acted as God wanted. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Proclaim the Gospel always, if necessary use words.” Joseph did this long before St. Francis' observation. He may have had a verbal Fiat (“Let it be done unto me”) or Magnificat (“My soul magnifies the Lord,") but his words were not recorded for us. The Lord did not include St. Joseph’s actual words in the Scriptures, choosing instead to give us his example of quiet contemplation and perfect obedience – a total submission to God’s Will. His actions are his “Fiat” and his “Magnificat," and for many of us who are “all talk," the Lord gives us the silent but active example of St. Joseph – who wasn’t “all talk," but a man of action, ready and willing to serve his Lord.



Pope Benedict XVI: St. Joseph is presented as a “just man” (Matthew 1:19), faithful to God’s law, ready to do His will. On account of this he enters into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and tells him: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife with you. In fact the child that has been conceived in her comes from the Holy Spirit; she will give birth to a son and you will call him Jesus: he in fact will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). Forgetting the thought of repudiating Mary in secret, he takes her in because his eyes now see the work of God in her.


St. Alphonsus Liguori: Consider the ready obedience of St. Joseph, who raised no doubts about the time of the journey, nor about the manner of travelling, nor about the place in Egypt in which they were to stay, but immediately prepared to set out. He instantly makes known to Mary the command of the angel, and on the same night sets out without guide on a journey of 400 miles through mountains, across rugged roads and deserts. … How much St. Joseph must have suffered on the journey into Egypt in seeing the sufferings of Jesus and Mary! … Joseph was indeed conformed in all things to the will of the Eternal Father, but his tender and loving heart could not but feel pain in seeing the Son of God trembling and weeping from cold and the other hardships which He experienced on that hard journey.

Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, and take the child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” So he arose and took the child and his mother, and went into the land of Israel. - St. Matthew 2:19-22


Blessed Pope John Paul II:  And so Jesus' way back to Nazareth from Bethlehem passed through Egypt. Just as Israel had followed the path of the exodus "from the condition of slavery" in order to begin the Old Covenant, so Joseph, guardian and cooperator in the providential mystery of God, even in exile watched over the one who brings about the New Covenant.

But hearing that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there; and being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee.  And he went to a town called Nazareth. - St. Matthew 2:22-23


j. rodrigues:  This passage from Matthew (2:22-23) is often passed over quickly without a word or thought, but I believe that even this scene merits mention. In it we find that Joseph is afraid to return to Judea with his family, fearing that Herod’s successor would seek to destroy his Son. Though St. Joseph has faith he still has a temporal fear which is a part of the human condition and the Heavenly Father understands this. So once again He sends His messenger to instruct Joseph on what he is to do. This mention of Joseph’s fear speaks volumes not only about our human frailties but also of God’s compassion. The Heavenly Father allows Joseph to have, to a certain extent, self reliance even if it allows for him to fear. But the Lord is merciful, and so He sends his messenger to advise Joseph on the course he should take, to bring his family safely out of exile.