Extraordinary in the ordinary: The attainable example of St. Joseph

St. Joseph did not do extraordinary things, but rather by the constant practice of ordinary and common virtues, he attained that sanctity which elevates him above all the other saints.” (St. Joseph Marello)

Max is one of my brothers and one of those people whom everyone loves. I can say with confidence that if you met him, you would recognize his charm, sense of humor and generous heart. He will always say yes to an opportunity to serve, whether it be to change wiper blades, carry something heavy, or run an errand. He is one of the most generous men I know. He will intervene for anyone to make their lives a little easier, and he always manages to do so without complaining.

Max is a good example of many of St. Joseph’s attributes, including work ethic, generosity and humility. Many non-Catholics question why we "worship" saints like St. Joseph when we are only made to worship God. Of course, we don't worship them. In the same way Max can make my life a little easier by helping me when I ask, St. Joseph can do the same if I let him, on an even greater scale.

A simple man

“Some saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking,” St. Thomas Aquinas said. St. Joseph is known for many patronages and intercessions throughout history, but one particular thing I like about him is that he lived a simple life. He worked hard, was humble, and had a closeness to God that feels unattainable. When we ask for the intercession of the saints, we are asking them to bring us closer to God, to be a part of our journey, as it is a road they have already endured.

It can feel like becoming a saint is impossible because we are living in times very different from what many of the saints experienced. We will more than likely not be burned on a pit like St. Lawrence, making jokes as our skin is burnt to a crisp. Most of us do not share the same intellectual capacity of a St. Thomas Aquinas. If this world were to see another St. Denis, preaching from his decapitated head, it would be quite a sight. St. Joseph, however, was a carpenter. He did not preach on mountaintops, was not a martyr to a gruesome death, but he did live a humble life working and taking care of his family, like many of us.

Intercessory prayer

It is true that we do not worship the saints and angels. In coming to know the saints, we are invited into a deeper relationship with God through their lives, and sometimes their deaths. Most Christians would agree with Charles Spurgeon, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” As Catholics, we have many beautiful examples of how to grow in our relationship with God, so many saints throughout history. St. Joseph just happens to be my personal favorite.

Invite St. Joseph into your home; you won’t regret it

God invites us to utilize the examples of the saints, and call on their intercession when we are in need. In the same way I call my dad when I have a question about my car, my mom if I have a question about cooking, or my employer if I have a question about work, we can call on the saints when we are stuck. These are people who have done what we are doing, and have wisdom to offer us while we are in the trenches. Whatever need life has presented you with, you are not alone. St. Joseph has shown to be a powerful intercessor in my work, my house, and my life. St. Peter Julian Eymard said, “Make him [St. Joseph] the patron of your family and you will soon have tangible proof of his protecting hand.”

Mary Morasso is a mother and parishioner of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Sterling Heights. She holds a bachelor's degree in pastoral theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has taught theology at the high school level.


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