St. Joseph’s “Magnificat”

God arranged everything with “measure and number and weight” (Wis 11:20). As the pinnacle of His work, He created man in His own image, as well as “a helper fit for him” (Gn 2:18), so that they became “one flesh” (Mk 10:8). But Adam and Eve sinned, and in reparation Providence prepared the first fruits of the Redemption in a perfect couple, Mary and Joseph. Since they participated in the hypostatic order, their union would be realized on an even higher level: they would form one spirit.

To this end, the Divine Council of the Trinity prepared the genealogy of the Messiah for millennia, in order that He would be “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt 1:1) and, finally, the son of “Joseph the husband of Mary” (Mt 1:16), a “just man” (Mt 1:19), whose holiness was in full harmony with that of his Consort. In fact, the missions of Jesus’ father and Mother were intrinsically linked.

The best Josephine authors, counting Msgr. João among them, never tire of drawing analogies between the life episodes of St. Joseph and Our Lady. For example, both received the divine announcement through Angels and were comforted by them with the same exhortation – “Do not be afraid” (Mt 1:20; Lk 1:30) – to which they responded with a unanimous fiat (cf. Lk 1:38; Mt 1:24).

Furthermore, a symbolic Magnificat could be attributed to St. Joseph. In fact, in the preface to the Mass for his solemnity, the Patriarch’s mission is emphasized in order to proclaim the grandeur of God the Father: “debitis magnificare præconiis.” The Lord also looked upon his humility, so that all generations would call him blessed, for the Almighty did “great things” for him (cf. Lk 1:46-49).

He was the first adorer of the Heart of Jesus united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the archetypal spouse, who protected the Child-God from the infanticidal tyrant, the man who bestowed the name on the awaited Messiah and the only one worthy of being called “father” by the Incarnate Word, the one who, in a certain sense, prepared for the great clashes of the Saviour’s life. In short, he was the father par excellence.

Entering His public life, Jesus often referred to His “Heavenly Father” (cf. Mt 5:48; 6:14; 6:32; 15:13), the ultimate model of holiness, forgiveness, provider of needs, and intransigence against evil. His perfect prayer was to “Our Father who art in Heaven” (Mt 6:9). Now, no word of Christ is in vain. Can we not imagine that, by emphasizing “Heavenly” in praising the grandeur of God the Father, He also had in mind the future mission of His virginal “earthly father”?

These considerations are reinforced by the fact that in Our Lady’s last apparition at Fatima, St. Joseph descended from Heaven with the Child Jesus in his arms, giving three blessings in the form of a cross to the crowd. From this “Josephany” it can well be inferred that in the Reign of Mary the Glorious Patriarch will have an irreplaceable role alongside his Heavenly Spouse, so that the most splendid Magnificat of the Most Holy Couple will finally resound in unison. ◊


St. Joseph – Private collection



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