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In this painting by E. Murillo, the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph travel to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod.Since Jesus Christ is the Son of God, did He really need an earthly father? Well, since Jesus is God, He obviously does not need anything or anyone because He is perfect and divinely complete unto Himself. But, when He became man, He willed to have a foster-father and a mother. Together with His parents, His family is known as the Holy Family. Families everywhere need an example of what a family is and what family life should be. For 2,000 years, the Holy Family has been the standard of holiness for all families.

In a very real sense, God did need a father, an earthly father, for our sake. Because Jesus willed it, we have Saint Joseph as the model husband and the model father. What would the world be like today if every man chose to live a life of virtue and responsibility, a life patterned after Saint Joseph who was a real man in every way?

In the Holy Family Prayer Book: Prayers for Every Family, there is a rich meditation for Eucharistic Adoration invoking the intercession of Joseph, Foster-Father of the Eucharistic Jesus:

Dear Saint Joseph, foster-father of the Eucharistic Jesus, as I pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament containing His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, I reflect on how God’s Son lived within the structure of a family where you were the head and protector of that family. The Holy Family was the earthly trinity, a reflection of the heavenly Trinity. You are the standard of holiness as father and husband, and your strength fills me with peace as I meditate on your Seven Sorrows:*

(1) Learning Our Lady had conceived and initially believing that your only option was to “divorce her secretly;”

(2) Seeking lodging to no avail in the city of Bethlehem for Mary to give birth;

(3) Seeing the Divine Infant suffer and shed blood at His circumcision;

(4) Hearing the prophecy of Saint Simeon that Jesus would be an object of contradiction and that Mary’s own soul would be pierced by a sword;

(5) Fleeing into Egypt to save the Child’s life from King Herod;

(6) Finding that the cruel Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, upon your return from Egypt; and

(7) Losing the Child Jesus for three days when he was only 12 years old.

"Saint Joseph, pray for us!" Amen. +JMJ+
*Giovanni de Fano, 1469–1539

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