Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Joseph, the Step-Father of God

My children have been blessed in their choice of step-parents. And seeing both of those step-parents in action, I have some sense of what a challenging role step-parenting is. One freely accepts the responsibilities of parenting, while recognizing that there are some unique challenges a natural parent will never face ("You're not my real mom / dad), and that several of the joys of parenting may well pass to the natural parent. It's just like parenting only harder.

St. Joseph was, of course, a step-parent. I've not usually heard the term applied to him except in jest. But the spouse of Mary the Mother of God is surely the Step-Father of God. And in the case of Jesus, "You're not my real dad" would have a little extra heft to it.

The Gospel appointed for today in the Anglican Church of Canada is Luke's account of the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple. Let's face it, "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house" was essentially a very polite "You aren't my real dad."

We don't know much about Joseph from the Gospel accounts, but we do know that he accepted the role of step-father, even though it would have been very easy - perhaps far easier - for him to have rejected it, to have stuck to his plan to quietly end his betrothal to Mary. But he didn't, serving as step-father, provider and protector to Our Lord in his infancy, childhood and adolescence.

So perhaps today is a day to remember the ministry and sacrifice of step-parents, whose patron St. Joseph really ought to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was searching for the patron saint for stepparents, as I'm feeling a little worn down by my role and was looking for a way to recharge, when I came across this post. Thanks - just what I needed! "It's just like parenting only harder" - perfectly captures what it's like to be a stepparent. No matter how much you give, you will never get the kind of love that the child has for their birth parents - which is natural, but can be painful nonetheless. It's something you feel selfish for even feeling - so to have someone acknowledge what stepparents go through was very reassuring. Thanks and God bless :-)