The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph
St. Joseph is known as “the just man” and, as such, was a man of singular virtue. This strength of character, this reign of virtue, extended to all aspects of his life and his person—including his heart. His whole being was oriented to his God. His love was properly ordered, his affections purified. Unlike St. Joseph, we tend to struggle, and oftentimes fail, with matters of the heart. Our culture certainly does not hold the virtue of chastity in high esteem. Therefore, it can seem incredible to us that a man like Joseph was able to rise to the lofty challenge presented to him: to be the “chaste guardian of the Virgin” (and of all virgins) and the foster-father of the Son of God. Such a task requires both remarkable human virtue and unexcelled amounts of God’s grace. St. Joseph had both.
The tradition with regard to the age of St. Joseph varies (the Eastern Church holds that he was an old man, while the West concedes that he may have been much younger), but at the heart of the issue is the fact that it was Joseph’s virtue—not merely old age, lack or virility, or lethargic passions—that safeguarded the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God, and allowed him to guide and protect Mary and Jesus with such strength of pure love.
This should be a great consolation to us who still wander in this vale of tears, striving for holiness. St. Joseph was a great man with a “most chaste heart” but whose love was certainly not cold. For this reason, the Diocese of Charlotte’s logo for the Year of St. Joseph depicts his Most Chaste Heart inflamed with love and adorned with the white lily of purity. The heart of St. Joseph should give us great hope that purity of heart lies within our reach, thanks to the grace of God and the intercession of Joseph-most-chaste!