-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Francis: St. Joseph Helped Jesus Grow in Wisdom, Age and Grace
At Weekly Audience, Reflects on the Role of the Foster Father of Jesus
ROME, March 19, 2014 (Zenit.org) - During his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis reflected on St. Joseph, whose feast day is today. The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to St. Joseph's role as guardian of the Holy Family, a role that is an example to both fathers and educators.
"Let us look at Joseph as a model of an educator, who guards and accompanies Jesus in his path of growth 'in wisdom, age and grace', the Pope said. The Holy Father reflected on these three aspects of the foster father of Christ: wisdom, age and grace.
Beginning with age, the Pope said that Joseph cared for Jesus, making sure that He did not lack anything for a healthy development. "Let us not forget that the faithful care of the life of the Child also entailed the flight into Egypt, the hard experience of living as refugees to escape the threat of Herod," he said. St. Joseph's care of Jesus, the Pope continued, included teaching Jesus his work of carpentry.
Regarding the second aspect, wisdom, the Holy Father said that the Joseph was an example and master of the wisdom of the fear of the Lord. This fear is not based on apprehension of being scared, but on sacred respect and obedience to the will of God.
"Jesus is full of wisdom, because he is the Son of God, but the Heavenly Father relied on the collaboration of Saint Joseph so that His Son would grow 'full of wisdom."
In the final aspect of grace, the Pope said that Joseph educated the Child Jesus to grow in grace in a unique way. "In fact," he noted, "he married the woman who was 'full of grace', and he knew well that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit."
"Therefore, in this field of grace, his educational work consisted in assisting the action of the Spirit in the heart and life of Jesus, in tune with Our Lady."
The Pope went on to say that in this dimension of grace, St. Joseph educated Christ primarily with the example of a 'just man', who knows that salvation does not come from the observance of the law, but by the grace of God, of his love and faithfulness."
Pope Francis gave a special recognition to all the fathers present in St. Peter's Square, congratulating them "on their day."
"I ask for you the grace to always remain very close to your children, letting them grow, but close to them. They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. You are like St. Joseph to them: guard their growth in age, wisdom and grace," he said.
Concluding his address, the Pope led the faithful in praying the Our Father for all fathers, especially those who have passed from this life. "May St. Joseph bless you and accompany you," he said. (J.A.E.)
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