Saint Joseph: The Son God Wished Adam Would Have Been
I can’t tell you how many people have told me that St. Joseph is not loved and praised as he should be. That is the truth, in many respects. I think that’s the case with most anyone who does great deeds. They are never loved or honored or respected as much as they ought to be.
The Church teaches that Mary is the new Eve and Christ is the new Adam, the perfection that was supposed to be there from the very beginning. Mary is Eve who should’ve been--perfection that should have been, love that should’ve been, “yes” that should’ve been. Jesus is the Adam that should’ve been-- the perfection that should’ve been, the love that should’ve been, the “yes” that should’ve been. Adam and Eve were supposed to be the perfection of all humanity, but were not. Adam and Eve were supposed to be the perfection of all of humanity, everything that we were supposed to be and everything that we are called to be. But they fell from this lofty position by their disobedience.
Now we look to Jesus and the Blessed Mother for this perfection of love and obedience.
But where does that leave St. Joseph? The poor guy gets left out again. I think Joseph is the man that God wished Adam would have been, that, even after he and Eve disobeyed and ate the apple, God’s mercy never would’ve kept his love from them had they admitted their sin and returned to God. Everyone asks, “What would’ve happened if Adam had not eaten the apple?” Okay. That happened. The question I have is, “What would’ve happened if Adam wouldn’t have blamed Eve? What if he would have just ‘fessed up to it? What if he said, ‘I’m sorry, Lord. I failed You and my beloved.” I wonder what would’ve happened if Adam would’ve been the man that God desired him to be, if Adam would’ve been the son that God wished to have?
Ultimately, every father desires a son who lives up to what he taught him to be. And every father, in the post fallen world, knows that his son will make mistakes. Nevertheless, the father loves him and wishes that his son might learn from his mistakes in such a way that he becomes a more honorable and God-fearing man through his mistakes. Ultimately, any father hopes that the errant son will allow God to bring good out of any evil that the son allows into his life. And Joseph is this son.
When Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, he was ashamed. He wanted to put her away privately, so as not to expose her to shame. But his intention changed. Joseph, in the moment when the angel comes to him and says, “Do not be afraid,” is what Adam was supposed to be. Joseph got past his shame, obeyed God, and took Mary for his wife. Mary could have been shamed, but she had no cause to be shamed. On the contrary, Eve had every cause to be shamed, but God didn’t want her to be shamed. Never, ever did God want shame to come upon one or the other. Never, ever did he want the crown of creation to be dulled by sin.
Joseph, in his fiat, is the son that God longs for, the errant son who returns. Just as Jesus is the perfect son, so Joseph is emblematic of us, the imperfect son, and what God wishes of us. He wishes us not to be afraid, to not allow shame to draw us back and keep us from doing what God wants us to do. Because Joseph did not allow his shame to hold him back, the Kingdom of God was able to take that next step forward in being made more manifest.
Imagine what would have happened if Adam had been the same sort of man as St. Joseph? Would he and Eve have been kicked out of the garden? Who knows? In justice, yes. But in mercy? We know our God is so merciful. I don’t know what God would have done. Nor would I presume to know the mind of God.
Christ and Adam are linked. Christ is the new Adam. However, I think that Adam and Joseph are also linked. In my humble opinion, I think that St. Joseph is the man that God wished fallen Adam would have been. Let us ask St. Joseph to help us, that we may not be daunted by the shame that awaits us because of our own sin or because of the sins of others, because of what we have done or because of what the world is. Let us fly unto God and trust that, if we don’t allow shame to hold us back, that God will bring good out of all evil, out of all sin, out of all disobedience. God can triumph. St. Joseph, pray for us. --Father Jacob Meyer, CFP Visitor