By: Allison Ramirez
Today is my husband Nathan and I’s 2-year wedding anniversary! We were married on this day, amidst the pandemic, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Solemnities are celebrations of great importance in the Church, typically holy days of obligation, and are placed higher than feast days (celebrations of the lives of the saints or other events in the church) and memorial days (also associated with remembering the saints). Other Solemnities in the Catholic Church are the days of Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, Christ the King, and the Assumption and Immaculate Conception of Mary. The significance of a Solemnity is that it celebrates and points us to something of great importance in the Church. In this case of today, we are reminded of St. Joseph, earthly father to the Son of God and spouse to the Queen of Heaven, Mary herself. According to oral tradition, March 19 was the supposed day of Joseph’s death, and in the 15th century, Pope Gregory XV officially declared this day as the feast of St. Joseph for the entire church.
The gift of our wedding anniversary falling on this day is that each and every year we are reminded not only of our own marriage covenant, but of Joseph’s marriage covenant with Mary, of his servant-heart, of his faithful devotion to his family, and his example of quiet, faithful obedience to God in all things. What a gift this day has been to us and to the whole church—as indeed, St. Joseph is honored as the patron of the universal church.
One of my favorite saints is St. Theresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church and a Spanish Mystic from the fourteenth century who writes these words of St. Joseph in her autobiography:
It seems that to other saints our Lord has given power to help us in only one kind of necessity; but this glorious saint, [St. Joseph], I know by my own experience, assists us in all kinds of necessities...I only request, for the love of God, that whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for he will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious Patriarch and to be devout to him.... Whoever wants a master to instruct him how to pray, let him choose this glorious saint for his guide, and he will not lose his way (St. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography, c. 6, n. 11).
On this holy day, I invite you to consider how St. Joseph’s humble, peaceful, hard-working spirit can become your own. Where can you emulate his trust in the Lord, despite his life being far from the life he expected or perhaps even desired? May St. Joseph be a light and model to all husbands, fathers, workers, and the throng of those silent witnesses who, day in and day out, demonstrate Christ’s love in the world.