The Seventh Joy : Family Life in Nazareth : ‘The Hidden Years’.
Across four decades of his painting from the 1970s, Michael D. O’Brien has returned again and again to create warm images of domestic life in the home at Nazareth. The gospels refer to Jesus both as ‘the carpenter’s son’ and as ‘the carpenter’, giving support to the belief that he learned that trade from Joseph.
Joseph never appears in the Gospel account of the public ministry of Jesus, so it is assumed that he died before Jesus left Nazareth. Catholic devotion invokes Joseph as a patron saint for the dying, imagining Jesus and Mary there with him as he left this world.
Whatever the material challenges may have been from time to time in Nazareth, surely the joy of that home was an enduring part of the life experience of Joseph.
Very, very many of the prayer petitions that come to Lough Derg in season and out of season, by post and online, ask for the blessing of peace, health and happiness in the family, or they express thanks for such rich gifts.
So let us pray with Pope Francis:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
- From his letter “With a Father’s Heart”
St Joseph, pray for us.