Continuing our discussion in section 5 on a creatively courageous father …
At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Matthew 1:24; 2:14.21). Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith. [Cf. S. Rituum Congregatio, Quemadmodum Deus (8 December 1870): ASS 6 (1870-1871), 193; Bl Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Inclytum Patriarcham (7 July 1871): l.c., 324-327]
In the divine plan of salvation, the Son is inseparable from his Mother, from Mary, who “advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the cross”. [Lumen Gentium 58]
The quality of courage is often applied when it is employed on behalf of others. Saint Joseph was certainly a man of courage in his response to divine nudges and his active protection of his wife and infant. We see in the biblical Joseph a person who acts the same as many of us would: taking responsibility and overseeing the welfare of others.
We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are also mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safekeeping. The Son of the Almighty came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph. God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child.
In this light, Saint Joseph as Guardian of the Church certainly makes sense, especially as we imagine the man and his role and how we might picture ourselves in his footsteps.
In this sense, Saint Joseph could not be other than the Guardian of the Church, for the Church is the continuation of the Body of Christ in history, even as Mary’s motherhood is reflected in the motherhood of the Church. [Catechism 963-970] In his continued protection of the Church, Joseph continues to protect the child and his mother, and we too, by our love for the Church, continue to love the child and his mother.