Saint Joseph – Model of Perfect Devotion to Mary

Source: District of Asia

The Church proposes Saint Joseph, to whom the month of March is dedicated, as a model of every virtue. Among all virtues, one shines in Saint Joseph like in no other saint, and that is perfect devotion to Mary. Yes, Saint Joseph, the celestial Spouse of Mary, the Master of the interior life, is also, and by excellence, the great model of a life united to Mary, the model of perfect devotion and consecration to the Blessed Virgin. Let us, therefore, see how Saint Joseph practiced to perfection this important aspect of the spiritual life, in order to imitate his example.

1st: The Devotion to Mary, a Grace from God

Perfect devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a grace from God, that is, a completely gratuitous gift. And this is the first thing we see in Saint Joseph. For Saint Joseph was providentially chosen by God to be the Spouse of the virginal Mother of the Savior. The Liturgy affirms this to us in the Votive Mass of Saint Joseph: "O God, who in your ineffable Providence deigned to choose Saint Joseph as the Spouse of your Most Holy Mother...". Saint Joseph, knowing this divine and undeserved choice, humbly but faithfully corresponded to it. From that moment, his only desire was to unite perfectly with the Most Holy Mary, whom he recognized as a most holy and privileged soul. We too must be aware of the great grace that God bestows on us by calling us to sweet intimacy with the Mother of God. Saint Louis Marie never tires of repeating that true devotion to Mary is an outstanding grace, not granted to all men but attained through humble and persevering prayer. It is not us who decide one day to live united to Mary, but God called us to this life of intimacy with the Blessed Virgin. It is up to us to respond to this outstanding grace as Saint Joseph did.

2nd: Perfect Consecration to Mary

We see, therefore, Saint Joseph called to a special union and intimacy with the Blessed Virgin. How did he begin to live his perfect devotion to Mary?

  • First of all, by consecrating his body to her. Indeed, God chose him to be the Spouse of the Most Holy Mary, meaning that He wanted him to be united to her by the bond of a real marriage. Now, for there to be a true marriage, it is necessary for the spouses to give each other the right over their bodies for the purpose of procreation. This is what Saint Joseph did, giving Mary complete right over his body and all his senses. To demonstrate how perfect this surrender was, upon learning that his immaculate Spouse had made a vow of perpetual virginity and asked him to also keep in chastity the body he had given her, Saint Joseph immediately made the same vow. In other words, Saint Joseph gave his body to Mary, but he gave it to her in perfect chastity.

    We too, through our consecration, have given our body to Mary with all its senses, health, and strength. This means that we must treat it as a temple of Mary; its senses must be guarded; its attitude, dress, and behavior must be modest; we must mortify what is disorderly in it and take care of its health, not tiring it unnecessarily, to have it always at the disposal of Mary. If She decides to send illness, we must accept it lovingly and with abandonment.
  • Saint Joseph gave Mary his soul with its faculties. He gave her his intelligence because he applied himself to contemplate her in order to imitate her. He gave her his will because he always strove to fulfill her smallest desires, even if the Lord had entrusted him with the authority of the family of Nazareth.
  • He gave her his material and spiritual goods: his time, his work, his strength, what he earned with the sweat of his brow, and by this, he nourished the Savior of the World; his reputation, accepting to live humbly and totally unknown.

3rd:  Life of Intimacy with Mary

But Saint Joseph's devotion to Mary was not limited to being a mere surrender of all that he was and had. Above all, it was, and in an eminent way, a life of intimacy with her, a life of abandonment, of trust. Saint Joseph shared his entire life with the Blessed Virgin as her spouse; and among spouses, there are no secrets, but everything is shared and communicated. As happens to a husband, who directs all his love and affection towards his wife, so also Saint Joseph applied himself to love the Blessed Virgin with all his might.

When she became the Mother of God, Saint Joseph's love for the Blessed Virgin grew immensely because he saw in Mary the easy path to love the Redeemer more perfectly.

Never on this earth was there such a pure and perfect marital love. And since love aspires to identification in everything, to the union of wills, interests, desires, and goals, we can already glimpse to what degree of intimacy Saint Joseph reached, and how perfect and holy were always his affections towards Mary.

Thus, Saint Joseph had to: converse familiarly with the Blessed Virgin; and the subject of their conversation would be the highest, Jesus, Redemption, the glory of God...; communicate to Mary all his sorrows, desires, thoughts, and also receive from her these same intimate communications; share with her all his sufferings, as seen in the Gospel narrative (Joseph's doubts, circumcision, escape to Egypt, loss of the Child Jesus in the temple...), thus becoming a co-redeemer; above all, penetrate into the Heart of Mary, to be made a participant by his spouse in all the treasures enclosed there through contemplation, and to read her interior dispositions, copy them, and imitate them perfectly.

We too must reproduce this aspect of Marian life. Reducing devotion to Mary to the surrender of all that we are and have would be to not understand the spirit of this true devotion, and perhaps take away its most attractive and sanctifying aspect. What Our Lady desires by calling us to unite with her is that we transform our lives into constant companionship with her, in work, in suffering, in prayer, in study, in family life; she wants us to have a very filial relationship with her, sharing our joys, sorrows, desires, and everything that concerns us in one way or another. True devotion to Mary implies the Marianization of all our relationships with God and with others. Saint Joseph gives us a perfect example of all this.

4th: Essentially Christ-Centred Life

Is that all? Far from it. Saint Joseph, initially drawn to a life of intimacy with Our Lady, was the first to realize the interior dispositions of the Blessed Virgin, that is, that she was entirely directed toward Jesus, filled with Him, in fact, He was the only thing she carried within her. Saint Joseph entered the soul of Mary and saw and felt vividly that Mary lived, worked, and suffered only for Jesus, had never had any interests other than the interests of Jesus, and that Jesus was and will always be her entire reason for being. He tried to make the dispositions of his beloved Spouse his own, striving, like Mary and with Mary, to live, work, act, and suffer only for Jesus. Thus, in all this surrender and life of intimacy with Mary, Saint Joseph had Jesus as his end: Mary was only his perfect, secure, short, and easy path to reach Jesus. He was the first to practice "To Jesus through Mary."

Could we not then call Saint Joseph the first Apostle of Jesus and Mary? Because the Apostle is that: the one sent, the representative of someone, to fulfill a specific mission. The envoy must disappear completely as a private person, to identify himself with the interests of the one he represents. How well Saint Joseph knew how to do that! He identified completely with Jesus and Mary, adopted their thoughts, wills, interests, and lived and sacrificed himself quietly but effectively for them: Saint Joseph thus collaborated eminently in the work of Redemption, saving and nurturing the Redeemer and the Co-Redeemer. Who can deny him this glory?


God invites all of us, like Saint Joseph, to consecrate ourselves totally to the Blessed Virgin. Those who have not yet made this consecration will find in the example of the Holy Patriarch a powerful incentive to do so. And those who are already blessed to be consecrated to her will find in Saint Joseph the most perfect model of how to live that consecration. Both should ask for the following graces:

1st Above all, the grace of learning to belong entirely to Our Lady, in a way that we practice with actions what we have promised with words. Consecration to Mary should not be an isolated act that, once done, we leave "archived"; it requires continuous effort to give more and more to the Blessed Virgin and to let her dispose of everything with increasing abandonment.

2nd Then, the grace of striving to achieve a profound interior life, that is, a perfect imitation of the dispositions of Jesus and Mary.

3rd Likewise, the grace of enjoying the precious intimacy with Jesus and Mary that Saint Joseph enjoyed, learning to penetrate like him into the Heart of Our Immaculate Mother, to read in it her dispositions and copy them in our hearts; and also knowing how to open our own hearts to Our Lady, making her a partaker of all our confidences.

4th Finally, the grace of knowing how to spend ourselves entirely for Jesus and Mary, as Saint Joseph spent himself until death, which was a death in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Thus, we will achieve the ideal outlined by Saint John Eudes:

"Live the life of this blessed Heart, have in your heart its same sentiments, enter into its same dispositions, follow its indications, love what it loves, hate what it hates and nothing else; desire only what it desires, rejoice only in what rejoices it, fear only what it would fear if it were still subject to fear; be saddened only by what would sadden it, if it were still capable of sadness; work for the fulfillment of its designs; surrender completely to the spirit that animates it, so that this same spirit possesses and leads you in all things, so that its grace sanctifies you, its charity inflames you, and above all, so that its zeal for the salvation of souls devours you."

Oh Patriarch Saint Joseph, make us lead an innocent and holy life, always secured by your patronage.