“Christians have always held the man in fascination,” writes theologian Scott Hahn in “Silent Knight, Holy Knight,” a chapter in his book, Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does). “The New Testament begins by telling the events of salvation from his point of view. Some of history’s greatest minds have pondered his actions–from Augustine through Aquinas to John Paul II. Yet we do not know a single syllable of a single word he ever spoke.”
Hahn continues: “Not even the most prolific author in all of history can claim to have had such influence–to have influenced God himself. And yet, as I said, we possess not a word we can call St. Joseph’s.”
What we have are his deeds–and his silence, which is itself significant…Joseph’s actions speak volumes. Like great poetry, they speak eloquently, if sometimes enigmatically.
I recalled Hahn’s tribute to St. Joseph when a good friend who’s been reading these posts on Speech & Silence shared this from his own spiritual reading:
St. Joseph has no need to speak with his mouth. Actions are louder than words. Scripture records that on four separate occasions an angel appeared to St. Joseph instructing him on a course of action. On each occasion, St. Joseph wakes from sleep and simply does what the angel commanded.
The simplicity of St. Joseph leaves me (almost) speechless. And longing to sit in God’s presence in attentive silence.
This post is part of a series (see A Lenten Invitation from a Babbling Brook: Focus on Speech and Silence). To receive new installments, you’re invited to “Follow SparrowFare via Email” by placing your email address in the box in the right sidebar (mobile users will find it below). Please share the posts that speak to you. In this contentious time, let’s spread the word about the importance of our words.