The Holy Family
oil on canvas
30 x 30”
One of my favorite paintings of the Baroque period is by Guido Reni. His famous painting of Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus (1620c.) is recognizable by many Catholics. The church often depicted Joseph as an elderly man as if to prove his virtue but many believe he was much younger, full of grace, vigor and very virtuous.
I often think of what Joseph may have looked like. We know he was a carpenter, working with wood and stone. He must have been very strong. And I believed that he would have appeared more aged with had tanned skin, weathered hands and bleached hair from working outside all day. He also must have been full of energy and endurance to make the long trek to Egypt and back. I believe that God chose Joseph as His protector for a reason…because Joseph was capable…meaning of strong in mind, body and spirit.
My nod to Reni's piece is to present the holy family with a much younger Joseph. Saint Joseph was the patriarch, priest and protector of his family. He is the model for all fathers and The Holy Family is our family.
Joseph was obedient to God’s command to “take Mary, your wife, into
your home.” He also listen to God speaking to him. St. Joseph can help us,
through his prayers, to also learn to listen to God in prayer and be obedient to
God’s directions. It takes strength and courage to be faithful.
(Matthew 2:13-15) St. Matthew shows us that St. Joseph listened to
the Lord’s instructions and obeyed them. St. Joseph acted with great wisdom and strength to protect his family from danger. St. Joseph took seriously his responsibilities as husband, father and priest and acted as spiritual leader of his family, leading them in faith.
(Matthew 2:23) After God directed St. Joseph to bring the Holy Family back from
Egypt, St. Matthew tells us that St. Joseph took his family to Nazareth so biblical
prophecy could be fulfilled.