"Joseph...did as the angel of the Lord had directed him." —Matthew 1:24
St. Joseph was a foster-father. He was not the biological father of Jesus, but he raised Jesus from birth with all the love and faithfulness as would a biological father. It can also be said that St. Joseph was a foster-husband. Mary's spouse was the Holy Spirit. She conceived Jesus by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18). The Church teaches that Mary was a perpetual virgin, devoted to her Spouse, the Holy Spirit (Catechism, 723). St. Joseph thus did not have a conjugal relationship with Mary, yet served her faithfully as her husband with all the devotion and holy protection as would any husband.
Mary certainly didn't consider Joseph a substitute husband or father. When she and Joseph found the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple, her words were "Your father and I," and "why have you done this to us?" (Lk 2:48) Mary followed Joseph's decisions with full confidence in his ability to hear the Lord.
God did not consider Joseph a substitute father or husband. The Lord entrusted him with the responsibility and honor of naming Jesus (Mt 1:25). God gave dreams and visions to Joseph. It was his ability to hear the Lord that God relied upon in giving him the orders to flee to Egypt and later return to Israel (Mt 2:13, 19-23). Jesus received His lineage as a royal Son of David through Joseph's standing in the tribe of Judah (Mt 1:16). Joseph may have been a foster-father and foster-husband, but God used him to father Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, and Messiah. Thanks be to God for St. Joseph.
Prayer: Father, may St. Joseph foster many holy vocations to the priesthood, religious life, holy married and lay single life.
Promise: "The lives of the poor He shall save." Ps 72:13
Praise: "O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, Who showed Yourself to Moses in the burning bush, Who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: Come, stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 2, 2019
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.