March is dedicated to St Joseph. We don't know much about Joseph but what we do know speaks volumes. Joseph had a huge undertaking, as God was asking him to not only marry a girl who was already pregnant but also to be an earthly father to the Man himself, Jesus! Wow!
Man is head of the household and meant to shoulder most of the responsibility, provide shelter, sustenance, protection, guidance and comfort. Now add to that that niggling feeling we all have sometimes that we are not measuring up and multiply that by imagining that you are providing all that for God. Now, think what enormous amounts of trust and faith Joseph must have had to agree to take on such a task. We all think and talk and venerate Mary's contribution (which is right and just) but do we also remember that Joseph played a key role as well?
During his life on earth, St. Joseph stayed in the background and served Mary and Jesus as their protector and provider. Aside from the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, little is known about St. Joseph except that he was a carpenter/craftsman. Scholars say St. Joseph probably died between the years of Jesus being found in the Temple and the start of his public ministry. While devotion to Mary flourished in the early Church, devotion to St. Joseph did not really develop until the 17th and 18th centuries when religious congregations helped promote St. Joseph as a patron and intercessor. In this Year of St. Joseph as declared by Pope Francis, let us recall the hidden life of St. Joseph and remember Joseph helped form the character of Jesus as his foster father. He must have been a lot more than merely a “just” man. (Stovall)
Among the saints who have had a special devotion to St. Joseph are St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila, both of whom are Doctors of the Church. The Church has turned to Joseph for his patronage and protection.
"It greatly behooves Christians, while honoring the Virgin Mother of God, constantly to invoke with deep piety and confidence her most chaste spouse, Saint Joseph. We have a well grounded conviction that such is the special desire of the Blessed Virgin herself." --Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Quamquam Pluries (On the Devotion to St Joseph) in 1889 explains why we place so much trust in this saint:
“Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life’s companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men.
Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents. From this two-fold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties. …It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Prayer For The Intercession Of Saint Joseph:
O Joseph, virgin-father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray every day for us to the same Jesus, the Son of God, that we, being defended by the power of His grace and striving dutifully in life, may be crowned by Him at the hour of death.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954