It Also Took a Fiat From Joseph, Not Just From Mary


Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Matthew 1:19-24)

I was pondering the state of the world today, thinking about how we had gotten to where we are. As I prayed and sat in the chapel, I thought about all the rage I see in society. I thought how it seems to be coming from every direction. God whispered, “I made them male and female.” I thought about recent events. How men seem to have used women, and how women march in the streets in anger at men.

“Lord,” I said, “why does it have to be this way?” He whispered, “it doesn’t.” I looked up at the altar at that moment and to the right, I saw a statue of Saint Joseph. I realized I don’t often ask for his intercession when I pray for myself or my family. Though I do ask for it for a Priest I pray for. Perhaps it’s because as a female, I relate to Mother Mary and to the female Saints, I wasn’t sure why. I asked God to tell me about Saint Joseph.

It Took a Fiat of Joseph

As I sat contemplating, a thought poured over me. We all know Jesus came and was the “new Adam.” It was through our King, Our Lord, and Savior, that these chains of sin were broken on the Cross. O happy Fault, the sin of Adam, that gave us a Redeemer.  But God asked me to look closer at what it took for Jesus to get here. It took the Fiat of Mary, which made her a true Queen. But it took something else too, it took a Fiat of Joseph. Things would have been vastly different if Joseph had not said yes and trusted God as well.

A little while back I wrote about how men are the Guardians of the Divine Life. It was Adam who named the animals and revealed God spiritually in the world. His job in the garden was to protect it and to protect Eve and guard the Divine. We see the male Priesthood reveal this as well.

And so it is here, when a righteous man wakes up from a dream, we actually see JOSEPH doing something Adam didn’t. His yes, protected Mary from evil and guarded the Divine Life in her. Joseph becomes the example of what a human man should be. A protector from evil and a guardian of Divine Life. Because he was born with original sin, this yes of his was most definitely courageous. Though as noted in the verse above, he was righteous, and so we can glean that God chose him because of this. It is the Foster Father, Joseph who is the head of the Holy Family, and who by taking Mary into his home, together with her, helps to bring us our Redeemer. They are BOTH needed, male and female, working together to bring us our Redeemer; in perfect acts of submission to the will of God, and in fulfillment of the roles God created for them.


God had originally brought forth creation and we lived in harmony with His Kingdom. His Kingdom was lived on earth as it is in heaven through a married couple. Adam with the authority to name the creatures of the Kingdom, and Eve, from whom human life would come forth. It is as if God’s creation was itself a Tabernacle, housing His Divine Will where His creation lived in harmony with it and Adam, who was given Dominion, was the Guardian of this. After the fall, God had to send His Son, as the means for us to gain back the harmony with His Will that we had lost. God didn’t ever leave us, but there was a disruption of the unity. So it is by the merits and grace of Christ, we can be restored. But it goes beyond that, because His merits and His Grace when applied to Mary and Joseph, what we see again is God using the married couple to help restore the unity of Kingdom by working together in harmony to usher in the Redeemer. Joseph was the Guardian of the Living Tabernacle, Mary, through whom God in us can be restored.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)


This is why the family, the Domestic Church, is so important. It is where we can begin to see the Kingdom of God at hand. Rebuilding the family rebuilds the community, which rebuilds the nation, which rebuilds the world. One heart at a time. Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Joseph is a co-redeemer. We can actually all participate in this. We follow their example, we sacrifice, we suffer, through the cross we become detached from the worldly and we move back towards unity with God.

Terror of Demons

And so, Saint Joseph is the terror of demons. It isn’t just Mary who steps on the head of the serpent, he does also. Mary and Joseph took back domain from Satan that had been stolen in the garden and ushered in a Savior, who would truly crush evil. Jesus was the Savior of them both, but it does reveal the Mighty power of God and how he applied the merits of the Redemption. Two human souls working together in the complementary way they were made, to bring about the Redemption of all of us, through the Son of God placed in their midst.

It is said the only Manmade thing in heaven are the wounds of Jesus Christ. It is there we can pour our sin and un-forgiveness for the offenses others have committed against us, and be set free from the evil man has chosen. Imagine, for a second, the embarrassment Joseph must have felt for Mary’s pregnancy. He knew she could be killed for it. In his compassion, he was going to divorce her quietly. Yet he listened to the angel in the dream, and despite what must have been the whisperings and gossip of others, the calumny against him, he did what God asked. It required forgiveness of others and righteousness. If we can love God like him, if we can forgive the trespasses against us, we can regain our dominion from Satan, and follow the way of the Cross we can live in a world of love where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. We will see Oceans of mercy pour forth over us from those man-made wounds of Christ when we live like this.

Instead of using and marching against one another, let us learn to love and sacrifice for one another, like Mary and Joseph.

St Joseph, the terror of demons. Pray for us.

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18 thoughts on “It Also Took a Fiat From Joseph, Not Just From Mary”

  1. Great article. Theologians (which I am not) could nitpick and try to belittle your article, but I think it is great!

    One piece that I am drawn to that goes with your article. Joseph’s fiat (yes in action) was necessary much like Mary’s. The Messiah needed to be ‘Son of David’. And that comes from Joseph. “[T]he angel Gabriel was sent … to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.” – [Luke 1:26,27] Later, the angel Gabriel says, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.” – [Luke 1:32]

    Luke clearly makes the distinction that Jesus is Son of David through Joseph. Joseph being Son of David was so integral that it was the title the angel addressed him with in the Gospel of Matthew that you quoted at the beginning of the article.

    The Messiah needed to be Son of David and that was done through Joseph. Could God have done it differently? Indeed. But God choose to depend upon Joseph’s yes just as God depended on Mary’s yes.

    I really love Joseph and will have to cut myself short before I write enough for a whole article myself. 😉

  2. Pingback: Joseph Was Also Full of Grace - Catholic Stand

  3. Pingback: Men and Women and the Authority of God - Catholic Stand : Catholic Stand

  4. Really? “Mary and Joseph took back the domain of Satan…?” This is poor theology and excessive talk. While Mary is called by many of the Fathers and Catholic writers “New Eve” Christ alone takes away and destroys the power of Satan. Christ is “new Adam”, Mary, New Eve” The Virgin receives her “power” from God by her “fiat” and the One she bore. Joseph while a noble, just man, worthy of veneration does not share in the gifts given by God to the Mother of God. No place in Sacred Scripture or the early Tradition of the Church is Joseph venerated as “co redeemer”. Strong families are needed but not by using language that is exaggerated, anti Traditional and equates him with the Mother of God. Christ not Joseph is the “terror of demons” no matter what the opinion of a saint, prayer, or private revelation might say.

    We do not need to create stumbling blocks for other Catholics or even other Christians by proclaiming more than the Church herself teaches.

    1. John Paul II called for all those baptized in Christ to be “co-redeemers,”Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the sick at the Hospital of the Brothers of St. whn of God (Fatebenefratelli) on Rome’s Tiber Island on April 5, 1981, LOsservatore Romano, English edition, April 13, 1981, p. 6)

    2. Hi Sue,
      Actually the Litany of St. Joseph was sanctioned by Pope Pius X in 1909. It can be traced back to 1827 in Le Puy, France to one of the founding houses of the Congregations of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Litany has not been around for ages. Where the title came from or why it is applied to St. Joseph is obscure.

      Devotion to St. Joseph developed very late in the West, the first church named for him was consecrated in Bologna in 1129. A very late date in the history of devotion to the saints.

      I love St. Joseph but again titles like “terror of demons” are excessive hyperbole and not rooted in Scripture or Tradition.

      JPII’s use of the title “co-redeemers” means that we share in the redeeming work of Christ through the grace of the Sacraments. It is not a specific, unique title given to St. Joseph by the Church.

      Being honest, the article seems to say that St. Joseph share in the Lord’s salvific work is much deeper and intense than the rest of us. In this sense it is being used in a way that implies it should be a defined title for St. Joseph, as in “Mother of God” for the Virgin.

      We Catholics always seem to forget that our Lord said that of St. John the Baptist, “Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Mt 11:11 DRA

      According to our Lord in the order of human birth St. John the Baptist ranks ahead of St. Joseph. These words are forgotten consistently, but are actual words spoken by our Lord. Other than the infancy narratives st. Joseph is only mention in private devotions or meditations.

      As far as comparing the words of the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Canons (Per ipsum…) to “Mary as co Redemptrix, Joseph co Redeemer”. There is no comparison, nor should there be. This is again excessive.

      If we want to honor the Mother of God or St. Joseph, instead heaping dubious titles (not based in Scripture and Tradition) on them let us emulate them and ask for their intercession.

    3. With all due respect, a Pope approved the Litany. And the article, just like JPII says we can all participate in co-redemption, why is it excessive to say Saint Joseph was able to participate in this as the Foster Father of Jesus? Are you saying something that is available to all of us wasn’t available to the man who took care of Christ in his earthly life? The article also specifically says that it through the merits of Christ. And when Christ applies the merits it shows how mighty Christ is. My point in writing it was that it was a married couple working together that ushered him here. With the attack we see on marriage the Holy Family is a great example. I stand by what I wrote. Things would have been vastly different for Mary if Joseph hadn’t said yes. And You can ask the Pope’s about the dubious titles since they used and approved them.

    4. Sue, the question becomes not is St. Joseph a just and holy man, but what Pope John Paul was saying had to do with the co-redemption that comes to us through the Sacraments. We are all called to bring the graces we receive to the world so that all would know, love and serve God.

      There seems to be a difference in saying that St Joseph or the Virgin are “Co-Redeemers” (a title being pushed by some to be defined by the Church at least for the Mother of God) and saying we all are co-redeemers.

      Yes, I agree that the work of the Lord is applied to His people and grace can abound in us through this.

      The fiat of the Virgin is greater than the fiat or St. Joseph…they both said yes, but the Mother of God did it without question and without much hesitation. St. Joseph had to be convinced.

      Still as you say, the Holy Family are a great example, actually from what the Church surmises they are THE example of family life. Family life is being attacked and the Holy Family should be invoked, the Lord for His mercy and the Virgin and St. Joseph for their prayers. Yous should stand by what you wrote, I am just offering another point of view. I do like to have theological discussions with others who love the Church.

      My biggest concern is that the the Virgin deserves hyperdulia whereas St. Joseph is given dulia.

      We might know what we are saying or writing and the meaning we place on our words but there are those who do not understand the theological distinctions between St. Joseph’s share in Christ’s work and the deeper sharing of the Virgin’s work for our salvation.

      Popes can do what popes want to do for the most part, but just because they say or do something does not make it always prudent or wise.

    5. St Joseph did NOT give a “Fiat” (“Let it be done”). The Incarnation had already been done. Joseph merely needed reassurance from God that it was still OK and right for him to fulfil his vow to take Mary into his home even though she now is the Mother of God and he will have to care for Him too; and that God didn’t want him to divorce her. .

    6. Ronky,
      Excellent response, never thought of it the way your put it, there was no “fiat” from St. Joseph.

    7. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
      He did as he was commanded. The angel decreed what he should do and he did it. It was his yes. He could have said no. It wasn’t spoken like hers but his actions said yes. Like I said, the story would have been vastly different if he said no.

  5. Many thanks Susan – “Mary as co- Redemptrix , Joseph as co – Redeemer, together with us participating with them is a very interesting concept and reminds me with “through Him, with Him, and in Him” as sung by the celebrant- Priest during Mass.

    Not so relevant perhaps, but may I just bother you with – was Mary in attendance at the Last Supper. Were the faithful women also there? Did Mary follow Jesus afterwards and witnessed all that happened to Jesus. Mary was there by the roadside and they will have regarded one-another at the beginning of the journey to Calvary. Did Mary follow all the way to stand at the foot of the Cross and was there when He was laid in the tomb? Sorry to be so bothersome. Nik Morris

    1. The Gospels don’t tell us if she was at the last supper, though women likely would have been at Passover in a service type role. The Gospels do tell us she was at the foot of the Cross in John 19:26-27. Tradition tells us she met him on the Passion (Stations of the Cross). The Seventh Sorrow of Mary’s seven sorrows speaks of the her sorrow at his burial, though Scripture doesn’t.

    2. The Gospels are crystal clear that only Christ and the 12 Apostles and nobody else were present at the Last Supper. And that St Peter and St John were the ones who prepared the Passover “in a service type role”.

      Furthermore the Gospels strongly imply that the Last Supper took place in a male-only monastery. Hence the instruction to Ss Peter and John to follow a man carrying a pitcher of water – an unusual sight, as fetching water was women’s work, except in all-male households.

    3. You are correct. She was not present. I should have been more clear. What Jesus did was different than custom at the time, which would have had women in service roles. Christ did not do this. I apologize. This was the founding of the Priesthood. Thank you for correcting me, I do not want to give false information.

    4. Actually a men-only Passover meal was not that unusual. Contemporary Jewish historians and rabbinical sources tell us that every able-bodied adult male Jew in the world was religiously obliged to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, if reasonably possible. Most of them left their wives and children behind. Jerusalem’s population swelled from about 50 thousand to about a million, with most of the visitors camped outside the walls but inside a temporary fence used to expand the boundary of the city for the occasion. (Hence Pilate’s concern not to arouse the crowds at this time, composed mainly of able-bodied young men, many of them religious and nationalist zealots.) They celebrated the Passover in “households” of between ten and 20 men.

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