I Am Yosef

"The Flight into Egypt" by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld - public domain via Wikimedia Commons

O Lord, I am Yosef. I am David’s son, heir to your holy promise to make of this people a great nation. But I am small and I am afraid.

You have spoken to me in my dreams. I am where you have called me to be, here in this place of my ancestor’s birth, driven here by those who rule us and who will stop at nothing to build an empire that is not your own. And I am here in this barn, an old man and yet a new father, wondering why in the world you have brought me here.

Miryam is young and beautiful, and with your child she is radiant and serene. Will I ever really know her, or that lovely child she brought into the world just days ago? Then, when the men from the East came with gifts, I was at a loss for words. Who am I among them?

And what am I to do now that there is word that Herod is agitated that this child is a king? Am I to take them to Egypt, that place where my ancestors were slaves?

Speak to me, Lord, and guide my steps. Help me to be the man that this woman and this child need. Help me to lead them to safety, to provide food, to model your holy law. Send me an angel to bring your word, to offer your comfort. You have told us you are:

a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9–10)

Image: “The Flight into Egypt” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph to run December 8, 2020, through December 8, 2021. Learn more about St. Joseph here.

Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon is the author of a number of books, including The Ignatian Workout and Living Against the Grain, and teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Boston College.


  1. I am happy that the year of St.Joseph has been declared and I have posted the beautiful prayer to Facebook friends. St.Joseph pray for us.

  2. I have always had a soft spot for St Joseph.
    We got married on his Feast Day 43 years ago. Since my husband stopped working and the pandemic, we seem to argue pretty much most days as I struggle to have him here all the time.
    I do know I am not alone in this.
    When I feel I cannot pray, I just hand over to St Joseph and put my marriage in his hands when I am ready to give up on it.

  3. Let us be considerate to all those who are homeless just like the holy family, this season. All those who are away from their friends and family in a foreign land..let they all receive the help they are in need.oh holy family ,you know the difficulty of this desperate situation. Empower us your children , to help those in dire situations.

  4. Thank you so much for all of your reflections for Advent and the Christmas Season. How blessed we are to have this site! Peace and joy to you and to everyone who is blessed to read these reflections!

  5. Dear St Joseph, what a dutiful ,holy man. How bewildered he must have been. The last week of Advent Lots of soul searching for me. Thank you to the writers . It has been so lovely to be able to read their work without leaving my home. Although I have also been attending some of the extras at our Parish, Healing Mass, an Advent Reflection Evening.ONE priest here and a huge Parish Please Pray for more priests for Australia. Australian priests,would be good ! or American or Vietnamies. One from deep Africa, in a country town has turned a part of my family away from going to Mass, any many more. More praying required!A.M.D.G.

  6. Thanks Tim for your beautiful words penetrating the cypher that most of us project onto Yosef. If we think of Yosef as Jesus’ adoptive father, then we can extrapolate about Yosef from Jesus’ life and teachings. For example, Yosef’s respect for Mary must have been a big part of Jesus’ teaching and way of life upbuilding and uplifting women. The character of Yosef speaks through the life of his adopted son, our Lord. Yosef obeys in silence in Matthew’s Gospel while Mary gets all the good lines in Luke.

  7. The Christmas story is so full of miracles that we often forget that the main players were really just ordinary folks like us. A lot to digest even if your faith was great enough to take it all in. I often wish we knew more about Mary & Joseph. What a brave pair!

  8. Very interesting. The more I think about it poor St. Joseph must have had so many doubts about has calling, and his ability to fulfill that calling. Yet he continued to step out in faith day after day…A beautiful example for us.


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Tim Muldoon