Over the past 10 years of so I have read numerous books from Scepter Publishers. With each book that I read I find that my faith is challenged, that my attitudes and actions are challenged. And even though many of the books from Scepter are in translation I find that I appreciate them greatly. This was the fifth book by Federico Saurez that I have read. I find that the writing really speaks to me. As a husband and a father I cannot but help to look to Saint Joseph as an example. And Federico presents a very realistic portrait of the man, the husband, the father, in such a way that as men we will be challenged to raise our game. And for women a picture of true manhood.
In the forward Suarez states "It is not easy to write reliably on Saint Joseph, the last of the patriarchs, the craftsman of Nazareth, and the spouse of our Lady. Every historian knows that, without sources, history is impossible. One cannot attain it through simple conjecture. Once a few facts are available, it is possible to go a little further and trace a sketch, enriched with the help of an appropriate setting. But this can never become even a brief biography.
However, to write, not on Saint Joseph, but on themes concerning the saint or with regard to him, is different. For one is not attempting a biography but a reflection. Or, if you like, a meditation. It is not a reconstruction of a life but a series of considerations derived from a few facts, which are not explicit but are inferred." And he also states "The devotion Saint Josemaría Escrivá had for the holy patriarch led him to sketch this terse and penetrating portrait: "He is an ordinary man, a family man, a worker who earned his living by manual labour." But isn't this something that can be said of very many people? And isn't this to say that holiness - for Joseph is a great saint - is accessible in the most ordinary and everyday occupations? And, if this is the case, cannot contemplation of the Gospel, insofar as it refers in one way or other to this person (who, humanly speaking, is so much at our own level), reveal to us the secret of sanctity in work and in the fulfillment of one's duties?" and that is what we get with this book. We receive a portrait of Joseph, an ordinary man who was given an extraordinary mission.
The chapters in this book:
1. The figure of Joseph
2. A quiet man
3. The spouse of Mary
4. Being a just man
5. "While he reflected. . ."
6. He took his wife to his home
7. They met Mary, Joseph, and the Child
8. "You shall call his name Jesus"
9. Simeon blessed them
10. "Rise and flee to Egypt. . ."
11. "Remain there. . ."
12. He feared going there
13. They returned to Jerusalem
14. And seeing him, they marvelled
15. "Your father and I . . ."
16. They did not understand his reply
17. He was subject to them
18. The son of the craftsman
19. A faithful and prudent steward
This book is a moving read. The examples presented, the meditations or reflections on Joseph's life are deeply moving. And will help the reader grow in faith and piety. For the example of Joseph cannot help but motivate. This book can be read two ways and I have now read it both, you can pick it up and read it from beginning to end. The second time through I took it chapter by chapter, spread out the reading, and using it for deeper reflection. You will benefit from both readings but this second method turns the book into a literary reflection.
This book was an excellent read. And most of Saurez's books are available in English and I can highly recommend them. But I cannot help but wish that the last few would become available in English in the future. Another great book from Scepter, thank you!
Books by Federico Saurez:
(Available in English)
Mary of Nazareth
Joseph of Nazareth
The Sacrifice of the Altar
About Being a Priest
The Narrow Gate
Our Lady the Virgin
When the Son of Man Comes
(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)