Happy feast of St. Joseph, the greatest saint after Our Lady!
Leo XIII, Quamquam pluries
, August 15th, 1899, written to proclaim St. Joseph patron of the universal Church, argues that St. Joseph's eminent sanctity is due to the graces of the sacrament of matrimony
The dignity of the Mother of God is so elevated that there can be no higher created one. But since St. Joseph was united to the Blessed Virgin by the conjugal bond, there is no doubt that he approached nearer than any other to that super-eminent dignity of hers by which the Mother of God surpasses all created natures. Conjugal union is the greatest of all (coniugium societas necessitudoque omnium maxima); by its very nature it is accompanied by a reciprocal communication of the goods of the spouses. If then God gave St. Joseph to Mary to be her spouse He certainly did not give him merely as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, a guardian of her honor, but He made him also participate by the conjugal bond (coniugali fœdere) in the eminent dignity which was hers.
(quoted in Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life
, ch. 7)
According to St. Alphonsus Liguori Sermon 10 for the Feast of St. Joseph
, "divisus est
" (1 Cor. 7:33
) didn't apply to his marriage:
It is true that he had a great love for his spouse Mary; but his was not a divided love, although, as the apostle says, the heart of the husband is usually divided. “But he that has a wife is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife and he is divided.”—1 Cor. 7:33. No, the love which he felt for his spouse, filled him still more with divine love and therefore, we cannot doubt that Joseph whilst he lived with Jesus Christ, increased so much in sanctity and merits, that we may say he excels all the other saints.