Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St.
Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today
I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph. In today's Gospel, St. Luke presents the Virgin
Mary as "betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David," (Luke 1:27). Yet, the one who gives the
most importance to the adoptive father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that, thanks to him,
the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David, fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah
was prophesized as the "son of David."
But the role of Joseph could not be reduced to this legal aspect. He is the model of a "righteous" man
(Matthew 1:19), who in perfect harmony with his spouse welcomes the Son of God made man and watches over
his human growth. Hence, in these days the precede Christmas, it is particularly fitting to establish a
kind of spiritual dialogue with St. Joseph so that he helps us live to the fullest this mystery of faith.
The beloved Pope John Paul II, who was very devoted to St. Joseph, left us an admirable meditation
dedicated to him in the apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos (Custodian of the Redeemer).
Among the many aspects that he emphasized, he dedicates a particular importance to the silence of St. Joseph. His
silence is permeated with the contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to
the divine will.
In other words, the silence of St. Joseph does not demonstrate an empty interior, but rather the fullness
of faith that he carries in his heart, and that guides each of his thoughts and actions. A silence through
which Joseph, together with Mary, guard the Word of God, known through sacred Scripture, comparing it
continually to the events of the life of Jesus; a silence interwoven with constant prayer, a prayer of
blessing of the Lord, of adoration of his holy will and of boundless confidence in his providence. It is
not exaggerated to say that Jesus will learn (on a human level) precisely from "father" Joseph this
intense interior life, which is the condition of authentic righteousness, the "interior righteousness,"
which one day he will teach to his disciples (cf. Matthew 5:20).
Let's allow ourselves to be "infected" by the silence of St. Joseph! It is so lacking in this world which
is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God. In this time
of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our
[Translation of the original Italian by ZENIT]
[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English he said:]
On this Fourth Sunday of Advent I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for the
Angelus. As the celebration of Our Lord's birth draws near let us join with Mary in prayerful trust, ready
to embrace God's will as a sign of hope for our world. During these last days of the holy season of Advent,
I invoke upon you and your families God's abundant blessings of joy and peace.