Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Go to Joseph

     After reading only the first chapter of Go To Joseph by Fr. Richard W. Gilsdorf, I felt my understanding of Christ’s childhood and the role of Joseph being expanded. I hadn’t before considered all of the vast implications of Joseph’s role in the Holy Family, nor had I made all of the connections among Old Testament persons whose roles in history resembled those Joseph would play as the foster father of Jesus until I read this book. Picturing Joseph as a young man of about nineteen changed my view of him considerably. I appreciated the historical references and research included to give a more in-depth synapses of what occurred between the time Mary was found with child and that of Joseph’s death.
     I felt more connected to Jesus and Mary when, for the first time ever, I imagined them by Joseph’s side, mourning his death. There isn’t anything about the circumstances and emotions surrounding his passing, but surely if Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died, he cried when His father on earth passed away.
     The greatest advantage to reading this book is that it has increased my understanding of and devotion to Joseph as a powerful intercessor and important role model in Christ’s life. It got me thinking about how faith-filled and graceful a man Joseph must have been. I wondered what he and Mary talked about on their way to Bethlehem. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to hear the conversations that took place between Joseph and Jesus when He was just a boy?
     Though advertised as “a retreat in a book,” I don’t think it really serves that purpose. Each chapter has extensive footnotes, some have contradicting arguments, and the writing is often very academic and intellectual. There were certainly times when I came across golden nuggets to ponder that made it well-worth sifting through the numerous footnotes and suppositions of various theological scholars.
     You could definitely take parts of this book and build a retreat around it. Praying the Rosary while contemplating more of the mysteries from Joseph’s point of view has made that form of prayer a richer experience for me. Meditating on the poignant study questions at the end of each chapter has also helped to enrich the vision I have of Joseph’s role as husband, father, protector, provider, and head of the family.
     I would certainly recommend reading this book, as it will likely increase your respect for Joseph and the role of fathers—biological, foster, and spiritual.
     This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. In exchange for a free copy of the book, I provide an honest review. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Go To Joseph.
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