If the name of trustee is a mark of honor and testifies to probity;
…if, in order to confide a trust, we choose the one whose virtue is most assured, whose fidelity is most proven, and finally, the one who is the most intimate and most confidential of our friends, then how shall we measure the glory of Saint Joseph? God made him the trustee not only of blessed Mary, whose angelic purity made her so acceptable in his eyes, but still more of his own Son, the sole object of his delight and the unique hope of our salvation. Saint Joseph he made the trustee of the common treasure of God and man: the person of Jesus Christ. What eloquence could equal the grandeur and majesty of this title? He cannot be rightly praised without the assistance of grace. Grace will help me to plumb so deep a mystery….
The first of the treasures committed to his trust — the first, that is, in the order of time — was the holy virginity of Mary, which he had to preserve inviolate under the sacred veil of marriage, and which he always religiously protected as a sacred trust. The second and the more imposing was the person of Jesus Christ, whom the heavenly Father placed in his hands so that he might serve as the earthly father of the holy child. The third you will find most admirable, if I am able to explain it to you clearly. To understand it, we must realize that a secret is a kind of treasure. To betray the secret of a friend is to violate the sanctity of trust. The law says that if you spread abroad the secret of a testament that I confide in you, I may then take action against you for your lapse as trustee. The reason for this is plain: a secret is a kind of trust. From this you will easily comprehend that Joseph was the trustee of the eternal Father because God told him his secret. Which secret? The marvelous secret of the Incarnation of his Son. God's plan was not to reveal Jesus Christ to the world before his hour had come. Saint Joseph was chosen not only to keep the secret, but even to conceal it. Thus, we read in the Gospel that, with Mary, he marveled at all that was said of the Savior, but we do not read that he spoke, because the eternal Father revealed the mystery to him in secret and under the obligation of silence. Saint Bernard explained: "God desired to entrust to his faithfulness the most sacred secret of his heart."
How precious you are to God, O peerless Joseph, for to you he confided his three great treasures: the virginity of Mary, the person of his only-begotten Son, and the secret of all his mystery.
Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, "God’s Trustee." From Meditations for Advent (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2012).
Reprinted with permission of Sophia Institute Press.
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704) known as the "Eagle of Meaux," was a French bishop and theologian, renowned for his sermons and other addresses. He has been considered by many to be one of the most brilliant orators of all time and a masterly French stylist. He is the author of Meditations for Advent, Meditations for Lent, and Meditations on Mary.Copyright © 2012 Sophia Institute Press
back to top