In the wide-ranging interview with journalist Regina Einig, the pope emeritus reflected on the silence of Joseph. His seeming absence in Scripture eloquently expresses the saint’s particular message, Benedict said.
“His silence is in fact his message. It expresses the ‘Yes’ that he took upon himself by uniting with Mary and thus with Jesus,” he commented.
CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that in the interview Benedict XVI shared his family’s tradition of celebrating St. Joseph’s Day -- March 19 in his native Bavaria.
His mother would usually save up for the purchase of a good book for the feast day, Benedict recalled. In addition, to celebrate Josefi, as the day is called in Bavaria, the Ratzinger family would make coffee from coffee beans, which his father loved but which the family could not afford every day. This coffee was drunk for breakfast and a special tablecloth was laid out for the occasion to mark the saint’s day.
Benedict recounted that “to top it all off, there was always a primrose as a sign of spring, which St. Joseph brings with him. Finally, our mother baked a cake with icing -- that fully expressed the extraordinary nature of the feast day. Thus, from the morning hours on, the specialness of St. Joseph’s Day was given, in a compelling way.”
In addition, Benedict described his personal impressions of his visit to Nazareth, the hometown of his namesake and patron saint which he visited as pope in 2009. He also commented on the tradition of invoking St. Joseph as intercessor for a good hour of death.
Noting that Joseph is not mentioned in Scripture after the first public appearance of Jesus as recounted in Luke 4:22, the retired pope commented that “the idea that he [Joseph] ended his earthly life in Mary’s care is well-founded. Therefore, to ask him to kindly accompany us in our last hour is a well-founded form of piety.”
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