You are here: Home / Associated Text

Saint Joseph and nonviolence

Ghandi said, “The only demons in this world are those that swarm in our heart and it is there all battles must be fought”. Joseph, the holy one, had understood perfectly that his capacity to love was stronger than violence and that every conflict could be transformed into a life-giving meeting for others.

Let us dwell on his inner struggle so clearly described in the Gospel. Upon learning that Mary was pregnant, instead of accusing her violently, he decides not to denounce her publicly but to spare her disgrace by simply breaking off their marriage contract. (Mt 1, 19)

Later, when so many inhabitants of the Bethlehem town refuse to open the door of their house or of their inn, he does not react violently. On the contrary, in the depth of his heart, he chooses to let go and abandon himself into God’s hands. With perfect inner freedom, he consents to stop searching endlessly for lodging in order to give Mary a chance to rest before laying the newborn Child in a manger (Lk 2, 7).

Joseph, throughout his life, chose to meet others in a relationship of esteem and respect without ever possessing them, knowing that they have great value because they are inhabited by the infinite. To solve conflicts, his fight consisted in letting the strength of love dominate violence. The mature Jesus, his son, would call it “the love of enemies” (Mt 5, 44-47).

Lise Berger, sjsh

Go back to last page