Vatican City ( AsiaNews) St. Joseph, whose "feast" we celebrate today, is the "model" for all those who have an educational role in society and in the Church. Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis during the general audience today to the figure of the patron of the universal Church, one year to the day after the mass with which he began his pontificate. And as he said on that occasion, he reiterated today, that "Joseph greatest characteristic was his being a guardian, his great mission is to be a guardian". "Saint Joseph - he added greeting the faithful in Arabic - is the model of every educator and every believer, because he was able to cross the darkness of doubt, the experience of exile and of having to flee from his home, without ever losing his trust in God and in His love. Learn from him that only faith in God can turn doubt into certainty, evil into good, the total darkness of the night into a radiant dawn".
The Pope spoke of St. Joseph to 80 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, whose "great mission" is "to be the guardian". He Pope this was the mission of all fathers, to whom he addressed his best wishes on Father's Day, inviting us to pray "for those fathers who are alive and those who are dead, for our dads".
"We look at Joseph - had said in catechesis - as the model of the educator, who safeguards and accompanies Jesus in his journey of growth "in wisdom, years and grace", as the Gospel of Luke tells us. "He was not the father of Jesus, the Father was God, but he was a father to help him grow in years, wisdom and grace".
"Let's start with his age, which is the most natural dimension, physical and psychological growth. Joseph, together with Mary, took care of Jesus, first of all from this point of view, he 'raised him' , worrying that he had all he needed for a healthy development . Let us not forget that the faithful care of the life of the Child also led to the flight into Egypt, the harsh experience of living as refugees to escape the threat of Herod. Then, once they returned home and settled in Nazareth, there is the long period of the hidden life of Jesus within the Holy Family. During those years, Joseph also taught Jesus his work, Jesus learned to be a carpenter".
"Let's move on to the second dimension of Christ's education, that of "wisdom". Scripture says that the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. Joseph was an example and teacher of this wisdom for Jesus, which he nourished by the Word of God. We can imagine how Joseph taught the child Jesus to listen to the Holy Scriptures, especially accompanying him on the Sabbath to the synagogue in Nazareth. Joseph accompanied Jesus so he would listen to the word of God in the synagogue".
"And finally, the dimension of "grace". Again St. Luke tells us referring to Jesus: "The grace of God was upon him". Here certainly the part reserved to St Joseph is more limited than in the areas of age and wisdom. But it would be a grave mistake to think that a father and a mother do nothing to educate their children to grow in the grace of God".
"The mission of St. Joseph is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is unique. However, in his guarding Jesus, educating him to grow in years, wisdom and grace, he is a model for all educators, especially for parents. St. Joseph is the model educator and father, the model for dads. Therefore I entrust all parents, priests - who are fathers - and those who have an educational role in the Church and in society to his protection".
"In a special way, I wish to greet all parents, all dads today on Father's Day, I greet you from my heart! Let's see: are there any dads here in the square? Raise your hand, dads! Look, how many dads! Greetings, greetings on your feast Day! I ask for you the grace to always be very close to your children, letting them grow, but close. Close to them, eh? They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. Be like St. Joseph for them, guardians of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their journey. Educators! And walk with them. And in your closeness, be true educators . Thank you for all that you do for your children: Thank you. A you best wishes and happy Father's Day to all the fathers who are here, to all the fathers. May St. Joseph bless you and be with you. And also, some of us have lost our father, he may have passed away, the Lord has called him: many in the square no longer have their father. We pray for all fathers of the world, for living fathers and even for those who are dead, and we can do this together, each recalling his or her father, alive or dead. And pray to the great Father of us all, the Father, Our Father, for our dads".