At. Joseph was a man immersed, drenched, in humility. To be humble simply means accepting why God placed you on this earth and to surrender to that purpose. Humility gives us the strength to walk firmly on the ground, our feet planted securely on Mother Earth, hence “humility,” a word that means “grounded in the earth.”
Each human being has a purpose, given by God from before the beginning of creation, unique to that person even if it is ordinary, seemingly mundane.
Joseph accepted his purpose to remain in the background, which is the case for almost every one of us. When we want to be noticed, admired, our egos are at work. When we give, expecting to be thanked or publicly acknowledged, we are not planted in humility but self absorption. Joseph’s feet were planted firmly on the earth. A truly humble man.
Humility is the mother of all virtues and religion exists to give praise to God our Creator and school us to selfless and humble. Unfortunately, religion sometimes encourages certain individuals to be publicly recognized, to encourage them to keep contributing. A person donating just ten dollars may be giving much more than one giving a thousand, when the giving is a sacrifice. But the one giving the thousand is demanded a specific thank you.
Joseph expected nothing, no recognition of gratitude for his huge, hidden sacrifice. But God was well aware of this sacrifice and that was enough for Joseph. Perhaps all of us could learn a lesson from this great Saint, Patron of the Poor, who are Christ.