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Was St. Joseph a tzadik?
Vivificat - From Contemplation to Action ^ | 23 March 2012 | TDJ

Posted on 03/23/2012 9:02:55 AM PDT by Te骹ilo

Brethren, may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Earlier this week we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph of Nazareth, chaste husband of Mary, and foster father of our Lord Jesus. The Scripture reading for the feast, from Matthew 1:19, read in part:
Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.
I remembered that in Jewish tradition, the term for a "just man" is tzadik, and that this term carries a specialized meaning in classical Judaism. The title is given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q (צדק Tzedek), which means "justice" or "righteousness", also the root of Tzedakah (Charity, lit. "righteousness"). The feminine term for a righteous person is Tzadeikas. (Source).
Later Judaic thinkers further developed the concept of tzadik. The Jewish medieval theologian and philosopher, Moses Maimonides, defined tzadik (based on Tractate Yevamot of the Babylonian Talmud 49b-50a) as "one whose merit surpasses his iniquity is a tzadik". This definition opened up, so-to-speak, this way of living according to the Law to the masses and not to a more restricted elite. (Source)

Furthermore, according to the Hasidic Tanya (based on passages in Tanach and the Talmud, and the tradition in Kabbalah), the true title of tzadik denotes a spiritual psychological description of the soul. Its true meaning can only be applied to one who has completely sublimated their natural "animal"-"vital" soul inclinations into holiness, so that they experience only love and awe of God, without material temptations. This select level elevates the "Intermediate" person ("Benoni") into one who never sins in thought, speech or action. Unlike the Tzadik, they only experience Divine communion during devoted moments of worship or study, while in mundane life they can be tempted by natural inclinations, but always choose to stay connected to holiness. In the Tanya the difference between the former Talmudic-Maimonidean and latter Kabbalistic-Hasidic conceptions is raised. (Source) Other teachers further elaborate upon these attributes but these expansions should not concern us here.

The definition of tzadik, as you can see, it's very near our definition of "saint and mystic." The term refers to someone whose observance of the commandments has become second nature and whose prayer life reached the unitive way of contemplative prayer:
The unitive way is the way of those who are in the state of the perfect, that is, those who have their minds so drawn away from all temporal things that they enjoy great peace, who are neither agitated by various desires nor moved by any great extent by passion, and who have their minds chiefly fixed on God and their attention turned, either always or very frequently, to Him. It is the union with God by love and the actual experience and exercise of that love. It is called the state of "perfect charity", because souls who have reached that state are ever prompt in the exercise of charity by loving God habitually and by frequent and efficacious acts of that Divine virtue. It is called the "unitive" way because it is by love that the soul is united to God, and the more perfect the charity, the closer and more intimate is the union. Union with God is the principal study and endeavor of this state. It is of this union St. Paul speaks when he says: "He who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit."[5]. Souls thus united to God are penetrated by the highest motives of the theological and moral virtues. In every circumstance of their lives the supernatural motive that ought to guide their actions is ever present to their mind, and the actions are performed under its inspiration with a force of will that makes their accomplishment easy and even delightful. These perfect souls are above all familiar with the doctrine and use of consolations and desolations. They are enlightened in the mysteries of the supernatural life, and they have experience of that truth proclaimed by St. Paul when he said: "We know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints." (Romans 8:28). The form of prayer suitable to persons in the unitive way is the contemplation of the glorious mysteries of Our Lord, His Resurrection, Appearances, and Ascension, until the coming of the Holy Ghost, and the preaching of the Gospel. These mysteries may also be the subject of meditation for beginners and for those in a state of progress, but in a peculiar manner, they belong to the perfect. Union with God belongs substantially to all souls in a state of grace, but it is in a special manner the distinguishing characteristic of those in the unitive way or in the state of the perfect. (Source)
I find it right and just that the Jewish definition of "just man" or tzadik and our definition of "saint and mystic" track so closely, for both originate from the same spring of living water. Furthermore, although the Jewish sages' full exploration and refinement of the term tzadik occurred after New Testament times, their refinement of the term may well include traditional insights gained during the intertestamental period.

Of course, for a Catholic, St. Joseph was a most special man. It is the common teaching of Catholic theologians that St. Joseph was comprised into the highest order of creation, that of the hypostatic union, and "in that family the highest representation which it is possible to conceive, inasmuch as he was made the very representative of the Divine Father, Who alone has the right to call Jesus His Son, having begotten Him from all eternity; and yet that same God, Who by the mouth of Isaias protested that He would never give His glory to another, that God Who, in communicating to the Word and to the Holy Spirit His Divine essence, does not in any wise communicate to them His Divine paternity, was so generous to Joseph as to concede to him His glory, and communicate to him His name and His paternity; not actually, for that was impossible, but so that he should be in His place and stead, and should be called the father of Him who was the Divine Word, and that the Word Himself should call Joseph by the sweet name of father, so that he might with true joy appropriate to himself that passage in Holy Scripture: 'I will be to Him a father and He shall be to me a son!' (Source)

We then get a glimpse of St. Joseph's participation in the divine nature (theosis) through grace and in the faithful practice of the Law. St. Joseph is a pivotal, transition figure in which both observance of the Law and belief in the promise of salvation coalesced into a singular figure, close to God, head of the Holy Family, and an example to emulate during our pilgrimage on earth.
St. Joseph of Nazareth, father, spouse, saint, mystic and tzadik: pray for us!


TOPICS: Catholic; Judaism; Theology
KEYWORDS:
Typos. Blunders. Mine.
1 posted on 03/23/2012 9:02:59 AM PDT by Te骹ilo
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To: YellowRoseofTx; Rashputin; StayoutdaBushesWay; OldNewYork; MotherRedDog; sayuncledave; ...

PING!


2 posted on 03/23/2012 9:05:37 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Nice post. Thanks.


3 posted on 03/23/2012 9:39:13 AM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: Te贸filo

“St. Joseph of Nazareth, chaste husband of Mary, and foster father of our Lord Jesus.”

For a moment there I thought it said that St. Joseph was a Tadjik. Wow! The Holy Family has a Central Asian connection?

Anyway, when you describe him as Mary’s chaste husband, you have kicked over a hornets’ nest. The Biblethumpers will soon be posting, “Jesus had brothers and sisters!!” while dropping unsubtle hints about Mariolatry.

Just watch.....


4 posted on 03/23/2012 10:07:02 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: elcid1970

Greetings, el Mío Cid Campeador:

Thank you for the warning. I no longer get into circular arguments. If they want to reject true Catholic belief, that’s their business.

+JMJ,
-Theo


5 posted on 03/23/2012 10:12:41 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: elcid1970

“....while dropping unsubtle hints about Mariolatry.”

.
Mary: “All generations will call me blessed.”


6 posted on 03/23/2012 10:36:24 AM PDT by 353FMG
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To: Te贸filo; 353FMG

It is good to be among those of us who venerate Mary the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God.

“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge.”


7 posted on 03/23/2012 11:50:19 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: Te贸filo

would the name “Melchizedek” be related?


8 posted on 03/23/2012 1:28:10 PM PDT by redhead (Alaska: Step out of the bus and into the food chain.)
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To: elcid1970
Anyway, when you describe him as Mary’s chaste husband, you have kicked over a hornets’ nest. The Biblethumpers will soon be posting, “Jesus had brothers and sisters!!” while dropping unsubtle hints about Mariolatry.

We have seen their best. Christianity still flourishes in spite of their best.

9 posted on 03/23/2012 5:46:12 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Te贸filo
St. Joseph was comprised into the highest order of creation, that of the hypostatic union

I think, Apostolic order is one thing, pertaining to degrees of sanctity, but hypostatic union means consubstantiality and so is quite another, and is properly reserved to the Holy Trinity only.

I would like to see if Suarez's "appertaining to the order of the Hypostatic Union" is really the same as St. Joseph -- or Blessed Mary -- being "comprised" into it. The seond quote, from Giovanni di Cartagena supports the sense of degrees of sanctity better than the sense of true hypostatic union.

10 posted on 03/23/2012 6:19:19 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: MarkBsnr

“We have seen their best. Christianity still flourishes in spite of their best.”

Hmmm... you really mean “their worst”, don’t you?

As a Catholic I have encountered attitudes among certain self-described “evangelicals” (and I do not reject but rather encourage daily Bible study & reflection) that are straight out of the Ku Klux Klan handbook. So much so it’s laughable. Particularily their notion that the only true Christian martyrs are those who were persecuted by the Catholic Church and who have English surnames.

Oh, well.


11 posted on 03/23/2012 6:31:07 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: elcid1970
Hmmm... you really mean “their worst”, don’t you?

Not from their perspective.

As a Catholic I have encountered attitudes among certain self-described “evangelicals” (and I do not reject but rather encourage daily Bible study & reflection) that are straight out of the Ku Klux Klan handbook. So much so it’s laughable. Particularily their notion that the only true Christian martyrs are those who were persecuted by the Catholic Church and who have English surnames.

The list of qualifiers can grow to quite a length. :)

12 posted on 03/23/2012 6:41:43 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Te贸filo

Very beautiful! Thanks for this post.


13 posted on 03/23/2012 7:11:52 PM PDT by nanetteclaret (Unreconstructed Catholic Texan)
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To: Te贸filo

Good article!


14 posted on 03/23/2012 10:46:48 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: annalex
I think, Apostolic order is one thing, pertaining to degrees of sanctity, but hypostatic union means consubstantiality and so is quite another, and is properly reserved to the Holy Trinity only...

All you say is valid. I copied uncritically from a _The Glories of St. Joseph_. I'm sure that you will find some contextual explanation therein that will make sense of this provoking statement.

-Theo

15 posted on 03/24/2012 12:59:28 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: redhead
would the name “Melchizedek” be related?

Yes, and also Zedekiah and Zadok.

In fact, “Melchizedek” might not even be a proper name, but a title meaning "my king (is) righteous(ness)") which became a proper name by usage.

-Theo

16 posted on 03/24/2012 1:11:57 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Interesting word study. Thanks.


17 posted on 03/24/2012 2:13:17 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Te贸filo
Well, I looked at Suarez and Giovanni di Cartagena quotes. Since Suarez is a respected theologian I am pretty sure the author of "Life and Glories of Saint Joseph" simply misunderstood him. The reference is made to a mysterious "[1]", but there is no [1] in the footnotes, -- there are no footnotes that I can see.

Padre Giovanni is less known; in fact I could only find a reference to him that is not taken from Thompson, in Italian. But it is interesting:

The Franciscan John of Cartagena (+1618) highlights that "this trinity of people has brought about our salvation: Jesus, as the author of salvation, Mary, as a mediator, Joseph, as a cooperator." (Google Translate)

Il francescano Giovanni di Cartagena (+1618) mette in evidenza come “questa Trinità di persone ha operato la nostra redenzione: Gesù, come autore della salvezza; Maria, come mediatrice; Giuseppe, come cooperatore”.

So to him, there is (I assume) the Holy Trinity and then a "trinity of persons", that only shares one person with the Holy Trinity, Jesus, but is otherwise a group of three people.

I think that Thompson took the term "order of hypostatic union", originally meant to indicate a varying degree of proximity to Jesus, to mean an absolute, not relative, hypostatic union of Jesus Mary and Joseph. To say that Mary and Joseph enjoy a special closeness to Jesus is to speak the truth; to say that this puts the three in a hypostatic union qualitatively different from the beatific vision all the saints share, -- is heresy. Does Thompson actually say the latter is not clear, but at least it would had been incumbent on him to clarify this point.

18 posted on 03/24/2012 9:20:13 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
The link to Giovanni di Cartagena's quote is IL MATRIMONIO DI MARIA E GIUSEPPE
19 posted on 03/24/2012 9:22:53 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

I believe that the author of the quote was referring to what Eastern Christianity means by “theosis” or “deification,” this “conforming to the divine nature” of soken about in 2 Peter 1: 2-11.

The fault of our author here is not one of malice, but of ignorance, as he reached out to incorrect terminology in describing a very biblical facet of the Christian life in his enthusiasm and hurry in communicating it.

For the message remains urgent: theosis is the common call and norm of life for every Christian and not the exception. Christians are not called to be merely ethical, but HOLY, and holiness and SALVATION are tied to the practice of the Sermon of the Mount and, not to faith alone.

+JMJ,
-Theo

-Theo


20 posted on 03/24/2012 9:30:44 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo
The fault of our author here is not one of malice, but of ignorance, as he reached out to incorrect terminology

Yes, indeed. This also points to the danger of relying on counter-reformation authorities who had tasks peculiar to them, at the exclusion of earlier fathers.

21 posted on 03/24/2012 9:35:55 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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