Though there are only a few verses that refer to St. Joseph in the whole Bible, many saints over the centuries have found striking significant similarities between the foster-father of Jesus and the first Joseph talked about in the book of Genesis.
In the book of Genesis there’s Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Israel, who was abandoned and sold by his own brothers. Still, God had mercy on Joseph and through His divine providence, Joseph became a savior to the survival of the Jewish people in Egypt. He went above the ranks of Pharaoh’s household and was appointed the head minister, who was in charge of managing the grain supply.
This simply became a providential move, as Joseph used his foresight to get Egypt ready for an extreme famine, which eventually forced his own family to come back to him in their time of need.
So many saints have found inspiration in the following verse in Genesis which has the summary of this desperate situation and what Pharaoh told the people of Egypt in Genesis 41:55: “When all the land of Egypt became hungry and the people cried to Pharaoh for food, Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians: ‘ Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.'”
The words of Pharaoh in Latin are rendered “Ite ad Joseph,” a phrase which is normally found written on the bottom of statues of St. Joseph.
Dominican Br. Bartholomew Calvano talks about the similarities between the two Josephs: “Just as through Joseph, the son of Israel, God brought food for the starving people of Egypt and his family, so as through Joseph, the husband of Mary, God provided for the needs of Jesus as a father”.
On the other hand, “In the book of Genesis, Jesus Christ is born as a baby who needs to be fed, and just as the people of Egypt asked for food from Joseph, who was the head minister of Pharaoh’s household, so as Jesus goes to Joseph, whom God has set over his own household, to receive the necessities of life on earth.”
One of the saints who encouraged devotion to St Joseph is St. Teresa of Avila, and she wrote, “I wish I could persuade everyone to get devoted to this glorious saint, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can get from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and give him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue, for he gives very real help to souls who dedicate themselves to him.”
As the people of Hebrew had their own Joseph to go to in time of needs, so as Christians similarly turn to St. Joseph as a powerful intercessor before God’s throne.
If you are ever in great need of something, “Go to Joseph” with sincere devotion and trust in yourself to the mercy of God.