While Jesus is certainly the primary person at the heart of St. Joseph Marello’s spirituality, it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of St. Joseph in the life and spirituality of Marello, and it is the person of Joseph who in many ways becomes the underlying leitmotif of Marello’s whole spirituality. Both in Marello’s writings and in those of the first Oblates, St. Joseph is the model and foundation for many of the themes they explore.
Joseph Marello always situates Joseph in relation to Jesus, and it becomes clear in reading Marello’s writings that he understands all of Joseph’s greatness in light of his relationship to Jesus. “Saint Joseph, you who are so humble and had the fortune to live in the company of Jesus and to observe all that he did, speak to my heart and make me learn everything from the life of Jesus, which was so holy and which you imitated so well.” To imitate Joseph is to imitate Jesus. Indeed, Marello’s own desire to imitate Joseph led to the formation of some of his most beautiful prayers to St. Joseph:
O glorious patriarch St. Joseph…next to the Blessed Virgin you were the first to enfold in your arms the Redeemer. Be our exemplar in our ministry, which, like your own, is a ministry of intimate relationship with the Divine Word. May you teach us, may you assist us, may you make us worthy members of the Holy Family.
The most important aspect of Marello’s devotion to Joseph is that it leads us into a deeper relationship with Jesus and Mary.