St. Joseph II, 2019

 

 

“… Christ was promised to Abraham as man, to David as his successor in his kingdom, but to Joseph under the name of Saviour;  in order that we may be persuaded that, although Joseph had no share in the formation of the Body of Jesus neither did he place the crown upon His head, he nevertheless contributed to making Him the Saviour of all men, journeying and labouring and toiling along with Him, and supporting Him by the fruit of his toils for so many years. And thus (he says) he was the last of the Patriarchs to whom the Messias was promised, but in a more excellent manner than all.” (The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, Edward Healy Thompson, Aeterna Press, Kindle)

Thou salt call His name Jesus

Since St. Joseph is silent in the Scriptures, regrettably many erroneous impressions have been given of him. He was not, as some assert, a decrepit old man when he and the Blessed Virgin were betrothed, but was fair-haired and in his prime, about 33 years old. He had no other children, for he was a virgin, having made his vow to that effect at the age of 12. Joseph and Mary both knew of each others’ vow of chastity. For to marry under Hebrew Law without advising each other of that vow would have  been deceitful. And so, when Matthew 1, 18 tells us, “She was found with child, of the Holy Ghost”, it was Joseph himself who realized this, for he and the Blessed Virgin were aware of the sacred vows each had made, to offer their virginity to God as a sacred oblation. Most of the following is from the book cited above, with my comments.

St. Joseph did not ever, for one instant, doubt Our Lady, but simply sought God’s will. In his profound humility, he was abashed to think that the Lord God would choose him for the spouse and consort of the Mother of the Savior. When the Blessed Virgin saw that Joseph was perplexed, she prayed to God to enlighten him; a prayer which was heard by God most promptly. Thompson tells us that according to Eastern legend, not a night passed before Joseph was delivered from his uncertainty. As scripture tells us,

“But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins”.

There is much insight available on this passage, but many writers do not make use of it and prefer instead to weave misleading fables about how Joseph was “afraid”, doubted God, doubted Mary and so on. Note that the angel called Joseph by his name, and added the honorific, “Son of David”. Thus showing him deference which would not have been indicated were he to have doubted God or the Blessed Virgin. We have already seen how Zachary was reproved for his doubts! Although many suppose that the angel’s words were an instruction to Joseph to wed the Virgin, the angel was actually telling him to remain with her.

According to Pope Benedict XIV, quoted by Edward Healy Thompson:

“The word of the angel by which he bade him not to fear to take unto him Mary for his wife is a Hebrew mode of expression, which does not signify the commencement of an act, but the continuation of an act already begun. The meaning of his mandate is this: ‘Retain and keep the wife you have taken, and do not forsake her’; and such is the interpretation of those who are adepts in the Hebrew idiom.”

The angel does not tell Joseph to discard his suspicions, for he has none. But the angel does tell Joseph, “thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins”. Now, note the wording here: the angel does not say, “His name shall be Jesus”, but says, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus”, which was also said to Mary, thus acknowledging Joseph’s rights and dignity as the foster father of Our Lord.

With this knowledge, St. Joseph’s soul was flooded with a superabundance of grace, for only by a special favor of God was he able to approach this true “Ark of the Covenant”, this most sacred “Temple of the Trinity”. In her Revelations, St. Bridget tells us that when Joseph beheld her with Child by the Holy Ghost, he feared exceedingly, suspecting no evil of her, but, remembering the words of the prophet which foretold how the Son of God would be born of a virgin, reputed himself unworthy to serve such a mother, until the angel in sleep bade him not to fear, but to minister to her with charity. And our Lady added: “From that moment Joseph never ceased to serve me as his sovereign and I humbled myself to the lowest offices to show him my submission.” (Thompson, op. cit.)

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The Feast Day of St. Joseph, 2018

 

Today we honor St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now more than ever, when traditional Catholic families are under attack even from Pope Francis and the leaders of the Church who support him, we turn to St. Joseph, strong defender of the family.

St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite reformer, mystic and doctor of the Church was especially devoted to St. Joseph. From her Autobiography we read of St. Joseph, “I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him.”

At the last apparition of Fatima, on October 13, 1917, St. Joseph appeared holding the Child Jesus, who blessed the crowds. This was an emphatic indication of the importance of St. Joseph in these turbulent times.

St. Joseph, defender of the faith, defender of families, pray for us!

Venerable Maria de Agreda, in “The Mystical City of God”, recounts the special privileges which make St. Joseph a most powerful intercessor on behalf of his children.

  • Attaining purity and overcoming sensuality.
  • Escaping sin and returning to the faith.
  • Increasing love and devotion to his spouse, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Securing the grace of a happy death and defending the soul against the devil’s wiles at that crucial time.
  • St. Joseph is the terror of demons and they flee at his name.
  • St. Joseph is a great intercessor for all our needs, especially helpful for our families and health.

Venerable Maria de Agreda quoted Our Lady’s words to her, “That which my spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them.” Indeed, trusting in St. Joseph as the foster father of our family has brought us closer to living our consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In speaking of St. Joseph, it is difficult to adequately express his tender love for us, his willingness to protect us, even from ourselves and obtain for us the graces we need to live our consecrations.

The following is an especially appropriate prayer to St. Joseph composed by Pope Leo XIII, called Ad te Beate Joseph. It seems especially appropriate in this time of crisis of the faith in the Church and in our families, who seem to be betrayed by the very Church which should defend and nourish them. It is said before Mass by those attending Chapels of the Society of St. Pius X and Bishop Fellay is especially devoted to St. Joseph.

Ad te Beate Joseph

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.

Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.
— A partial indulgence is attached to this prayer

Another favorite prayer of mine is this

Consecration to St. Joseph

Beloved St. Joseph, adopt me as thy child, take care of my salvation, watch over me day and night, preserve me from all occasion of sin, obtain for me purity of body and soul! Through thy intercession with Jesus grant me a spirit of sacrifice, of humility, self-denial, a burning love for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, my Mother. St. Joseph, be with me living, be with me dying and obtain for me a favorable judgement from Jesus, my merciful Savior. Amen

St. Joseph has brought me through so many perils to my faith and continues to protect even those of my children who are lapsed from the faith. He is a most compassionate and loving protector to all who turn to him.

It is especially beneficial to pray to St. Joseph for our good Catholic priests – In fact, St. Joseph has never let me down when I have asked him to help a specific priest and I have recently had good reason to believe that priests, in particular are very dear to his heart.

For more on St. Joseph, we offer the following:

St. Joseph Too

Fatima, St. Joseph and the family

St. Joseph, Remedy for Error

  St. Joseph, foster Father to our Lord, be foster father to our family!

  St. Joseph, protector of the Church, protect our priests!

  St. Joseph, terror of demons, cast out satan from our homes, from our families, and from the Church!

  St. Joseph intercede for us now and at the hour of our death.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

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The Holy Family in the Year of Fatima

The Feast of the Holy Family, 2017

Today, the first Sunday after Epiphany, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, which is the last time in the liturgical year in which we honor the hidden life of Jesus.

Thus, it is fitting that in the Gospel today, we read of the event which comprises the Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. In this, we commemorate the first words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

St. Luke then tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph “and was subject to them.” In this brief account, we have several important lessons: First, Jesus establishes His mission in His first recorded words,  “I must be about My Father’s business.” And second, Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph. The Son of God first asserts the primacy of God, by stating that His mission is to serve the Father in all things, then Jesus affirms the importance of family, “He was subject to them.” On the firm bedrock of total obedience to God in all things, we can most perfectly live out our love of God within our families, whether they be our personal families or our religious communities. If love of God comes first, what follows cannot fail to serve Him.

 My Father's business
My Father’s business

As we open our minds and our hearts, lifting them to God in this, the Fifth Joyful Mystery, we consider Saint Joseph leading his Holy Family back home from the Temple. The blessed peace that surrounds them draws us in too, and we are nourished with the truths of this holy mystery. By His actions, Our Lord teaches us humility and obedience in His submission to His Father’s will and through that, because of that, His submission to Mary and Joseph. By our consecrations we submit to them too, and thus we learn humility and obedience. We also learn poverty; now, in the first beatitude,  Our Lord makes us a promise for this virtue:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” In later posts, we hope to show the application of this excellent virtue for these particular times of trial.

The Fatima Connection

On the fifth visit, September 13, 1917, Our Lady told the children, “In October … Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to give peace to  the world.” And in Sister Lucia’s accounts of the Sixth Visit, she related that this is precisely what occurred. You may ask, “Where then is this peace”? The answer, if you will hear it yet again, is, “Your peace is dependent upon your obedience!” As an infant receives the graces of baptism, we, the faithful have been given unimaginable graces in great profusion, awaiting only our cooperation. If we but seek them, turning to Jesus and Mary (and Joseph too!) and seeking them in humility and obedience, we shall see miracles as never before seen in this tired old world, making all things new, restoring the faith.

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