The Feasts of St. Joseph:
The primary feast
of St. Joseph is March 19
because it is believed
that his death occurred on that date.
This feast was fixed in the 15th century and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Gregory XV in 1621.
On the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception, 1870, Pope Pius IX ordered that St. Joseph's
day was to be a double of the first class.
Holy Mother Church dedicates the entire month of March to St. Joseph, as well as the First Wednesdays
May 1 was established
as the Feast of
St. Joseph the Workman
by Pope Pius XII in 1955,
chosen to coincide
with Labor days in many nations.
In addition there were two other feasts no longer on the official calendar.
The Eight Promises of St. Joseph
1. God will grant special graces to those
do not know me, to have a great devotion to me.
2. God will bless all who are married and the blessing in their family
will be without limit.
3. Those married and without children will be blessed with offspring.
4. God will give special graces to be delivered from temptations
and the attacks of the devil.
5. They shall have a good and happy death.
6. They shall overcome their trials and tribulations.
7. God shall grant them immediate help
when they invoke my intercession,
for the demons have extreme
dread of the invocation of my name.
8. For all those who embrace a St. Joseph cenacle, they shall obtain a more fervent love for Jesus and a
true devotion to Most Holy Mary.
THE PATRONAGE AND VIRTUES
OF ST. JOSEPH
St. Theresa of Avila's "Guarantee"
"To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succor us in some special necessity -- but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth -- for St. Joseph bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him -- so now in Heaven Our Lord grants us all his petitions. I have asked others to to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they, too, know the same thing by experience . . . "
---- Autobiography VI, 9
St. Joseph's Virtues
Words of Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden
"St. Joseph was so reserved and careful in his speech that not one word ever issued from his mouth that was not good and holy, nor did he ever indulge in unnecessary or less than charitable conversation. He was most patient and diligent in bearing fatigue; he practiced extreme poverty; he was most meek in bearing injuries; he was strong and constant against my enemies; he was the faithful witness of the wonders of Heaven, being dead to the flesh and the world, living only for God and for Heavenly goods, which were the only things he desired. He was perfectly conformed to the Divine Will and so resigned to the dispositions of Heaven that he ever repeated" May the Will of God ever be done in me!" He rarely spoke with men, but continually with God, whose Will he desired to perform. Wherefore, he now enjoys great glory in Heaven."
Words of St. Thomas Aquinas About
the Patronage of St. Joseph
"Some Saints are privileged to extend to
patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others;
but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all
in every necessity, in every undertaking."
THE SAINT JOSEPH PROMISE: PROTECTOR OF TEENAGERS
Why is this Promise called the Saint Joseph Promise? What can Saint Joseph do about pressure on teenagers to be unchaste, and what does the Saint know about adolescents? Good questions.
Saint Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and the legal husband of Mary. Although Mary and Joseph were truly married, Mary conceived the Savior, not through the loving union of parents, but through the loving power of the Holy Spirit. Mary so loved God that she was inspired at a young age to dedicate all to God in a special manner, to vow her virginity to God as her way of saying to her Creator, "I love You!" Men and women who dedicate their all to God in this special manner are called virgins."
St. Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus as his blood did not flow in the veins of Christ. Although we rightly say that Saint Joseph was truly the husband of Mary, he was not the natural father of Jesus. But as Mary's true husband, he acted like a father toward her Child, providing Him and her all that a father provides: protection, food, clothing, shelter. Thus, we call Saint Joseph the foster father of Jesus. Let us never fear the mysteries in our Faith which only Heaven will unravel for our edification.
Today in the Church we hear a lot about conscience. We hear that conscience will always guide you; and if your conscience tells you something is OK, then it must be OK. But in reality that does not always hold true.
Jesus says "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven." If your conscience were sufficient to keep you straight and narrow, there would never be sins to forgive. We need more than just our conscience. God did not send Moses down the mountain with ten suggestions. God gave Moses TEN COMMANDMENTS, because God knows that conscience alone is insufficient. Nor did God suggest that we pick out the Commandments we like nor just those that appeal to us. All ten of the Commandments are truly commandments and we are bound to obey them.
With that established, it males a lot of sense to get a little help. We all need it! Teenagers today have it the roughest, and getting some heavenly help in these tough growing years can reap success later on. When growing up young adults have their human heroes or a hall of fame od ideal models to follow. St. Joseph may no longer be well known to some of today's teenagers, but because of his state in life he is a sure model to follow. For purity, for family, for direction, go to Saint Joseph. The foster father of Jesus lived a life of chastity, so he knows and understands the struggle. He was the one person closest to Jesus and Mary, the Mother of God, so he is powerful. If power is needed to fight the fire, and it is, GO TO ST. JOSEPH.
St. Joseph can rightfully be called the Patron Saint of Teenagers. Why?
1. Because Saint Joseph took the promise of virginity when he was likely still a relatively young man. Most artistic images of St. Joseph portray him as an old man, but we know he worked to support the Holy Family, so while he was probably a bit older than Mary who was but a teen when she consented to be the Mother of God, Joseph would have been still young enough to work and provide the physical security for his family.
2. Because Saint Joseph was rewarded with what could be called the happiest and most perfect marriage that ever took place in this world -- the hope and aspiration of most teenagers. This married bless was but one of the many rewards granted to St. Joseph for his life of virginity.
3. Because in the Holy Family St. Joseph resembled us most closely as he was truly a human being like us in all ways. We can imitate his noble, challenging ways. Jesus is the incarnation, our God made man, our Messiah. mary is the spotless creature, the one human being without even the stain of sin, Original and actual. But it was St. Joseph who filled the human role of guardian, provider and protector, sacrificing his own needs and desires to accomplish it.
Any teenager or young single, adult can go to St. Joseph to learn to follow Jesus, and to live a life as rich in sanctity and contentment as St. Joseph.
THE SAINT JOSEPH PROMISE LETTER
Dear Saint Joseph,
You probably know about me, but I do not know as much about you as perhaps I should. However, you must have been special to be selected as the foster father of Our Lord Jesus and His Mother's husband.
I want to make what is called the St. Joseph Promise, that I recently read about, and which Promise I am making for this intention:
I wish to be happy, very happy, whenever I should marry. I mean that I want to be happy all my married life. My parents have a good marriage, but some of classmates' parents do not. My parents may not always talk about their happiness, so I am presuming that they are happy or at least content.
But I want to be really happy and I guess that I am asking for a kind of reward in return for my making this Promise. I am still a teenager and like most kids my age I find it difficult to put my feelings in words, especially to my parents, whom I know love me more than anything else in this world. It is that I get embarrassed, but here goes . . .
I PROMISE NOT TO TAKE PART IN, OR TO
PRIVILEGES OF MARRIAGE, UNTIL I MYSELF HAVE RECEIVED THE SACRAMENT OF
THROUGH THE KINDNESS OF GOD AND THE BLESSING OF HOLY MOTHER CHURCH. I
THAT MY GIFT TO MY WIFE/HUSBAND ON OUR WEDDING DAY WILL BE MY VIRGINITY
AND MY PROMISE OF CHASTITY IN MARRIAGE, THAT IS TO USE THE CONJUGAL
IN ACCORD WITH THE WILL OF GOD, FREE OF CONTRACEPTION AND THE USE OF MY
SPOUSE FOR MY OWN GRATIFICATION. I PROMISE THAT GOD WILL GIVE US THE
OF CHILDREN HE WANTS TO BLESS US WITH AND TO BE GRATEFUL TO KNOW THAT
ALONE KNOWS HOW MANY CHILDREN WE SHOULD HAVE.
If this is not worded as correctly as I could have said, Saint Joseph, surely you know how to put it together before presenting my promise to the Lord. Please give my promise to Jesus in the form of a prayer that my marriage will always be pleasing to Him and ever blessed with happiness. Dear St. Joseph, I wish to abstain from all sexual acts, including sinful kissing, now and in the future and I ask your help and strength that i most surely need. I take you as my special Patron in this Promised endeavor.
This is my Saint Joseph Promise.
May it be pleasing to you and to Jesus and to your Spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Please, St. Joseph, ask Jesus and Mary to
ever in my thoughts along with you so that I will conquer the
of masturbation so deliberately promoted in the media and elsewhere
. . . I long to be be pure in thought, word, and body, always. And
me when I need it and forget that I should spend time in the company of
like-intended young people and encourage others to make the promise
I PROMISE NOT TO TAKE PART IN, OR TO ENJOY THE PRIVILEGES OF MARRIAGE, UNTIL I MYSELF HAVE RECEIVED THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE, THROUGH THE KINDNESS OF GOD AND THE BLESSING OF HOLY MOTHER CHURCH. THROUGH MY OWN WEAKNESS I HAVE ALREADY FAILED IN MY DUTY TO REMAIN CHASTE BEFORE MARRIAGE, BUT I HAVE REPENTED; NOW I INTEND THAT MY GIFT TO MY WIFE/HUSBAND ON OUR WEDDING DAY WILL BE MY REPENTANCE OF THIS SIN, AND AS A PLEDGE OF MY REPENTANCE, MY PROMISE OF CHASTITY IN MARRIAGE, THAT IS TO USE THE CONJUGAL PRIVILEGE IN ACCORD WITH THE WILL OF GOD, FREE OF CONTRACEPTION AND THE USE OF MY SPOUSE FOR MY OWN GRATIFICATION. I PROMISE THAT GOD WILL GIVE US THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN HE WANTS TO BLESS US WITH AND TO BE GRATEFUL TO KNOW THAT HE ALONE KNOWS HOW MANY CHILDREN WE SHOULD HAVE.
For a Happy and Successful
Friendship and Courtship
1. Receive our Lord in Holy Communion every Sunday for strength to be and act like a Christlike man/lady.
2. Pray to the Blessed Mother every day for grace to grow in faith, and in prayerfulness/to respect and protect her daughters.
3. Imitate Christ the Gentleman Who was so unselfish at home and abroad/Imitate Mary the Virgin in her modesty, in the sweetness of her charity, her womanly way.
4. Be rich in masculine interests and grow in the art of conversation and of being interesting/Be rich in womanly interests and womanly skills, cooking, sewing, nursing, and homemaking.
5. Learn to make decisions for yourself. Learn to save and be a pleasant companion/Try to grow up. Learn to save. Know when to speak and when to keep silent.
6. Strive for an esteem of the Sacrament
and of your God-given calling as a husband and father/God-given calling
as wife and mother in building a Catholic marriage and a Catholic home.
FATIMA: HOPE OF THE WORLD
Based on the Booklet, St. Joseph, Fatima,
and Fatherhood, by Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione
with Thomas Nelson
COMPILED AND EXPANDED ON BY PAULY FONGEMIE
In all the books about the Fatima apparitions, the part played by St. Joseph in the story of Fatima is one of the least discussed. In a way, this is in keeping with the subdued manner in which his role in the history of salvation is treated in the Gospels. There he is mentioned only when he is acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, as the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the virgin foster father of Jesus. We have no record of any word he spoke in any of these three roles. Also, there is no mention of his life at Nazareth following the three-day loss of Jesus in Jerusalem. That he died before Christ began His public ministry is quite certain. But where or how is passed over in silence by the writers of the Gospel.
Devotion to St. Joseph has followed the same pattern in the history of the Church. As far as we have any record of this devotion, we have no knowledge of the first days of the Church and it was not until the 14th century that reasons for honoring him began to appear in scholarly treatises. From then on devotion to St. Joseph was definite, receiving the great impetus of St. Teresa of Avila. After that we can speak of the growth of popular devotion to this great Saint, even that shown by the Roman Pontiffs.
Thus in history, as in the Gospels, St. Joseph has been the quiet and obedient instrument of Divine Providence for enormously great tasks. And in history, as in the Gospels, the richness of his contribution to the work of our redemption has been reserved mostly for those souls who are willing to mine it by means of silent hours of contemplation and prayer.
It is this very approach we take in this little tract on the role of St. Joseph and Fatima and the world today. St. Joseph stands before us today as a reflection of the Fatherhood of God and as a model of fatherhood for all mankind; in this double role he parallels the role of Jesus Himself, Who is the perfect image of God the Father.
Fatima is the hope of the world because it was there that God's unprecedented intervention in human affairs took place. The message of Fatima represents his challenge to atheists and secularists alike to produce a peaceful world without Him. The "miracle of the Sun" represents not so much a threat of evils to come as it does a foreshadowing of the dethronement of God the Father, and an intimation of the appalling consequences inevitably to follow.
The last vision at Fatima in 1917 was the Miracle of the Sun in October. And the last vision within that vision was the appearance of St. Joseph who introduced Our Lady as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel; he was holding the infant Jesus and blessing the world, with Mary by the side of the sun which has not left its place; this was and is God's assurance that though men may reject Him, God will never reject man. In describing the father of the prodigal son in His famous parable, Jesus was actually describing His own Eternal Father: God the Father is ever waiting for sinners in particular and mankind in general to return to Him and to His law.
And as the principal theme at Fatima would indicate, the road by which the prodigal world will someday return to God the Father is called the Way of the Immaculate Heart of Mary -- symbolized by the conversion of Russia and world peace. Our Lady of Fatima repeated this Way in various apparitions at Fatima and afterward, such as the apparition to Sr. Lucia in her convent in 1925, when she elaborated on the Way of the Immaculate Heart by giving her the task of spreading the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation.
And it was to her most chaste spouse on earth, St. Joseph, that she and God entrusted once again his position as head of the Holy Family and representative of all fathers who are assigned the headship of the family by Divine decree, to usher in that Way of the advent of the Reign of the Immaculate Heart.
According to Msgr. Cirrincione, that
the common denominator, the future event which this scene foreshadowed
is the role of fatherhood. He is led without any doubt to this
because in that last vision at Fatima. St. Joseph was holding the Child
Jesus in his arms and both of them were blessing the world, while Our
looked on. Msgr. Joseph goes on:
"And in the convulsions of the sun I see an ominous foreshadowing of the consequences for the world which are sure to be felt if the true Fatherhood of God and the traditional, strong role of the father of the family are rejected by mankind.
St. Joseph was the head of the Holy Family not because he was the holiest member of it. In fact, in that respect he was the least. Nor was he the head because he had been chosen by agreement of the other two members. He was the head of the Holy Family because he was the FATHER of the family. And as father he represented God the Father. . .
There was another dimension to the miracle of Fatima, specifically the Miracle of the Sun, October 13, 1917, a sign so stupendous, so unique and unprecedented in the history of the world, so much greater a sign than, in a sense, was needed to vindicate the three child seers; one cannot help speculate that it was more than a sign relating to the then recent events, it was also a sign foreshadowing events in the future. Taken in conjunction with the prophetic aspect of the three Rosary scenes shown to the children, it is plausible to see in the Miracle of the Sun a foreshadowing of some new evil which would produce repercussions on a cosmic scale, the worst evil in the history of Christianity: namely, the almost universal rejection of the Fatherhood of God as stated above.
The events at Fatima on that day took place one month before a revolution in Russia that has led to the eventual rejection of God by roughly one-half of mankind. Atheism is a central doctrine of Communism and the rejection of God in Communist countries is official, promoted by law and propaganda. In countries now declared to be less communistic or "free" such as in the purported breakup of the Soviet Union, materialism and militarism still predominates as it does in the United States. In fact, there is almost no country left in the world that is not tainted by practical atheism [in practice if not officially] and almost all have a socialist or milder form of communism as the pre-eminent form of actual governmental policy, regardless of any official title of the country. In essence all that is missing at this time is the walled off borders and military rule, thus in essence one can truly say that Communism [read late 20th century socialism] is the dominant ideology active in the world. Both forms of government are condemned by the Church as violative of God's social plan for man and the human family. The essential difference between socialism and communism today is that people prefer a false security to freedom and have stupidly voted for socialist policies - the nanny or big father state, what used to be called "Uncle Joe Stalin" is now the new name for "Uncle Sam." Uncle Sam has given way to Aunt Nanny as fatherhood has been rejected for a militant feminism. While this is not news to us, it is essential to this discussion to remind ourselves of it. What seems to be of less concern to us, unfortunately, is the rejection of the Fatherhood of God by almost all of the rest of the world, even those countries where communism is not predominant.
Secularism pays lip service to religion, allowing individuals the freedom to believe or not believe in God; it interferes as yet only a little with churches, schools and hospitals and it permits the clergy to function without harassment, unlike the more communistic states. But, like these, IT BANS GOD FROM PUBLIC LIFE! It rejects God's right to play any role in human affairs: "Our Father, Who art in Heaven, STAY THERE!"
The combination of this practical atheism and secularism, which amounts to an official rejection of God's Fatherhood or authority, is a first in the history of the Christian era, foreshadowed by the "Miracle of the Sun" at Fatima in 1917.
Rejection of the Fatherhood of God by the vast majority of mankind inevitably has set in motion a chain reaction of consequences affecting fatherhood under every aspect that we have considered here. The notion of fatherhood in many families, for example, has been reduced to a biological fact; the role of the father as head of the family has completely gone out of style, even in most two-parent families. Since human fatherhood, as a reflection of the Fatherhood of God, was designed to be the pillar of the family, the disappearance of esteem for fathers and fatherhood has led to the collapse of that pillar and thus to the disintegration of the family. [In families where the father has died but his role as head was present when he was still on earth, the family tends not to disintegrate as the family is strengthened still by an authoritative father's presence psychologically speaking, unlike families deliberately started without a father present -- the new "feminist lesbian" mandate.]
Since the family is the fundamental unit of society, the disintegration of the family inexorably leads to the disintegration of society itself. The spirit of anti-fatherhood has also entered the Church. Recognition of the fatherhood of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, has eroded to an alarming degree. Like the lip service paid to religion by secularist governments, a certain outward respect is still paid to the Holy Father. However, his authority in faith and morals is openly rejected by many who still consider themselves to be Catholics. Some priests, in turn, have bartered the respect they have enjoyed for years as spiritual fathers, for a mess of pottage -- to be considered "pals' of their people, dressing and acting like laity. And many pastors have chosen to exchange the role of "shepherds of their flock" for that of "board chairmen" [or "presiders of the assembly"] with fixed terms.
Not unexpectedly, just as the vacuum created by the abandonment of male fatherhood has been filled by eager feminists who know not God, so in the Church, the role of priestly fatherhood is now coveted by certain women, seeking to escape the noble destiny which God has prepared for their sex, but which nevertheless they are taught to regard as drudgery.
People still say they believe in God. Yes, they believe in Him, in His existence, that is: for His existence is virtually impossible to deny. What modern man rejects, however, as Fr. Frederick Faber commented over a century ago, is the notion that God has any right to tell man what to do. These comments form far less of a prediction than the statement of an established fact. It became quite obvious when almost all the Christian governments of the world legalized abortion. In doing so, they crossed the Rubicon. The almost universal acceptance of abortion worldwide has cleared the way for men to ignore completely the moral law [also referred to as "the Natural Law," which is God's law, as the unaided human intellect sees the truth God has implanted in His creation] whenever and wherever civil laws are enacted. Genetic experiment, another example of man's ignoring the Natural law, is already with us, and the propaganda for "death and dignity" [a slogan for killing the aged and the weak] is heating up. With god out of the way, the weakest and poorest in our society are defenseless -- at the mercy, not of foreign enemies, but of their own fellow citizens.
As we said earlier, Fatima is the hope of the world because: the vision of St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus blessing the world, with Mary by the side of the sun which has nit left its place, is God's assurance that though men may reject Him, God will never reject man. In describing the father of the prodigal son in His famous parable, Jesus was actually describing His own Eternal Father. God the Father is ever waiting for sinners in particular and mankind in general to return to Him and His law. And as the principal theme at Fatima would indicate, the road by which the prodigal world will someday return to God the Father is called the Way of the Immaculate Heart of Mary -- symbolized by the conversion of Russia and world peace for a period. Whether one believes in Fatima or not -- it must be remembered above all that there is still one part of the Fatima story that is not in the least debatable, namely, the great "Miracle of the Sun." The solar prodigy, its occurrence is a historical fact, attested to by thousands of witnesses and recorded in the secular press by reporters who had gone to the Cova da Iria just to scoff. Thereafter, and because of the "Miracle of the Sun," it behooves us to look at the rest of the Fatima story and what it predicted for the family. To save the family and restored the father to his rightful place as head of his family, go to St. Joseph and obey Our Lady of Fatima's urgent requests. Make Fatima and its message a regular part of your family life.
O my God, I thanks Thee for St. Joseph,
to the Christ Child
and His Holy Mother; I thank Thee for his chastity and humility and
ask that I, too, be granted the grace of devotion to the interior life of quiet
submission to daily duty and sacrifice for sinners. Amen.
THE GLORIES OF ST. JOSEPH:
Taken from the Book,
THE LIFE AND GLORIES OF ST. JOSEPH
by Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.
TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS
PART ONE: ST. JOSEPH INCLUDED IN
THE ORDER OF THE HYPOSTATIC UNION
PART TWO: THE GLORY OF JOSEPH IN HEAVEN
It is no uncommon idea, even among Catholics, that the devotion paid to St. Joseph and the loft estimate of his prerogatives now prevailing in the Church are innovations of modern times and that they have no precedent in antiquity. But this is far from the case. In the writings of the Church Fathers are to be found prolific germs and even explicit statements of doctrine, which sufficiently show how deep in the consciousness of the Church lay the belief of St. Joseph's exalted dignity and sanctity, and how definite a shape it had taken in the early ages.
If to some it may be a matter of surprise that so much attention is paid to one whom is scarcely mention in Scripture, and if it is also a wonder to them that the Holy See has assigned him the glorious title of Patron and Guardian of the Universal Church, this can only be that they have paid scant attention to St. Joseph's role in the economy of redemption.
TO DESCRIBE the life and glories of St. Joseph is to describe
same time the life of Jesus and the glories of Mary; for Jesus, Mary,
Joseph are so intimately united, that it is impossible to speak of one
without treating of the others. These three dear names-----Jesus,
that triple Heavenly alliance which can never be broken.
In order to understand the greatness of St. Joseph, we must look very far back, for his greatness did not begin with his birth, for it began with his predestination, Predestination, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is the Divine preordination, from eternity, of those things which, by Divine grace, are to be accomplished in time. Now, the most compassionate Lord God had, in the admirable dispositions of His Providence, from all eternity, preordained the ineffable mystery of the Divine Incarnation to repair the fall of Adam and save his descendants from eternal ruin. This mystery hidden in ages was to be revealed in the fullness of time. The Eternal Word was to assume human flesh and to offer Himself as a voluntary victim to expiate the sins of all mankind. This mystery, then, was to be accomplished in Jesus; it was predestined that Jesus, who according to the flesh was the Son of David, was in truth the Son of God, that it was preordained that one day that human nature was to subsist along with the Divine Nature, in order that the sacrifice of Jesus might have an infinite value to satisfy worthily the Divine Justice. And this is what is called the eternal decree of the Divine Incarnation.
Now, in this decree is comprehended, not only the mystery itself of the Divine Incarnation, but also the mode and order in which the mystery was to be accomplished, and consequently, those persons who were principally and more immediately to have a part in it, for according the doctrine of the Angelic Doctor, the eternal predestination includes not only what is to be accomplished in time, but likewise the mode and order according to which it is to be accomplished: that the Most Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ was to be taken, but without sin, from that same human nature which had sinned in Adam: that It was to descend from the blood of Abraham, to be of the tribe of Juda and the race of David, and that the Body of Jesus was to be formed by the power of the Holy Ghost in the pure womb of the Immaculate Virgin, Mary; and therefore Mary, after Jesus, was immediately comprised in the decree of the Divine Incarnation, and from eternity predestined to be the most august Mother of the Son of God.
But in order to conceal this mystery of love from the world until the appointed time had come, and to safeguard at the same time the reputation of the Virgin Mother and the honor of the Divine Son, God willed that Mary, by a marriage altogether Heavenly should be espoused to the humblest, the purest, and the holiest of the royal race of David, one therefore expressly predestined for this end; a virgin spouse for the Virgin Mother, who at the same time should be in the place of a father to the Divine Son. In the Divine mind Joseph was the one chosen from amongst all others. Joseph held the first place. Joseph was, after Mary, comprehended in the very decree of the Incarnation
PART ONE: ST. JOSEPH INCLUDED IN THE
OF THE HYPOSTATIC UNION
WHATEVER God disposes is disposed in a marvelous and perfect order. Wherefore the Church which Jesus came to found on earth imitates the Heavenly Sion. As in Heaven there are angelic hierarchies, and in these ranks there are diverse orders, so also on earth there is a hierarchy of grace, and in that hierarchy are included various orders or ministries, which, according to the Angelic Doctor, St. thomas, excel each other in proportion to their approximation to God. The highest of all these orders, whether angelic or human, is the order of the Hypostatic Union, in which is Christ Jesus, God and Man. By the Hypostatic Union is meant that the Eternal Son of God, in His Incarnation, assumed human nature, and united it to Himself in Personal unity; in other words, that in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ, the two Natures, the Divine Nature and the Human Nature, ever distinct in themselves, became inseparably and eternally united.
If a wonderful order is displayed in all the works of nature, an order supremely perfect is displayed in all the works of grace, especially in the great work of the Incarnation. Among these orders of grace some precede the mystery of the Incarnation, others follow it. Among those which precede it the most remote is the order of the Patriarchs, chosen to prepare the progenitors of Jesus down to St. Joachim and St. Anne. To some of these, as to Abraham and to David, it was expressly revealed that of their blood and of their family, the Savior of men should be born into the world. The next is the Levitical and sacerdotal order, preordained by god to figure in all its rites the Priesthood of Jesus, His Church., His Sacraments, the Bloody sacrifice of the Cross, and the Unbloody Sacrifice of the Altar. The third is that of the Prophets, destined to foretell and announce to the world, so many centuries before the coming of Jesus, His Birth of a Virgin, His country, the place of His Nativity, His flight into Egypt, His Apostles, his preaching, miracles, His Passion and Death, his Resurrection and glorious Ascension into Heaven. Greater than all these Prophets was john the Baptist, because destined and preordained to be the immediate Precursor of Christ, and to point to Him as being actually present on the earth. . . These are the orders which under the Old Law preceded Jesus.
Others succeeded Him, and these are the various orders or ministries of Holy Church, which form the ecclesiastical hierarchy, beginning with the Apostles, who were to render to the whole earth and to all ages their solemn testimony to the Divinity of Jesus Christ; they were to announce all His Doctrine, His Law, His Sacraments; they were to found and spread His Church throughout the world, so that all might attain salvation. And, as the Apostolic order was nearer than any other to jesus, even so, says St. Thomas Aquinas, did the Apostles receive greater grace than any other saint in the other orders of the Church.
Now, above all these orders rises supreme the order of the Hypostatic Union. All the other orders, including the angelic, are subordinate and subject to it; for this reason, that Jesus is the beginning, the author, and the head of this order, and on Jesus, as Sovereign Prince, depends every hierarchy, every sacred princedom in Heaven and on earth, since Jesus is the end of the whole law [Rom. 10:4] . . . jesus is the sole and true source of salvation to all men. By faith in Him Who was to come all were saved who lived justly from Adam until His day; and all those who have lived and shall live justly since His coming have been and shall be saved by Him alone. . . all the various orders of grace circle, from Him alone receiving light, virtue and power to fulfill faithfully the holy offices to which they are ordained; and so much the greater or less grace and dignity do they receive as they are more or less approximated in their ministry to Jesus, the author of grace, just as one who is nearer to the fire participates more largely in its heat. It is clear, then, that the order of the Hypostatic Union transcends and surpasses the other subaltern orders, even as the sun transcends the inferior stars.
Now, Joseph by Divine predestination was placed in this sovereign order. Three only composed it-----Jesus, Mary, Joseph. Jesus is true God and true Man; Mary is true Mother of God and Mother of men; Joseph is true spouse of Mary and putative father of Jesus. Jesus is the principal subject of the Incarnation, and the author of the Redemption of the world; Mary is the immediate co-operatrix and, so to say, the executrix of the Incarnation itself; Joseph, the faithful depository of these two most precious pledges, was to provide that this sublime mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption should be brought about with the greatest possible congruity, so that the honor of the Mother and of the God-Man, her Son, should remain intact.
That Joseph should be comprised in this supreme order is not a mere devout opinion or the fruit of pious meditation, it is a sure decision of the soundest theology. Suarez, that eminent theologian, after having spoken of the Order of the Apostles, upon which he said the greatest grace was conferred, goes on to say: "There are other ministries appertaining to the order of the Hypostatic Union, which in its kind is more perfect, as we affirmed of the dignity of the Mother of God, and in this order is constituted the ministry of St. Joseph; and, although it be in the lowest grade of it, nevertheless, in this respect, it surpasses all others, because it exists in a superior order!"  Thus spoke Suarez, the learned theologian of Granada, about three hundred years ago, when the opinion of the faithful respecting St. Joseph and the devotion due to him had not been so openly and generally displayed.
But the doctors who followed spoke still more clearly. Giovanni di Cartagena, contemporary of Bellarmine and Baronius, and very dear to Pope Pius V for his piety and science, out of the numerous learned homilies which he wrote, devoted thirteen to the praises of Joseph. After having spoken of the Apostolic order, he passes on to treat of the order of the Hypostatic Union, and says that in its kind it is more perfect than the other, and that in this order the first place is held by the Humanity of Christ, which is immediately united to the Person of the Word; the second place is held by the Blessed Virgin, who conceived and brought forth the Incarnate Word; the third place is held by St. Joseph, to whom was committed by God the special care, never given to any other, of feeding, nursing, educating, and protecting a God-made-man!  After Cartagena comes P. Giuseppe Antonio Patrignani, highly praised also by Benedict XIV, who, almost two centuries ago, wrote thus of St. Joseph: " He, as constituted head of the Family immediately belonging to the service of a God-Man, transcends in dignity all the other Saints; wherefore he is happily established in an order which is superior to all the other orders in the Church." 
W e might adduce other doctors of high authority, but we will proceed to consider some of the legitimate consequences which flow from this doctrine.
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1. It is an exceeding honor to Joseph "to be comprised in the same order wherein are Jesus Himself, the Son of God, the King of kings, and Mary, Mother of God and Queen of the universe, to be united with them in the closest relations, and enjoy their most entire confidence. The nobles of the earth deem themselves to be highly honored in being brought into near association with monarchs of renown, holding the foremost places in their courts, and being the most trusted in their councils. What, then, shall we say of Joseph, who, placed in the order of the Hypostatic Union, was destined by God, not only first in His court and the closest in His confidence, but even to be the reputed father of the King of kings; to be, not only the confidential friend, but the very spouse of the most exalted of all the empresses in the universe? Next to the Divine Maternity, no honor in the world is comparable with this.
2. To be comprised in the order of the Hypostatic Union implies being, after Jesus and Mary, superior to all the other Saints, both of the Old and the New Testament; and the reason is clear: for, this order being superior to all the other orders in the Church, it follows that whosoever has a place in this order, albeit in its lowest grade, as Joseph has, ranks before all who are even in the highest grade of a lower order, such as that of the Apostles, which is the most eminent among them.
3. It follows that Joseph is superior, not in nature, but in dignity, to the Angels themselves, since the orders of Angels are subject to the order of the Hypostatic Union, subject to Jesus, their King and their Head, subject to Mary, their Queen; hence, as the Apostle declares, when the Eternal Father sent His Divine Son upon earth He commanded all the Angels to adore Him.  And on account of Jesus the Angels became subject also to Mary and to Joseph: thus we find them hastening gladly to serve them, to warn them, to console them; and were they not sent expressly from Heaven to act as attendants on Joseph, at one time to assure him that his Spouse has conceived the Son of God Himself; at another to make known to him the plot of Herod, so that he might place the Virgin and her Divine Son in safety by flying into Egypt; and, again, to announce to him that now he may joyfully return into the land of Israel? 
4. We conclude that Joseph was comprehended in this order because he was truly the head and guardian of this Divine Family. To rule and govern this august family belonged of right to Jesus, who was God. Mary and Joseph, exalted as they were in dignity, were, nevertheless, only creatures; but Jesus willed to give an example of the most perfect humility. It was His will to magnify our Saint, and to concede to him this high glory, making him the head and guardian of His family; so that Joseph had rule and authority over the Son of God Himself and over the very Mother of the Son of God. And Joseph, being thus destined to be the head and guardian of Jesus, the head and guardian of Mary, became at the same time the patron and guardian of the Church, which is the spouse of Jesus and, in a manner, the daughter of Mary. Whence [St.] Pius IX, of blessed memory, in proclaiming Joseph Patron of the Church, did not so much confer a new title of honor upon him as affirm and declare this his most ancient prerogative, which had not before been so expressly promulgated by Holy Church.
5. It follows that Joseph was comprised in that order 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!"  Herein we see manifested the great love of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity for our Saint and the confidence They reposed in him; for the Eternal Father committed wholly into his charge His well-beloved Son; the Divine Son delivered Himself entirely to his care and to his will; the Holy Spirit consigned and committed to him His most immaculate Spouse; so that this Holy Family, of which Joseph became the head, was another Triad on earth, a resplendent image of the Most Holy Triad in Heaven, the Ever-Blessed Trinity: Joseph representing the Eternal Father, Jesus representing and being in very truth the Eternal Word, and Mary representing the Eternal Love, the Holy Spirit. This thought is borrowed from the Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales. "We may say" -----these are his words-----"that the Holy Family was a Trinity on Earth, which in a certain way represented the Heavenly Trinity Itself." 
6. Finally, it follows that Joseph, in that he was comprised in that sublime order, superior to that of all the other Saints, must as a natural consequence have been predestined to receive greater gifts and graces than all the other Saints, that he might be made worthy to be so near to Jesus and Mary, and fitted to discharge most faithfully those high ministries to which he was elected. Hence the pious Bernardine de Bustis makes this bold assertion: "Since Joseph was to be the guardian, companion, and ruler of the Most Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, is it possible to conceive that God could have made a mistake in the choice of him? or that He could have permitted him to be deficient in any respect? or could have failed to make him most perfect?" The very idea would be the grossest of errors. When God selects anyone to perform some great work He bestows upon him every virtue needful for its accomplishment." 
Let us rejoice, then, with our most loving Patriarch that he has been exalted to so sublime an order, and has obtained such grace, power, and dignity as none other, after Jesus and Mary, has ever received, to the glory of God, Who made him so great, and for our profit and that of the whole Church.
PART TWO: THE GLORY OF JOSEPH IN HEAVEN
GOD proportions His graces to the office with which He entrusts a man, and his glory in Heaven will be proportioned to the fidelity with which he has discharged it. If this be true, and it is undoubtedly true, what must be the glory of Joseph! To whom was ever committed an office which for its sublimity could be compared to that for which our Saint was chosen? and who can question his faithful correspondence with the high graces which he must have received in order to its due discharge? Well, therefore, may we address him, as do the United Greeks in one of their hymns, by the singular epithet of "more than a Saint," or, rather, as " pre-eminently a Saint," by the super excellence of the graces he received from Heaven and his perfect correspondence with those graces. So far, then, from its being rash to hold that Joseph surpasses all the Saints in glory, even as he exceeded them in grace, the learned Suarez is of opinion that it is a belief both full of piety and in itself most highly probable. Many other eminent ecclesiastical authorities might be quoted in support of the same view, but the name of Suarez may suffice to warrant our conviction of what recommends itself even to our natural reason. Moreover, if it be once conceded that Joseph, being specially associated with the mystery of the Incarnation, was constituted in a higher order than any other, however exalted, in the hierarchy of the Church, namely, that of, the Hypostatic Union, it follows that no comparison can be attempted him and other Saints, because he possessed a different and more eminent kind of sanctity.
And this is no new opinion in the Church. We need not wonder, then, if the Blessed Veronica of Milan  when rapt in ecstasy and raised in spirit to behold the glories of the empyrean, distinguished the incomparable Joseph exalted above all the blessed; nor if a celebrated doctor of these later centuries  should have written that Jesus Christ denied the first seats in His kingdom to the ambitious pretensions of His disciples, James and John,  because these places were reserved for Mary and Joseph; and was it not meet, indeed, that the Son of God should keep those nearest to Him in Heaven who had been nearest to Him on earth? We cannot well conceive that it could be otherwise. "Was there ever any pure creature," says St. Francis de Sales, "so beloved of God or who better deserved that love than our Lady or St. Joseph?"  All the Fathers of the Church are agreed that the Joseph of Genesis was a type of the most pure spouse of Mary, and that his brilliant exaltation over his brethren was a shadow of the glory of the second Joseph, and a kind of prophecy of what was to occur in his case. Is not this implicitly to concur in the doctrine of Suarez and of those other eminent authorities who expressly affirm the elevation of Joseph above all the Saints in Paradise? Finally, the Church herself in her offices appears to favor and accredit this truth, by calling Joseph the honor and glory of the Blessed;  words which imply his superiority.
But this superlative glory of Joseph's soul, although constituting his substantial and essential beatitude, is by no means all that appertains to that beatitude. Man being composed of a united soul and body, the happiness and glory of Heaven are promised to the body as well as to the soul, and form no inconsiderable portion of it. Now, we have every reason to be persuaded that Joseph truly rose from the grave, and, if so, that his body also shines with a luster and enjoys a bliss surpassing that which the bodies of other Saints shall ever enjoy. It is of faith that many bodies of the Saints arose with the Incarnate Word, and that they appeared to numbers of persons in Jerusalem,  giving them undoubted proofs that they were truly risen. Moreover, it is the opinion of St. Thomas and of well-nigh all the Doctors that these Saints were not subject to death any more, but, after having for some time communicated on earth with the disciples of the Son of God, they, when the forty days were expired, followed Him in His Ascension to render His entrance into Heaven still more brilliant and glorious. It seems scarcely necessary to allude to the idea entertained by some as possible, that these Saints returned into their tombs after rendering their testimony. With all respect to those who have favored this notion, among whom are some honored names, not only is it to our mind in every way repulsive, but it seems to destroy the value of the testimony itself, seeing that their bodies were to return to dust. Dismissing, then, a conjecture unworthy, as it appears to us, of the goodness of God and of the great work which Jesus had achieved when He rose triumphant from the grave and, ascending into Heaven, led captivity captive,  and displayed the trophies of His victory in these first children of the Resurrection, let us ask ourselves who of all the ancient Saints were likely to form a portion of this chosen band. St. Matthew, wholly occupied in relating what immediately regards our Lord Himself and in establishing our faith in the principal mysteries which concern Him, has neither specified the number of those who were called to share the Redeemer's triumph over death, nor given the name of anyone among them; he simply says that they were "many." We, therefore, naturally conclude that certain great patriarchs and prophets of the Old Law must have been thus chosen. But which of these patriarchs or prophets, however magnificent the promises made to them or declared by them, however high in the favor of God they may have stood, could be compared for greatness and dignity with Joseph, to whom it was given to be a father to Him Who is the God of all the patriarchs and prophets, and to feed, support, and protect Him Who created and sustains all things? Could these ancient Saints be selected for the glory of the Resurrection and Joseph left in the tomb? But, more than all, how can we believe that this loving Savior, Who gives life to whom He will,  and therefore had the power to choose whom He would to share His glory in body as well as soul, can have called from their graves this multitude of His servants and friends and omitted His dearly-loved father? Impossible! No proof seems required to establish a fact which, so to say, proves itself by its simple statement.
Isolano, among the Oriental traditions which he collected, gives a touching instance of the love with which Jesus spoke of Joseph while on earth, saying to His disciples, to whom the knowledge of His Divine origin had already been revealed: "I conversed with Joseph in all things as if I had been His child. He called Me Son, and I called him father; and I loved him as the apple of My eye." These and similar legends represent, if they do no more, the current opinion in the East in days near to the Gospel times. We gather from them more or less of evidence confirmatory of our conviction that Jesus did not regard His apparently close relationship to Joseph as a mere shield or mask, but recognized a real relationship therein, which, though not of the natural order, was none the less endearing. And, if we are to credit the revelations of Saints, in Heaven this relationship still endures, and He still calls Joseph father. Appearing one day to Marina de Escobar, accompanied by the Saint, He said to her: "See, here is My father, and whom I regarded as such upon earth; what think you of him?" It was, we might almost say-----if it be permitted to do so without irreverence,-----as if He were proud of him, proud of having had him for a father on earth, and desirous to show this holy soul his glory . The Bollandists also relate how Jesus appeared one day to St. Margaret of Cortona, and told her He took great pleasure in her devotion to His foster-father, Joseph, who was most dear to Him, and expressed His wish that she should every day pay him some special act of homage.  The heart melts with tenderness at such thoughts, even as it recoils from the idea that the close bond between Jesus and Joseph was only temporary, and merely ordained for a passing object. If, then, that bond still exists, assuredly Joseph is with Him in body as well as soul as truly as he was in the workshop of Nazareth, where they worked by each other's side for so many years. St. Bernardine of Siena, that glory of the Seraphic Order and great lover of Joseph, in the admirable sermon which he delivered in honor of the Saint, after declaring his conviction that Joseph enjoyed the same privilege as Mary in the resurrection of his body, concludes with saying that, as this Holy Family-----that is, Christ, the Virgin, and Joseph-----had been united in a laborious life and in loving grace while on earth, so also their bodies and souls reign together in Heaven in loving glory, according to that Apostolic rule: II As you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation."  Gerson, after saying that words fail him worthily to extol that admirable Trinity,-----Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,-----adds that, after Mary , Joseph is nearest to Jesus in Heaven, even as, after her, he was nearest on earth. P. Giovanni Osorio will not hear of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph being divided in Heaven, or of anyone being nearer to Mary in glory than her most sweet spouse, nor nearer to Jesus, after Mary, than His reputed father, since on earth there were none so closely united as Jesus, Mary , and Joseph. Isidoro de Isolano, whom we have just quoted, also says that Joseph, spouse of Mary, arrayed in two robes like the ancient Joseph-----that is, with the blessedness of his soul and body,-----accompanied Jesus in His Ascension into Heaven, and sat down next to the King of Glory,  that place being, according to Cartagena, on His left hand, the right being reserved for Mary.
It would be long to quote all the concurrent opinions of the
and the holy, but we cannot omit that of Suarez. After saying much in
of St. Joseph, he adds that, according to the sufficiently received
it was probable that he was reigning gloriously with Christ in Heaven,
both in body and in soul.  If Suarez could
call this a sufficiently received belief more than two hundred years
what would he have styled it at the present time, when it is held
universally? Finally, we must content ourselves with citing the
of two Saints of these later ages, St. Francis de Sales and St. Leonard
of Port Maurice. The former, after speaking at some length of the
of Joseph, thus concludes: "St. Joseph is, therefore, in Heaven in
body and in soul; of that there is no doubt."  And St. Leonard, in pronouncing his eulogium, exclaims that Joseph was transported in body and in soul to the empyrean by a particular privilege, which appears to be indicated in the Proverbs, where it is said that all of her [Mary's] household are " clothed with double garments,"  which interpreters have understood as signifying the twofold glorification of soul and body.
But let us look at the subject from another point of view. Our
Lord in calling from the grave this multitude of saints intended them,
as the Master of Theologians teaches,  to
serve as witnesses to the reality of His own Resurrection, in order
the disciples and the rest of the faithful should not imagine that it
a phantom who had appeared to them, but should firmly believe that it
truly He Himself, Jesus of Nazareth, whom they beheld. We know how hard
of belief they were, and how, when they saw Him walking on the Sea of
notwithstanding all the wonders they had witnessed, they had cried out
for fear, imagining it was an apparition. 
And, although He had repeatedly told them He should rise from the
they refused at first to credit the testimony of Mary Magdalen and the
other women; nay, Thomas refused to believe the word of the other ten
declaring that unless he had ocular and tangible proof he would not
Now, the Resurrection of Christ was, we may say, the very cornerstone
Christianity. It was that which the Apostles were to be sent forth
to teach." If Christ be not risen again," says St. Paul writing to the
Corinthians, "then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."
 As, then, the Apostles were to preach
truth to the world, Jesus made use of these risen Saints to confirm
faith in His Resurrection; they were to be to the Apostles what the
were afterwards to be to all the nations of the earth. Angels were
by Him for the same purpose, declaring it to the women on that first
morn, and showing them His open sepulcher. 
But the Son of God desired also to have the testimony of men, and that,
not only to His own Resurrection, but to His power to raise from the
whomsoever He would. He, therefore, by His Divine omnipotence and the
of His victory over the grave, raised to life the bodies of His dearest
friends to overcome the incredulity of His followers. But was there any
among them whose testimony would have been more credible than that of
What patriarch or prophet of the Old Testament could have given the
to Jesus that the spouse of Mary could give? Abraham beheld Him in
from afar, but Joseph saw Him with his bodily eyes in his own house for
many years. David prophesied the coming of the Incarnate Word, and
His principal actions, but Joseph had received Him into his arms when
came into the world, and took part in almost all the mysteries of His
If Joseph, then, who, according to this pious belief, was certainly
the risen Saints, could have said to the Apostles, "This is the true
of Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, the only Savior of men; this is truly He
I saw born in a stable, the same whom I circumcised, whom I carried
Egypt, whom for a long time I sustained by my labor, and who labored
me in my workshop at Nazareth, He is the same, doubt it not, disciples
of Jesus," must not this testimony, given by one
who was also personally known to them, have been a more convincing proof of the Savior's Resurrection than what all the Fathers of the Old Testament could furnish? The Spirit of God had taught us by the mouth of prophets the eternal generation of the Son of God, Angels proclaimed His temporal generation when He was born in Bethlehem, but to Joseph was given the honor of declaring to the nascent Church what may be called the immortal generation of Jesus, that is, His Resurrection from the dead by the power of the Spirit!  All that the other resuscitated Saints might say could not have had such persuasive efficacy as would have had the testimony of Joseph risen from the dead. May we not be permitted to apply to him the words of Ecclesiasticus respecting the ancient Patriarch: "His bones were visited, and after death they prophesied,"  or preached? Whatever may be their meaning as regards the elder Joseph-----for no tradition has reached us of any wonder or miracle wrought by his precious relics-----they were amply verified in the great Saint, his prototype, if, indeed, it were given to him to publish to the Apostles the Resurrection of the Savior, and, through them, as we may say, to preach to the whole Church.
Jesus is the Bread of Life, of Which whosoever partakes shall
life. Hence the Fathers often call the Flesh of Jesus Life-giving
Contact with It in the Holy Eucharist pours graces into our souls and
the germ of our future glorified bodies. If this be so, we may
with St. Francis de Sales, that Joseph, having enjoyed the honor of
so closely united to Jesus, of kissing Him devoutly, embracing
tenderly, and bearing Him so often folded in his arms, must have had a
sufficient title to an anticipated resurrection. The Flesh of Jesus is
like a Heavenly magnet to draw to Itself the bodies of those who have
and sanctified by Its touch. Were they as dry and heavy as the clods of earth which cover them, the Son of God promises them the agility of eagles to fly to Him when, at His second coming, His voice shall be heard by them in their graves: "Wheresoever the Body is, there shall the eagles be gathered together."  But can earth have detained the body of holy Joseph until the consummation of ages, whose union with the Savior had been so close and so endearing? St. Augustine-----or whoever may be the author of the Treatise on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin-----and other Fathers of the Church give as a reason for believing in the resurrection of Mary that it would have been indecorous that the body of one who was so closely united to Jesus, of whose flesh He had taken flesh, and who had rendered Him so many services, should have remained the slave of death until the end of the world. Now, what is pre-eminently true of the Mother of God applies in large measure to him whom Jesus called His father on earth, and who served Him with such matchless devotion; so that we may readily believe or, rather, we are irresistibly led to believe, that he who was more intimately united to Him than was any other Saint must thence have derived a right superior to that of all others to share the bliss and glory of His risen Body.
The ancient Joseph, when about to die, besought his brethren not to leave his remains in Egypt, but to bear them to the promised land; and Moses faithfully fulfilled the last will of the Patriarch, and carried the relics of this holy man into Palestine.  We see here a figure of Joseph, the spouse of Mary, who, when at the point of death, full of confidence in the Savior's love, recommended, not his soul only, but his body, to that dear Son, who gave it His blessing; and that blessing was a promise. Jesus, Who had so often sweetly reposed upon the bosom of Joseph, who had nurtured, defended, and toiled for Him during thirty years, would not leave Him in the Egypt of this world, but, when he passed to the promised land, took him with Him into Heaven, there to enjoy without delay the fulness of eternal bliss. Thus may we say with the Prophet that Joseph had "a double portion"  in that true land of promise, the blessedness of the body as well as of the soul.
Many other reasons might be alleged in support of this belief, and in particular the desire of Mary. When the Blessed Virgin rose from the sepulcher on the day of her glorious Assumption, would she, so to say, have been satisfied had she not seen her chaste spouse, Joseph, similarly glorified? The most pure and holy marriage of Joseph with Mary was, like his paternity, to endure for ever. It was ordained in connection with the Incarnation of the Word, and, as that mystery was still subsisting, and would subsist throughout eternity, so was it also with this alliance. The Word espoused human nature to Himself for ever, and Joseph was united for ever with the Most Blessed Virgin; and, as death did not sever the tie which united the Word to the Body and Soul which He had taken, so neither did it sever the tie which bound together the hearts of Mary and Joseph. She loved him, and will love him as her spouse for all eternity, and must therefore have ardently desired the full completion of his bliss. Even if the loving heart of Jesus had not shared that desire, He must have yielded to the solicitations of her at whose request, for a motive immeasurably less pressing, He had changed the water into wine at the marriage-feast of Cana. St. Peter Damian has left on record his opinion, that St. John the Evangelist is risen and glorified both in body and soul in Heaven, because he was like to Mary in virginal purity, and so intimately associated with her that we cannot conceive the one being raised without the other.  But how incomparably more weight such reasons have in favor of her virgin spouse!
Further, we may confidently hold that, had this venerable body been left on earth, God would never have allowed it to remain concealed, and thus to be deprived of the honor given to the relics of Saints much inferior to him. Ecclesiastical history frequently alludes to miracles which it pleased the Lord to work in order to the discovery of the precious remains of many of His servants, that men might render them due veneration, transport them to their churches, place them under their altars, and honor them with religious cultus. But of Joseph nothing remains save the ring he placed on Mary's finger on the day of their espousals, for the possession of which two cities have contended, and a few fragments of his garments, to which pious homage is still paid. Angels were charged to bear the Holy House of Nazareth into Catholic lands, that it might not be left in the possession of infidels; and, if God thus willed that this material tenement should be preserved and honored, is it conceivable that He should have abandoned the body of him who was the owner of that house and the pure spouse of His Blessed Mother, and left it all these centuries in the cold grasp of death? We have every reason, then, to conclude from such facts as these that earth no longer possesses the body of our Saint. Indeed, a latent, if not a positive and declared conviction, seems to have dwelt in the hearts of the great body of the faithful, when visiting his sepulcher in the Valley of Josaphat nigh to that of his most holy spouse;  that, like her, he is not there, but is glorified in body as well as soul.
Many learned doctors, and among them [as we have said] St. Francis de Sales, consider that several of the alleged reasons for his anticipated resurrection amount to demonstration. Nay, God Himself seems to have authorized the belief by a striking miracle; for when St. Bernardine of Siena, preaching in Padua, declared that the body and soul of Joseph were both glorified in Heaven, a rich cross of gold was seen to shine over the head of the preacher, proving to the very eyes of those who surrounded him the truth which he was conveying to their ears. The pious Bernardine de Bustis, who was himself a witness of this marvel, also most firmly held that Joseph rose from the grave with Christ and, along with the risen Savior, went to visit his holy spouse, and is now enjoying eternal life and glory ineffable, soul and body, in their company. 
How great the glory of the beatified body of Joseph may be, it
the power of our feeble imaginations to conceive. We only know that it
must be proportioned to the glory of his soul. It is certain that the
of the. Lord, when He rose victorious from the grave, possessed such
endowments and was adorned with such matchless splendor that all
magnificence and beauty is but a shadow of its glory. The living palace
of the Incarnate Word, in which, as the Apostle says, "dwelleth all the
fulness of the Godhead corporally,"  must
needs thus be gifted and enriched. But Jesus was not only rich in
but rich in order to impart His riches. His followers are to be
of it, each in his measure, and that measure, be it small or great,
include and, indeed, will consist in likeness to Himself. The beloved
unable to describe the future blessedness of the sons of God, says, "It
hath not yet appeared what we shall be," and then he adds, "We know
when He shall appear we shall be like to Him." 
That is all he could say; and it was the highest thing he could have
That adorable Body being, indeed, the first and most perfect of all
beauties, we cannot estimate the riches and glory of other bodies save
by comparing them with this Divine exemplar. When the Son of God, then,
was willed to raise His father Joseph with Him from the grave, we feel
that He had what we might almost call a special obligation to grant him
a singular likeness to Himself. Joseph had been very like to Him on
and it was fitting that he should be so in order to confirm the opinion
that he was truly His father; and now, in the resurrection, Jesus
that likeness, not to establish, but to recompense the paternity of
and to preserve that just conformity in Heaven which was befitting the
relationship subsisting between them, a relationship which, next to
which united Him to His Immaculate Mother, was the most intimate and
most glorious. When Joseph, therefore, entered Heaven on the Ascension
Day, he presented to the eyes of the Angels the most magnificent
next to the Sacred Humanity of the Eternal Son, which they had ever
Mary, their Queen, was, it is true, to shine with still more
luster, but never for a moment must we imagine that her arrival on the
day of her Assumption caused the glory of her spouse to pale; on the
it increased and intensified it through that celestial law of
of which we have the type and similitude in nature on this earth of
The bodies of all the Saints will be invested with light, a light which
emanates from the Lamb, who is the lamp and the sun of the New
 but the Savior and His most holy Mother
delight in causing the brightest beams of their glory to irradiate
all eternity the beatified body of Joseph, who, abiding ever in close
to the central splendors of the empyrean-----the
Sacred Humanity of the Incarnate Word and His most holy Mother-----will
be even penetrated with their light-----as
a precious metal glows with the same intenseness as the furnace in
it is plunged, or, like some pure mirror, which, confronted with the
faithfully repeats its image-----a
light too dazzling for mortal eyes to gaze upon. What more can we say?
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the earthly Trinity, now together enthroned in
the blaze of supernal glory, shine in that light eternal which by
becomes, as it were, common to all three.
1. Tom. ii. disp. viii. sec. 1.
2. Lib. iv. Hom. viii.
3. Il Divoto di S. Giuseppe, Novena, Gior. vi.
4. Heb. i. 6.
5. St. Matthew i. 20, 2 ; ii. 13, 19, 20.
6. Chap. xlii. 8.
7. Heb. i. 5.
8. Entretien, xix.
9. Mariale, Sermo xii.
10. Declared Blessed by Leo X. Her life was written by Isidoro Isolano.
11. Cartagena, Lib. iv. Hom. viii.
12. St. Mark x. 35.40.
13. Entretien, iii 13.
14. "Cœlitum Joseph decus."
15. St. Matthew xxvii. 51, 52.
16. Psalm lxvii 19;
17. St. John v. 21.
18. Apud Bolland. die 22 Februarii.
19. Cor. i. 7.
20. In speaking of two robes, he alludes to the robe of silk with which Pharao invested the viceroy of Egypt, in addition to his own, when he placed him in his second chariot [Gen. xli. 42].
21. Tom. ii. in p. iii. S. Thomæ, disp. viii. sec. ii. a. 2.
22. Entretien, xix. n. 22.
23. Prov. xxxi. 22. Panegir. di S. Giuseppe, n. 4.
24. "They rose, to die no more, because they rose to manifest the Resurrection of Christ."-----St. Thomas, in Matthœum, cap. xxvii.
25. St. Matthew xiv. 25.27; St. Mark vi. 48.50; xvi. 11, 14; St. Luke xxiv. 11; St. John xx. 25.
26. 1 Cor. xv. 14.
27. St. Matthew xxviii. 5, 6; St. Mark xvi. 6; St. Luke xxiv. 5-7.
28. Rom. viii. 11 ; Eph. i. 19.
29. Chap. xlix. 18.
30. St. Matthew xxiv. 28.
31. Gen. I. 24 ; Exod. xiii. 19.
32. Ezekiel xlvii. 13.
33. Sermo ii de S. Joseph.
34. Bede, De Locis Sanctis, cap. lx.
35. Mariale, p. iv. Serm. xii.
36. Col. ii. 9.
37. 1 St. John iii. 2.
38. Apoc. xxii. 5.
THE SIXTEEN ORDINARY BUT EXTRAORDINARY DEVOTIONS TO ST. JOSEPH:
DEVOTIONS WHICH MAY BE PRACTICED
IN HONOR OF THE GLORIOUS ST. JOSEPH BY ANYONE
We do not praise the Saints merely for the sake of praising them; as St. Bernard says, they are so full of Heaven's gifts that our poor praises can scarcely add anything to their glory. We praise them in order to admire them; we admire them in order to love them; we love them in order to serve them; we serve them in order to imitate them; and by imitating them we gain their favor, and merit to have them as protectors in heaven. It is glorious for St. joseph to be so great, but what do we gain by his greatness if he does not share it with us, if he be not our advocate on high? Now he is willing to be of service to us if we show ourselves worthy, if we render him some poor service, and offer him really heart-felt homage. In addition to honoring with a web page, a statue of him in our homes and praying novenas, all efficacious practices, there are a number of other pious devotions we can use to pay him homage and ask for favors:
First Devotion ---The best devotion to Saint Joseph is to imitate his virtues, to model your actions on his, and to act as he acted. He and Our Lady will accept your feeble efforts and help you, and God will give you His blessing.
Second Devotion ---Say attentively each day a short prayer in honor of Saint Joseph, or an aspiration or two, with all of your heart. As with the Golden Hail Mary, it is better to say one brief prayer or aspiration with utter devotion and from the heart than a long prayer distractedly.
Third Devotion ---From time to time consecrate an entire week to the glorious St. Joseph, that he may offer all you do to Mary, to Jesus, to the Most Holy Trinity, and that he may dispose, according to his pleasure, all the fruits of your good works.
Fourth Devotion ---Choose
7 titles of honor, one for each day of the week, by which to pay homage
to this great Saint, and vary your devotion. Some major titles are:
Most Chaste Spouse of Our Lady, Foster Father of the Savior, Model of Virginity and Chastity, Most Favored of Patriarchs, Governor of Jesus and Mary, Guardian of the Infant Jesus, Patron of the Dying, Patron of the Church, Patron of Laborers, Head of the Holy Family, and Distributor of the Treasures of the Messiah.
Fifth Devotion ---For the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, do not be satisfied with one day, which is not enough for the honor of so great and holy a Patron, but celebrate the entire octave, that is the Feast day and the week following. Each day attend Mass or communicate to heaven your honor for him in your own words; give alms in his name; better still, if you can do all of these, he will render it to you a hundredfold in Heaven.
Sixth Devotion ---Imitate those who every Wednesday, in honor of St. Joseph, either attend Mass or cause a Mass to be said, which they attend. If you have the financial means make a perpetual foundation for Masses, so that until the end of the world, God may be glorified by your means.
Seventh Devotion ---Try to win others to the devotion of St. Joseph; speak often of him, more from the heart than from mere lips. A celebrated preacher was wonderfully consoled at the hour of his death, when Our Lady appeared to him to tell him that she came to assist him, because of his holy practice of relating inspiring stories of her spouse in each of his sermons.
Eighth Devotion ---Always have in your oratory, or upon your heart, the picture of this great and amiable Saint. You can purchase a set of note cards as listed above, and have a color copy center enlarge one for you and then you can frame it and make a little shrine or oratory in your home. This particular image photocopies very well. This is only a suggestion, as you can purchase easily a lovely image of St. Joseph at most Catholic shops. There in your little shrine lay all your troubles at his feet; speak familiarly as if he were present; that is why we use images of the Saints, they help us recall their personality to us and draw us to them in Heaven. Take St. Joseph as your advocate in every necessity and at the hour of death.
Ninth Devotion ---When you receive Holy Communion, unite yourself spiritually to Our Lady and St. Joseph, and, with them, keep the Child Jesus company, as they did when they carried Him to the temple to present Him to His Father. You heart is then the true temple of the Lord. Say to him lovingly that today the Feast of the Presentation is celebrated in your soul; and that should Mary and St. Joseph desire to ransom the Divine Child, tell them that he has been given to you by God the Father, that they themselves are the two doves whom you demand for the ransom of Jesus, and that you will be contented with none else.
Tenth Devotion ---Never did anyone venerate St. Joseph with more devotion and honor than the Holy Virgin. She considered him as her lord spouse, as the foster father of Jesus, as the most holy man on earth, as the master who had been given to her by god Himself. In sickness and in health, she served him with the greatest tenderness. Imitate her as far as you can, and beg her to teach you true devotion to her holy spouse.
Eleventh Devotion---Make an irrevocable contract in presence of the Celestial Court, and under the eyes of the august and adorable Trinity. Give to Mary and to Joseph your body, your soul, your heart, your entire self, and then say, with St. Catherine of Siena:
'Now I recommend to you your heart, and your poor servant. I no longer belong to myself, but to both of you. I ask but one thing of you: keep what belongs to you; never permit me to take it back from your blessed hands. This is my irrevocable resolution, for all eternity to belong entirely to Jesus, to Mary, and to Joseph, and I renounce, as far as it is possible for me to do so, all power of ever revoking this promise.'
Twelfth Devotion ---The gift of yourself is unquestionably more desirable and agreeable to Mary and Joseph than aught else; yet if God has granted you means, dedicate to them a more or less considerable share of what you possess. A great Saint, who, after having been patrician and consul, shed his blood for Jesus Christ, employed his immense riches in solacing the sick and the poor, serving them with his own hands. Now, while the memory of Roman emperors is held in affection by no one, the name of this holy man is not forgotten, and his memory is held in benediction on earth, and still more in Heaven. Do you similar acts of charity in honor of St. Joseph.
Thirteenth Devotion---There have been, noble and wealthy persons who have erected churches or chapels in honor of the spouse of Mary, with a privileged altar for the solace of the Souls in Purgatory.
Fourteenth Devotion---Undertake the maintenance of a young scholar, in the hope that he may one day become a good Priest, or holy Religious; or help a poor girl in honor of St. Joseph. This devotion is most pleasing to him, for its effects are real, and its results solid and lasting.
This kind of devotion deserves to be iillustrated by some example. The mayor of a village in France, to whom God had not granted children, proposed to his wife that they should bring up two orphan boys in their house. After a time he placed them first in a college, and later in the diocesan seminary, and both became Priests. A lady. whose fortune was not large, nevertheless managed constantly to maintain either a student in the seminary, or a young Religious in the novitiate of missionaries. In a country not far from France, a man of high rank, but whose fortune neither equalled his position nor the generosity of his disposition, had saved a sum of 600 francs for a journey of recreation. On the point of setting out he heard that a young girl was in danger of losing her innocence and her soul, if se could not procure a dowry of at least 600 francs. The dowry was at once paid, and the proposed excursion given up.
Chancellor of Paris was very devout and very ingenious in his devotion.
In his old age he was most assiduous in teaching the children of Lyons
the Catechism, and at the end of each lesson he made those little
pray, 'My God, my Creator, be merciful to your poor servant John
Their voices brought tears to the eyes of all who heard them, and drew
down the mercies of God upon this virtuous man, who died a holy death
you then, in a similar manner, unite your heart with all those hearts
love St. Joseph; unite your voice and your affections with those of all
the Saints in Paradise, of all the just upon earth, of all the holy
in Purgatory, and say to God, to Our Lady, and to St. Joseph, that you
approve of all that others do and say in their honor; that were it in
power to do as much as they together do, you would assuredly do it with
all your heart, and with all your strength. Thank all the Saints for
homage they pay
to this great Patriarch, entreat them to redouble their praises, insofar as the laws of Heaven and the decrees of Divine Providence permit them. As you cannot take part in their canticles, beg at least to be their echo, and tell them you ratify whatever they do and have done in honor of St. Joseph.
Sixteenth Devotion---The last devotion which I propose to you is the avowal of your own insufficiency. It seems to me that St. Joseph, contemplating the Incarnate Word in the lowly house of Nazareth, must often have said in his heart: 'I adhere to all that my spouse says; I unite myself with all that she does; I take part in all her desires. I do not speak myself: but I hope that, as I agree with all that she thinks well to say, Jesus will approve of my silence. She and I are one in heart; she says all; I say nothing except through her mouth and her heart.' Reader, do the same; repeat to Our Lady that you approve and ratify all she says and does in honor of her spouse. and that you thank her for all a thousand times. Add that it is not the want of cordial affection which makes you silent, but rather its excess, because you can find no words to express it, and your tongue cannot keep pace with your feelings. Say that since St. Joseph by his silence has said as much as, and more than all others, you desire to imitate him.
St. John tells us that when the Lamb had
the seventh seal of the mysterious book mentioned in the Apocalypse,
was silence in Heaven, as it were, for half an hour; all the Saints
as if entranced, and could do nothing but admire the infinite majesty
God. So may you also do. Tell St. Joseph that, while others do
things, your part must be to humble yourself, and acknowledge your own
nothingness; while they offer their love, you can but offer nothingness
and abjection, and acknowledge yourself incapable and unworthy of
Fear not to imitate St. Augustine and other Saints who complained of
to God Himself, in some such terms as these: ' Thou commandest me to
Thee, O God most worthy of love; why, then, hast Thou given me such a
and narrow heart? Why art Thou so great and I so little? The object
infinite, should not the heart and love be infinite also r Then you may
continue: 'Thou hast made St. Joseph so great; Thou inspirest me with
ardent desire to love him, and yet Thou seest how incapable I am of
anything worthy of Thee or of him. Assist my weakness, I beseech Thee,
O Lord! I desire to do what is right, but I have not the power. Give me
the power to do more. At any rate, be satisfied to see one who desires
more than he is able to perform, who would fain do all that can be done
by all men and all Saints, so as to honor Thee in the great things Thou
hast done to St. Joseph.
THE FATHERHOOD OF THE PRIEST
From the Booklet, St. Joseph, Fatima and Fatherhood
by Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione
with Thomas Nelson
The role of the priest in relation to Christ is strikingly analogous to the role of St. Joseph in relation to God the Father. Just as the Eternal Father willed to share His Fatherhood with St. Joseph-----such that they were "Co-Fathers," as it were-----so Jesus willed to share His Fatherhood with the priest, who becomes "Co-Father" with Him of the Baptized. Now it becomes obvious why we call our priests "Father," for the priest is an alter Christus, "another Christ," through whom Christ works. And as Christ is our Father in the faith, we call His official representative "Father" as well, in order to acknowledge the profound truth of Christ's spiritual fatherhood of us all who believe in Him and are Baptized. this is the only satisfying answer to the Protestants' objection quoted from Scripture, "Call no man on earth your father . . ." In effect, we are not calling the Catholic priest "Father," by reason of his person, but by reason of his office; in effect, when we call the priest "Father," we are actually calling Christ "Father," Whose instrument and representative the priest really is.
We find this concept used by St. Paul in First Corinthians [3:9], where he refers to himself and to Apollo as "God's co-workers," with the Father and "co-fathers" with the Son, as he reminds the Corinthians in the next chapter, "For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the Gospel, I have begotten you." [4:15] Thus, just as Jesus could say, "The Father and I are one," so he can say, "the priest and I are one," because it is His priesthood that they share. And whatever the priest in his role as priest, he does in Christ's name.
As in the case of St. Joseph, it is in the priest's role or office, not in his person, that his authority resides . . . in the Eucharist, when the priest prays the words of Consecration: "this is My Body," "This is . . . My Blood . . ." the union between Christ and the priest reaches its most intimate moment. Only Divine power can effect the awesome change of bread and wine into the Boy and Blood of Jesus Christ. Yet the priest, by the authority and power conferred on him by Christ Himself, does effect this tremendous change of the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, even when he does so unworthily [that is, when the priest may unfortunately not be in the state of grace when he says Mass]. Thus, since, in the Consecration of the Mass, the death of Christ, the source of our supernatural life, is made present on the altar by the words of the priest, he the priest, stands revealed as Christ, in Christ's role as our spiritual Father, present among us today.
Like St. Joseph, the priest enjoys a very special authority,
on him by the Will of God. But also, like St. Joseph, his role as
burdens him with duties and responsibilities. St. Joseph taught the
Jesus to pray, introduced Him to the Psalms, led Him to the habitual
of communion with God, even while at work. The priest too has the duty
to pray, not just in his own name, but in the name of the Church, when
he recites the Divine Office . . . and flowing from his life of prayer
and interior union with Christ comes the power to convert souls in
. . . Prayer and ministry of the Word! This was the life of Christ,
Fatherhood priests share-----the
fatherhood of Him who, at the beginning of His life on earth was hailed
by Simeon in the temple, 'A light to the revelation of the Gentiles"
who, before ascending into Heaven, instructed His disciples thus: "All
Power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye
all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the
of the world." [Matt. 28:18-20]. Christ and the priests . . . one now
An Extract From the
DIVINE FAVORS GRANTED TO ST. JOSEPH
Pere Binet, S.J .
Translated by M. C. E. From
The Edition Of The Rev. Fr. Jennesseaux, S.J.
"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."
-----Matt. 1: 20-21
WHO IS ST. JOSEPH, AND WHY DOES HE DESERVE
SO MUCH HONOR?
THE Holy Ghost has willed to make the genealogy of the glorious St. Joseph known to us so exactly, that we need only read the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke to be acquainted with all his ancestors. By birth he is a prince of the royal house of David; his ancestors are the patriarchs, the kings of Juda, the great captains of the people of God, the most illustrious among the sons of men. Yet this descendant of David was reduced to obscurity, and lived a poor and humble life.
The Evangelists would appear to give Joseph two fathers; but the contradiction is only apparent. St. Luke says he was the son of Heli, who, however, died childless; while St. Matthew calls him the son of Jacob, because, according to several commentators, Jacob, brother of Heli, espoused his sister-in-law Esta as the law of Moses commanded, by whom he had Joseph, who was thus the son of Jacob by nature, and the son of Heli according to the law.
The poverty of the family and the custom of the country obliged Joseph to learn a trade. We do not know positively if he worked in wood or in iron, since the holy Fathers are divided on this point. The more general opinion is, however, that he was a carpenter. St. Justin, in his dialogue with Triphon, adds that the Child Jesus acted as His adopted father's little apprentice, assisting him to make yokes and ploughs.
It is a pious belief of some authors that
Joseph was sanctified in his mother's womb
Suarez does not go so far. Still we must allow that the partisans of this opinion support it by solid reasons, which have a great appearance of truth.
There can be no doubt that this great Saint was a virgin. Cardinal St. Peter Damian affirms it so positively that he seems to make it an article of faith. Some learned authors even hold that by a special inspiration of God he made the vow of virginity. Such is the belief of the great chancellor Gerson, of St. Bernardin of Siena, of Suarez, and of several others. In any case we cannot doubt that he had lived a pure angelical life when he united himself by chaste bonds to the Virgin Mary, his one and only spouse.
A secret inspiration from Heaven caused
and Joseph to contract this alliance, while adoring in their hearts the
impenetrable counsel of the great God. Mary was in
her fifteenth year; the age of Joseph is not known so exactly, tradition being silent on the subject. The opinion that he was about eighty years old is without reasonable grounds, and is not held by theologians, the most esteemed of whom think that he was neither an old man nor a youth, but in the prime of life, between thirty and forty. There are many reasons in support of this opinion, which is now generally held.
Shortly after this virginal marriage had been celebrated with due solemnity, it pleased God to send the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, that he might announce to her the Mystery of the Incarnation, and explain to her that in becoming mother of her Creator, she should not cease to be a virgin: As the mystery was not at once revealed to St. Joseph, he was in sore perplexity, until the Angel of God appearing in a dream, reassured him, by explaining that the fruit of Mary was the work of the Holy Ghost.
The life of the two spouses in this angelic marriage resembled two stars, mutually enlightening each other by their gold and silver rays, without ever coming in contact.
Later, I shall speak of the happiness of this holy life, and with what plenitude of celestial favors God enriched this Divine household. For the moment, I shall content myself with showing how the dream of the first Joseph was verified in the second.
The former Joseph saw himself, in a dream, adored by the sun, the moon, and eleven stars. Only later on in Egypt did he understand this vision, when his father, his mother, and his brethren, prostrate at his feet, adored him as the savior of the land. The son of the patriarch Jacob was, however, only a type, destined to enhance the splendor of that other Joseph, whom God delighted to make so great, whom Jesus Christ the true Sun of Justice honors as His father, whom Our Lady, called in the Canticles beautiful as the moon, reveres as her lord and spouse, whom the Angels and Saints, who are the stars of heaven, venerate as foster. father and guide of that Infant God, Whose servants they esteem themselves happy to be.
The date of St. Joseph's death is uncertain; we know only that it took place before the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. What an entrancing sight to behold him expire, one hand in that of Jesus, the other in that of Our Lady; breathing forth his blessed spirit on the bosom of the Savior God! To die thus is not to lose life but to overcome death. Some authors believe, and with reason, that, Joseph was among those Saints who, on Ascension Day mounted up to Heaven, body and soul, with Jesus Christ. Who indeed deserved more to accompany Jesus in His triumph, than he who accompanied Him so lovingly in His exile in Egypt, and during the laborious pilgrimage of His holy life? We may therefore piously believe that as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived united upon earth, bearing the same sufferings, so they now t are reunited, body and soul, partaking the same glory. Such is the belief of the devout St. Bemardin of Siena, and even of Suarez, whose usual reserve gives great weight to his opinion in this case. It is true that faith teaches us nothing on this point; but devotion speaks loudly, and has on its side weighty reasons, and great authorities.
THE TITLES OF ST. JOSEPH AND HIS DIFFERENT OFFICES
IF one may judge of the greatness of the Saints by the importance of the charges confided to them, St. Joseph must indeed be marvelously great. St. Peter and St. Paul in their epistles to the first Christians, claim only two titles, those of servants and apostles of Jesus Christ, as being sufficient to prove the excellence of their vocation. St. John Chrysostom agrees with them, this double title being, according to him, more excellent than that of monarch of the whole earth. Now, St. Joseph has many very high titles, and held glorious offices for which he received from God special graces. I shall only allude shortly to some of these privileges.
1. He was the worthy spouse of Our Lady, if indeed any spouse could be worthy of her; for the Holy Trinity in designing him for such an honor, endowed him with all the qualities necessary for bearing that name with dignity and propriety. And as this glorious title is, so to speak, the original source or root from which proceeded all the glories of St. Joseph, St. Matthew considered he could say nothing higher of him than call him Spouse of Mary.
2. He was the supposed father of Jesus
and Our Lady did not hesitate to give him this title; thus when she
the Child Jesus in the temple. she said to Him:
"Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."
3. He was the representative of God the
Who, in communicating to him the honor of paternity to the Incarnate
willed that he should call Him by the name of
Son, a name which He alone gives in Heaven to the Uncreated Word. Thus God Who formerly had said He would give His glory to no one, now, by an exceptional favor communicates, in a manner, to a mortal that paternity which is the special glory of the Eternal Father. What is still more, God, according to St. John Damascene and St. Bernard, in giving to Joseph the name of father, gave him also a father's heart-----that is, the authority, the solicitude, and the love of a father.
4. Joseph was also the representative of the Holy Ghost, Who confided to him the Virgin Mary, placing His spouse under Joseph's dependence and direction. Great God! what a favor! The Father and the Holy Ghost intrust to him what is most dear to them! To what sublimity of virtue must he have attained to acquit himself worthily of such a charge!
5. Our Lady, in giving him her hand, gave him also her whole heart. Never did a wife love her husband so tenderly, so ardently, nor revere him more profoundly. Mary and Joseph, says St. Bernardin of Siena, were but one heart and soul; they were two in one same mind, one same affection, and each of them was the other's second self, because Our Lady and he were, so to speak, only one person. The heart of Mary with that of Joseph, and the heart of Joseph with that of Mary, who ever could imagine a union so intimate, a grace so great!
6. Joseph was the superior of Jesus and Mary, whose submission to him was so complete as to enrapture the Angels. Those pure spirits tremble in Heaven before the infinite majesty of the great God; what must they have thought when they saw Joseph command the little Jesus as a father, and the Divine Infant disport Himself on the breast of Joseph, like a bee in the bosom of a lily! As for the Queen of the world, as she had vowed, so she rendered to her chaste spouse all possible respect and obedience, never considering him otherwise, says Gerson, than as her lord and master. What a dignity to be the master of that Virgin more noble than the Seraphim!
7. He it was who nourished Jesus and
Mary. A true
father to that family, he gained their
bread by the labor of his hands, and the sweat of his brow. He led them into Egypt, acting in this mystery as the representative of the Most Holy Trinity. What an honor to nourish Him Who nourishes the whole world, to give bread to Him Who covers our fields with plentiful harvests!
8. He is called by the Abbot Rupert Guardian of the Child Jesus. Without an earthly father, his Divine Ward cast Himself into the arms of Joseph, His only protector, defender and support.
9. He was also the treasurer of the Savior, and of Joseph more than of any other may it be said: Blessed is the faithful and wise servant, whom God has established as grand master of His family, to whose hands He has committed all His treasures, the government of all His possessions. What confidence does not this office imply!
10. We do not hesitate to say that Joseph was the Savior of the Savior. Joseph, son of Jacob, was called the Savior of the world, and he was not only the type, in the first place, of Jesus Christ, but also of St. Joseph, who had the honor of preserving the Divine Infant from the fury of Herod. As Our Lord deserves the name of Savior of man, because He preserves man from eternal death, so it is allowable to call St. Joseph Savior of the Savior, because he preserved Him from temporal death. Glorious Saint to whom were entrusted the person of the Incarnate Word, and all the secrets of the Eternal Father! The Angel might himself have carried the Child into Egypt; but not daring to do so, he came as the messenger of Heaven and of God Himself, to Joseph who was chosen for that employment.
11. To these titles add another distinguished title, that of having been the Master of his Master. Jesus was like an apprentice in the workshop of Joseph, who taught him to work as a carpenter, so that everyone said of Jesus: "Is not this the carpenter's son, a carpenter Himself? Have we not often seen Him handling the plane and the chisel, helping His father Joseph?" What must St. Joseph have thought when he saw his Divine apprentice, taking pains at His work-----He Who by a single word had created the universe!
12. Joseph was the presumptive heir of Jesus Christ, and of Our Lady, since the father then naturally inherited from his son, and the husband from his wife. What an incomparable advantage!
13. In all orders of things great privileges are attached to being the eldest, the first. The first Apostle, the first Martyr, the first Seraph, the first son of the Patriarchs, all have special rights which belong to no others; therefore I conclude that St. Joseph has singular prerogatives above all other men, for he was the first to contemplate the admirable humanity of Our Lord Jesus, the first to adore Him, the first to touch Him, the first to serve Him, to nourish Him, and to dwell with Him, the first to hear Him speak and to be enlightened by His Divine instructions. He is the first confessor for the faith, since he first suffered for the love of Jesus Christ, forsaking his home and his country to fly with Him; the first Apostle making the Messias known to men, by announcing Him in Egypt; the first man, perhaps, who made profession and vow of virginity, and kept it in the state of marriage; in a word, the first Christian and the first model for the children of the Church. All these distinctions give Joseph. great pre-eminence over all other Saints, and are almost infinite, so that we may apply to him what Jacob said of his eldest son Reuben: "Excelling [his brethren] in gifts, greater in command."
14. Theologians teach that the office of St. Joseph was more exalted than any other in the Church. We do not speak of Our Lady, who is always above all comparison. They acknowledge, it is true, that in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and in the order of sanctifying grace, the office of the Apostles is the most sublime; but they recognize in the Mother of God, and in St. Joseph, an order, a hierarchy apart, that of the hypostatic union, destined to the immediate service of the person of the Word made flesh, and this second hierarchy is superior in dignity to the first. The Apostles, as we said above, are only the servants of Jesus Christ; Mary and Joseph are His mother and His father.
But shall I be able to relate all that God has done for St. Joseph? No; I plainly confess that there is neither mind, nor pen, nor tongue capable of imagining, writing, or expressing the grandeur and incomparable prerogatives of this spouse of the Virgin, this father of Jesus Christ, this governor of both! And yet, speak I must! Pardon, O great Saint, my unpardonable boldness! Yet, if your holy spouse, Our Lady, will deign to inspire me with a part of what she knows, if she will give fluency to my pen and warmth to my heart, I shall be able to say enough to content your pious clients, and edify your faithful servants.
THE NATURAL GIFTS OF ST. JOSEPH
IT is a fundamental law of the household of God, that when the Almighty makes choice of a man to accomplish any great work, He endows him with all the graces necessary to acquit himself with dignity and perfection of the office confided to him by infallible Providence. This principle is laid down by the Angelical Doctor, and is borrowed by him from St. Paul. Now, the Holy Trinity had from all eternity destined St. Joseph to be the spouse of the Mother of God, and the supposed father of the little Savior, and to fulfill towards Him all the obligations of real paternity: hence it follows that St. Joseph was endowed with all that was necessary for this double office. Oh that I were eloquent enough to give you a faint idea of the qualities necessary to be the worthy spouse of the Queen of Angels, the adopted father of the King of earth and Heaven! Truly, in him, as St. Gregory of Nazianzen says of St. Basil, nature had transformed itself into grace?
A Greek author said that he was tempted to believe in Pythagoras' system of the Tansmigration of souls, because it seemed to him that all beautiful souls had returned to earth to animate the body of this philosopher. This, indeed, was rashly and foolishly spoken. But we may truly say that all natural and moral virtues seem to have united their efforts to embellish the person of the great St. Joseph, and to enrich his soul.
When the first Joseph drove out of the palace of Pharaoh in a royal chariot, Scripture tells us that the people pressed around as he passed, to contemplate the magnificence of his person, and the beauty of his countenance. Indeed, Joseph appeared to be more like an Angel than like a man. Now, St. Bernard establishes a parallel between the two Josephs, which is entirely to the advantage of the second; and this cannot surprise us, because the latter, being appointed to an office infinitely more honorable than that of the former, must consequently possess far superior qualities and virtues. What virginal modesty appeared in his venerable countenance! what sweetness in his eyes! what gravity in his words! what wisdom and discernment in the manner he governed God's family, composed of only two persons, but whose value outweighed that of all creation!
When it pleases the King of kings to call a man to authority, He imprints on his brow a character of majesty which commands respect and obedience. We read in the first Book of Kings, that in the tribe of Benjamin there was a man called Cis. He had a son named Saul, a chosen and goodly man, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he; from his shoulders and upward he appeared above all the people. Such was the man whom God chose to be the first king of the Jewish nation. Tell me, then, what must have been the majesty of Joseph, to whom was given authority over the King and the Queen of the universe?
In the genealogy of Joseph, St. Matthew shows him to be descended in a direct line from fourteen patriarchs, beginning with Abraham, until David; from fourteen kings after David, until the transmigration of the Jews to Babylon; and from fourteen princes or chiefs of the people, after the transmigration of Babylon, until Jesus Christ. Why did the Holy Spirit inspire this long enumeration? Doubtless, among other reasons, to show that the descendant of so many great men was also the heir of their noble qualities and royal virtues. All the perfections distributed among so many princes were united in St. Joseph. The liberal hand of the Creator poured forth in profusion all qualities of body and soul upon this great Saint, so as to make him worthy of espousing the Queen of Angels and men, of being the supposed father of the little Messias, and of being teacher of the Divine apprentice, Who, during eighteen years, deigned to work under his direction in the humble workshop at Nazareth.
Were we to question the most holy Virgin about the graces of her spouse, she would, no doubt, reply in words borrowed from the Canticles: "My beloved spouse is white as snow by his virginal purity, red as scarlet by his modesty; chosen out of thousands. His head is as the finest gold; his eyes as doves upon brooks of waters which are washed with milk and set beside the plentiful streams; his hands shine like gold, full of the precious stones of all good works; his voice is full of sweetness; all the graces of nature are united in his face; he is beloved of heaven and earth."
To this portrait we shall only add one word, which Mary could not say, but which St. Bernardin has said for her. Joseph was the living image of his virgin spouse; they resembled each other like two pearls. Tell me what was the beauty of Mary, and I shall tell you what was that of Joseph. But we would do great injustice to our glorious Patriarch were we to imagine that his resemblance to his most chaste spouse was merely outward. "All the glory of the King's daughter is within." This may also be said of St. Joseph, as we shall see in the following chapters.
THE EMINENT GRACES OF ST. JOSEPH'S SOUL
ALL natural gifts are not to be compared in value to the value of one supernatural grace. What must then be the wealth of St. Joseph's soul! The graces without number which he received from Divine generosity are so stupendous that our feeble minds are unable to comprehend them, and it seems to me not to be one of the least glories of Our Lady to have had as spouse a man whom the hand of the Almighty had endowed with every virtue. For my part, I desire to lose myself in the incomprehensible grandeur of this great Saint, and after I have said all that can be said, to confess humbly that I have said nothing. For if it be true, as I have already established, that God apportions His gifts in proportion to the offices He imposes on man, so that he may support them with dignity, St. Joseph must have received such a prodigious abundance of Heavenly graces that we cannot contemplate them without holy fear. We shall now return to what we briefly alluded to in the first chapters, and shall derive there-----from conclusions very glorious for our Saint.
I. St. Joseph, Virgin.
In the first place, he was a virgin, so much that his virginal purity yielded in brilliancy and merit to that of the Queen of Virgins alone. What supreme graces he must have received to preserve this angelical virtue in an age which despised virginity, and to guard this delicate lily without the slightest taint or stain on its brilliant whiteness! According to the holy Fathers, he that preserves intact the treasure of virginity ranks higher than the Angels. To what a degree of holiness must not St. Joseph have attained, who was the first to preserve it in the state of marriage, and preserved it with such fidelity!
II. St. Joseph, guardian angel of
Secondly, Joseph was chosen from all eternity to be the visible guardian angel of the virginity of Our Lady. Must not, then, his soul have been armed with every virtue, and fortified by every assistance necessary for such a noble and admirable office? Consider what manner of man Joseph is! The Angels and Saints are only the servants of the glorious Virgin, while he is her guardian angel and her spouse. This title, to which we now only allude in passing, is far beyond the comprehension of our feeble intelligence for, husband and wife being but one heart and one soul, what must be the sovereign dignity of a man who, so to speak, is one with the most holy Mother of the living God!
St. Bernardin of Siena has boldly grasped this thought. He says that as the virginal marriage of Mary and Joseph consisted in the union of their wills, the friendship of their hearts, and the love of their souls increased to such a degree that there never were two hearts more completely identified, two souls more dissolved into one, and he adds that the Holy Spirit would never have formed this union without rendering the husband perfectly similar to the wife. It was beseeming that the likeness of these two suns should be so striking, that it would be difficult to distinguish one from the other. On one hand, the holiness of Our Lady outshines the holiness of all creatures; on the other hand, the holiness of Joseph is entirely alike the holiness of Mary. Later on we shall treat this subject more at length.
III. St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus.
Let us dwell a little on this title, "guardian of Jesus," so as to understand the eminence of St. Joseph's dignity. The learned and pious Rupert, of the Order of St. Benedict, says Jacob's ladder is a figure of the genealogy of Jesus Christ: the different steps being the patriarchs, the kings, the princes, his ancestors, and the upmost step being St. Joseph, who
stands with open arms to receive and embrace the Infant Messias, the Divine pupil, to Whom he must serve as guardian and father. To understand the importance of this office we must remember the words of St. Paul: "As long as the heir is a child he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father." Meanwhile his possessions and his person are disposed of without consulting him, and when the time of his majority arrives the master ratifies all, as if it had been done by himself.
Oh, reader, can you imagine such pre-eminence as that of St. Joseph? Our Lord said: "Blessed is the faithful and wise servant, for the Lord will place him over all His goods." What power: to have everything in his hands; to be accountable to no one! I wish I were equal to the task of treating this sublime subject and showing the significance of these words: "He has placed him over all His goods?" He is general administrator of all the goods of the Incarnate Word, with full power to distribute them to whom and when he pleases. Nay, as governor of His person, he can give God Himself to whom he pleases! Is not this to be exalted above men and Angels, and even, to a certain extent, above God Himself?
Consider now what follows from this with regard to the sanctity of Joseph. Since it was in his power to distribute the goods of Jesus to whom he would, can you doubt that he took for himself an abundance of all that was most precious?
When the Savior traversed the towns and villages of Judea, it sufficed to touch the hem of His garment in order to receive signal graces. My God, my Creator, with what innumerable graces must not Joseph have been enriched from the heart of the Divine Child, Whom he carried so often in his arms, lavishing on Him his kisses and caresses! When Jesus slept on the breast of the holy Patriarch, can you doubt that He communicated to him the sweetest and most ineffable graces? Perhaps He went to sleep in his arms, with the intention, while reposing on his breast, to communicate to him His favors, and to crown him with His mercies. If it be Paradise to contemplate the Eternal and Uncreated Word in the bosom of His father, is it not likewise Paradise to see the Word made flesh, now on the virginal bosom of Mary His mother, and now in the arms of His foster-father Joseph?
IV. Joseph living in the company of
Lastly, I say, that St. Joseph, true mirror of virginal purity, guardian angel of Our Lady, and protector of Jesus Christ, had the incomparable happiness of living, according to the general belief, twenty-five years in their sweet and holy company, and of having constantly before his eyes these models of perfection.
From all parts of the Christian world the pious faithful travel to St. Mary Major in Rome, to Loretto, to Montserrat, and other places of pilgrimage, where it pleases God to manifest the goodness and the power of His most holy Mother. These pious pilgrims feel the greatest confidence. They do not doubt that, praying humbly before the picture of Mary, painted by St. Luke, or before other images of Our Lady, honored in these sanctuaries, they will obtain all they ask for. But the chapel of Loretto was the house and ordinary habitation of Joseph, who needed not to make pilgrimages, or to seek for pictures and copies, having the original continually before his eyes. There he conversed sweetly with Mary, and recommended himself to her holy prayers. There she, who never rejects the least of her servants, certainly denied nothing to him. Think of what blessings the presence of such a spouse must have imparted to the heart of Joseph: while she looked at him, inflaming him with the kindling rays of her burning charity; while her blessed lips addressed him with words that might have entranced the hearts of men and of Angels, nay, of God Himself. As the devout pilgrim never fails to find Jesus in the sanctuaries of Mary; so, in the house of Nazareth, Joseph had Jesus always present with Mary, and saw, with his eyes, the Divine Child grow in age, in wisdom, and in grace, before God and men.
Who can describe what superabundance of divine blessings inundated the soul of this incomparable Saint! He, too, every day, and every moment, grew in grace and in virtue, enjoying without interruption what we may call the beatific vision, never ceasing to see God, and to be seen by Him. To see God, and to be regarded by Him cannot fail to produce a blessing, can never be without fruit. The burning rays of the sun gild all that is exposed to them; Jesus Christ, the sun of Paradise, Our Lady, the star of the Church, were as the planets which favored Joseph with their beneficent aspect, the sacred channels through which God the Father exerted His influence; how, then, could the soul of the great Patriarch fail to be illuminated with the splendors of the Saints, to overflow with the treasures of Divinity?
In ancient times, had one asked why a mine of, gold or silver was to be found in one place, pearls and diamonds in others; here, flowers of exquisite beauty, and there, fragrant balm; the answer would have been given, without more research, that a secret influence from heaven smiled upon that favored land Now, the eyes of the Eternal Father were ever resting on St. Joseph; the Holy Spirit was continually abiding in his soul; Jesus Christ regarded him with the love of a son; Our Lady's affection for him was unbounded; the Angels were devoted to him. How is it possible to imagine or describe the graces of this heart, the Heavenly blessings in the most pure soul of this peerless man?
Our Lord has said that if anyone love Him, he will be loved by the Father, and that both will come and make their abode in the breast of that man. Never was this promise verified more completely than in the innocent heart of Joseph, who, besides the general love common to all the servants of Jesus Christ, enjoyed the special love due to a guardian, a governor, a master, and a father.
Great were also the graces which Joseph
from his constant communion with his most holy spouse. His eyes were
directed towards her and Jesus, studying their
conduct, imitating, so to speak, their every action. He treasured up in his heart all the eminent perfections which he observed in theirs. Open the heart of Joseph, and you will find therein the faithful copies, the perfect imitations of the sublime virtues of his adopted son Jesus, and of his blessed spouse Mary. The hands of those who always work with balm become as odoriferous as if they themselves were made of balm.
I wish I could give as a fact what I have read in certain ancient authors, that nature has formed diamonds which, when exposed to the sun, emit rays so piercing, that they have the virtue of changing a piece of crystal into a diamond nearly as precious as themselves. Yet that which, in the order of nature, is but fiction, is found to be true in the order of grace. Joseph, pure as crystal, and constantly exposed to the rays emanating from Jesus and Mary, was as if transformed into a most excellent copy of the celestial beauties of both. O ineffable transformation! O new trinity of persons, and unity of hearts! Pardon me, great and amiable Saint, if I dare to speak of what is inexpressible; if I attempt to develop a part of your greatness. Enlighten my mind, fortify my heart, that I may proceed with a firm and unerring step on the path of thy praises.
THE TRUE MEASURE OF ST. JOSEPH'S GRACES
THE prophet Isaias says that the time
when, delivering a book to a man that is learned, one shall say to him,
Read this; and he shall answer, I cannot, for it is sealed. Whatever
be the signification of this mysterious book, does it not present to us
a glorious image of St. Joseph? God the Father wrote in his heart, as
a book, all the secrets of the Incarnation and of the hidden life of
Word made flesh; but this volume has remained so well sealed that,
many centuries, the most learned men in the Church knew almost nothing
of the immense world of graces and wonders contained in it. St. Teresa
of Jesus was one the first to read in this book some of the privileges
of the holy spouse of Our Lady; and this kindled in her heart a lively
desire to spread devotion to this great Patriarch among all the
Were it not for the seraphic reformer of Carmel, St. Joseph might still
perhaps be little known, and be honored by only a few privileged souls.
Joseph himself it was who kept the book of his own virtues sealed. He was so modest and humble that he hid from the sight of men the perfection of his actions, and the treasures of his soul. His was to all appearance but a common life. He spoke so little that in the whole of the Gospels you will not find one single word addressed by him, either to Jesus, or to his spouse, or to the Archangel Gabriel, or to any other person in the world. He was like that place in the Temple of Jerusalem, called the Holy of Holies, of which nothing was visible but the curtain concealing its glories. We are thus reduced to divine all that is written in this book, or to do like St. John, when, as he tells us in the fifth chapter of the Apocalypse, a similar book was presented to him. Being unable to read it, he began to weep so much
that he excited the pity of the Angels and of the Lamb, Who opened for him the mysterious
book, and communicated to him all its secrets. Alas! shall our devotion to this holy Patriarch ever become so great that it shall move him to compassion, and make him discover to us all the secrets bidden in his heart? Meanwhile, reader, if you desire to understand something of the glories of St. Joseph, you will, I think, in the following considerations, find the just measure by which to weigh them.
measure of the graces of St. Joseph: the title of "Father of Jesus."
The first measure by which to understand the graces and sanctity of Joseph, is his title of "Father of Jesus." Theologians teach that the more nearly a man is destined by his office to serve the Divine Person of the Incarnate Word, the more eminent must be the graces given to him for the worthy performance of that office. In the first chapter of the prophecy of Daniel, we read that the young Israelites chosen for the immediate service of King Nabuchodonosor, must be of the' king's seed, and of the princes, in whom there was no blemish, and well-favored . . . And the king appointed them daily provision of his own meat, and "of the wine which he drank himself, that, being nourished three years, afterwards they might stand before the king." Now, after Our Lady, no human being has been called to serve the Lord Jesus so nearly as St. Joseph, consequently none has a larger share than he in the graces of the Eternal Father. The sacred humanity of the Savior, being united hypostatically to the Divinity, has received a whole world of almost infinite graces; after Jesus comes His most holy Mother, who carried Him nine months in her virginal womb, and a thousand times in her arms; after Mary comes Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, and the guardian of His adorable person. No other Saint was called to the immediate service of the Word made flesh; consequently no other has received from God gifts proportionate to the dignity of this office. I know well that, as St. Anselm says, the ministry of the Apostles is the highest in the Church, and that the title of Apostle is even greater than that of precursor of Jesus Christ; but I say with Suarez, that the ministry of St. Joseph is of an order still higher and more perfect, and that Our Lady and St. Joseph form a hierarchy apart, superior to all the orders of the other Saints in the Church of God.
Who can understand how many graces were requisite to make St. Joseph worthy of the title of Father of Jesus, and to enable him to fulfill all its duties? So far as a man is capable of participating in the paternity of God the Father, so far was Joseph adorned and enriched with Heavenly graces; and this implies such an amount of greatness, that God alone can know its weight and measure. If, in Solomon's Temple, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, everything was to be covered with gold, what graces must have gilded the soul, the heart, the breast of this holy man, the living throne of the living God, in whose arms reposed the Lord of all the Angels! That a man should go to "sleep in the Lord" is indeed precious, but that God should go to sleep on the bosom of a man, surpasses all human comprehension.
Origen is of opinion that when Jesus said
"Woman, behold thy son," His word produced the effect that St. John
for His Mother, another Himself, as if He had said: "My Mother, behold
your Jesus, to Whom you gave birth." In the same manner, when God the
said to Jesus: "My son, behold Joseph; he will be your father," it is
if He said: "Joseph is for you, another Myself." And so it was; for,
Abbot Rupert, at the same time that God formed the body of His Son from
the most pure blood of the Virgin, He infused into the heart of Joseph
His own paternal love, in order that the latter might be for the
Word upon earth, what He Himself is to the Uncreated Word in eternity.
Now it is much more glorious to be the adopted father of Jesus Christ,
than to be the adopted son of Our Lady, whence it follows that we are
to recognize in Joseph a dignity, not
merely superior to that of the beloved disciple, but an almost infinite dignity, since he is like another Eternal Father in this world. The Angel of the Schools does not hesitate to call Divine maternity an infinite dignity. Why, then, should we not say that the paternity of Joseph approaches the infinite, since, after her who really is the Mother of God, there is none greater than he to whom God communicated His paternity, and whom Jesus Christ many thousand times called by the name of father? Thus, when the Infant God said, "My father," one could not tell if He spoke to God His Father, or to Joseph His father. Oh, what happy equivalent! what glorious parallel, by which Joseph is, in a manner, compared to the Eternal Father, in spite of the infinite distance there is between them! Must not the heart of this
godlike man have been ready to burst in his breast, to melt with tenderness, when, holding the hand of the Infant Jesus, he said to Him, "My Son;" or when the Divine Child, with
innocent flattery, named him His father?
What is the meaning of those words in
"God created man after His own image, and clothed him with strength
to Himself; adorning him with virtues and divine splendors?" Taking
literally, they are only an explanation of God's words in the first
of Genesis: "Let us make man to our image and likeness." Thus they
to man in general, and consequently to each man, and we must allow that
they incomparably exalt his dignity. Nevertheless, I believe that I
into your thoughts, reader, when I apply them, in a special manner, to
our glorious Patriarch. What man indeed was ever so well formed to the
image and likeness of God the Father, as the adopted father of Jesus?
not you see in Joseph an image of God, a resemblance with God, which
alone to this friend of God, and is shared by no one else? Nothing
such a resemblance to the Father, with the Uncreated Word in His bosom,
as Joseph, carrying the Incarnate Word in his arms and on his heart!
Christ, speaking of His Heavenly Father, says: "I and the Father are
These words we may apply to St. Joseph: he and Jesus are truly one.
Since it is certain that Joseph participated in Divine paternity, what an honor it is for him to have a union so intimate with God the Son, and with God the Father a communion of property in what is incommunicable! Suppose for a moment that the Father and the Son had entered into a holy rivalry to adorn and enrich the heart arid soul of St. Joseph. The Father wills that nothing shall be wanting to him who is to be the father of His Son. The Son would wish to give even more to him who is to be His father. Who will be the conqueror in this Divine contest? The Eternal Father or the Eternal Word?
There is still another thought that strikes me. God the Father having chosen St. Joseph to govern His only Son in His place and in His name, well knew that without special assistance no mere mortal could acquit himself worthily of such a noble and difficult task. Therefore he took up his abode in the heart of Joseph in order personally to direct His Son Jesus through the ministry of this man after His own heart. The Lord also commanded Moses to go before Pharao, saying: "I will be in thy mouth, and I will teach thee what thou shalt speak." If God willed to be in the mouth of His servant Moses to speak with an earthly king, can you wonder that He should put Himself into the heart of Joseph in order to govern, along with him, His own Son? What a source of the most precious gifts must not this intimate presence of God the Father have been for the adopted father of Jesus! What an ocean of graces must He not have poured into that holy soul! What torrents of lights shed upon Joseph's mind! What fire kindled in his heart! and all this was done on account of the Infant Messias, Whom Joseph was called upon to direct, to defend, to nourish, and to instruct in all things.
measure of the graces of St. Joseph: the title of "Spouse of Mary."
The second measure of the graces and sanctity of St. Joseph is his dignity of Spouse of Our Lady. According to St. John Damascene the dignity of Spouse of Mary is one so elevated that no human eloquence can express it. Neither is it possible worthily to celebrate the greatness of St. Joseph without understanding that of his holy Spouse, who is the Queen of the Saints and the Angels, and the Mother of God. Who, then, is to form a true idea of the dignity of St. Joseph,-----as also of the graces he holds in consequence of that dignity?
St. Bernardin of Siena says that the virginal marriage of Mary and Joseph was only contracted on earth after having been decided in Heaven, and that these two spouses were perfectly worthy one of the other. Mary surpassed all men and Angels in the sovereign plenitude of her graces; therefore it was necessary that, after her, Joseph should be the most holy human being that existed, that had ever existed, or that should ever exist upon earth. Or is it possible to believe that Heaven contains any servant of Mary more eminent in holiness than he who has the honor of being her spouse, her lord, and her master? And let us even suppose that Joseph had not been enriched with the most precious gifts of Heaven before he espoused the most holy Virgin: what must she not afterwards have asked God for her spouse; what innumerable graces must not she have obtained for him! For if St. Bernard be right in asserting that no grace comes down from Heaven to earth but through the munificent hands of the Mother of God; if there be no kind of celestial blessing which she has not obtained for one or the other of her servants; must we not believe that she will have done more for her spouse and the guardian angel of her virginity than for all other human beings?
Here is a beautiful thought which I borrow from St. Gregory of Nazianzen, and which applies perfectly to our subject. This great Bishop tells us that his sister, St. Gorgonia, had a husband whom she loved like her own self; and knowing from the Holy Scriptures that husband and wife are not two, but one, she desired ardently that her husband should serve the Lord as she herself did, lest she should find herself constrained to belong to God only by halves. Now, there never were two hearts, two souls more united than those of Mary and Joseph ; nor could this faithful Virgin ever remain satisfied with rendering half service to God. Therefore she used every endeavor that her other half, St. Joseph, should be supremely exalted in all sorts of perfections. To use St. Gregory's own words, she intensely desired that her spouse should be perfect, in order that no part of herself should remain imperfect. Certainly Mary did everything to secure this object: she sighed, she prayed. And can you believe that Jesus could refuse anything which His tender Mother asked for His beloved father? Each day, then, the treasure of graces in Joseph's soul visibly grew; each day his sanctity increased, and the charity of his heart grew more ardent. What, indeed, could he not hope for, having His spouse as advocate, His son as arbitrator, and God the Father as protector!
Such then are the two principal titles by
we must measure the graces and sanctity of Joseph. Such are the two
sources, or rather the two majestic rivers which watered and enriched
soul. Never shall we fully understand the perfections of the adopted
of Jesus, the holy Spouse of Mary.
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During this Christmastide there is need of more reparation than ever. Not only is the Holy Family disparaged in a documentary but there is also an especially grotesque depiction of Their Image by an artist who is a member of a religious order. Since this particular work of "art" is as almost bad as it can get-----that is the Holy Family is at least clothed-----I cannot in good conscience render insult to Heaven anew by displaying this hideous picture here. Suffice it to say that the Holy Family is shown to have various shades of light royal blue skin, monkey-like facial features and large hands and feet, so large as to be disproportionate, thus, one's attention is drawn to these garish blue extremities in the extreme. This image reportedly has commercial value and is being used for liturgical purposes in some dioceses.
I know nothing of the interior faith life of the artist, but even the least skilled artisan with the true faith and a traditional devotional life ought to be able to portray Our Divine Lord and His Holy Mother and Dear Foster-Father in a manner that is in a dignified setting with recognizably human features. The image which I describe is not even of good cartoon quality [if it were it would still require reparation], if this was the purpose, although I suspect not.
ADAPTED FROM THE RACCOLTA: 275
The text is red was added by the Web Master.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of loving Holy Church, as we are bound to do, above every earthly thing, and of ever showing forth our love by the witness of our deeds.
In reparation for the undignified and garish depiction of Thee, we say:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of openly professing, as we are bound to do, with courage and without human respect, the faith that we received of Thy gift in holy Baptism.
In reparation for the public display of so disparaging a depiction of Thee, we say:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of sharing, as we are bound to do, in the defense and propagation of the Faith, when duty calls, whether by word or by the sacrifice of our fortunes and our lives.
In reparation for the lack of outrage at so loathsome a portrait of Thee, we say:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of loving one another in mutual charity, as we are bound to do, and establish us in perfect harmony of thought, will and action, under the rule and guidance of our holy Pastors.
In reparation for the lack in so many churches of a truly reverent and wholesome portrait of Thee, we say:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless us and grant us the grace of conforming our lives fully, as we are bound to do, to the commandments of God's law and that of His holy Church, so as to live always in that charity which they set forth.
In reparation for the willful promotion of such a repugnant picture of Thee, we say:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen (Roman Missal)
Daily Devotions to St. Joseph
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
with Imprimi Potest and Imprimatur, 1962
The Prayer To Be Said Every Day
Reflections For Each Day:
Prayer To Be Said Every Day After Each Day's Special Reflection
Most holy patriarch, St. Joseph, I rejoice at the great dignity to which thou hast been raised in being made foster father of the Son of God, endowed with authority to command Him Whom Heaven and earth obey.
My holy patron, since Jesus Himself respected and served thee as His father, I, too, wish to enroll myself in thy service. I choose thee, after Mary, for my principal advocate and protector. I promise to honor thee every day with some special devotion, and each day I will place myself under thy protection.
As thou didst enjoy the sweet company of Jesus and Mary during thy life on earth, grant that I may ever live close to them and never be separated from God by losing His grace. And as thou wert assisted by Jesus and Mary at the hour of thy death, so grant me protection at the hour of my death, that, dying in thy presence and that of Jesus and Mary, I may one day go to thank thee in Paradise, and in thy company praise and love God for all eternity. Amen.
St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, protect us. Protect our Holy Father, the Pope, and our Mother, Holy Church.
God, because of the great love He bears us, and His great desire to see us saved, has given us among other means of salvation the practice of devotion to the Saints. It is His will that they, who are His friends, should intercede for us, and by their merits and prayers obtain graces for us which we ourselves do not deserve.
But everyone must know that, after the Mother of God, St. Joseph is, of all the Saints, the one dearest to God. He has, therefore, great power with Him and can obtain graces for His devout clients. Let us then frequently say:
St. Joseph, give me the greatest confidence in thy powerful intercession.
We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father. "Christ," says Origen, "gave to Joseph the honor due to a parent." The Holy Scriptures speak of him as the father of Jesus. "His father and mother were marveling at the things spoken concerning Him" (Luke 2:33). Mary also used this name: "in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee" (Luke 2:48 ). If, then, the King of Kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to endeavor to honor him as much as we can.
St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to thy service forever. Protect me all the days of my life.
The example of Jesus Christ, Who wished to honor St. Joseph so much, and to be subject to him on earth, ought to inflame all with a fervent devotion toward this great Saint. Since the Eternal Father shared His Own authority with St. Joseph, Jesus always regarded him as a father, and respected and obeyed him for thirty years. St. Luke says He "was subject to them" (Luke 2:51). These words mean that during all this time the sole occupation of the Redeemer was to obey Mary and Joseph. To St. Joseph, as head of the little family, belonged the office of commanding, and to Jesus as a subject, the duty of obedience. Hence, a learned author has justly said: "Men should pay great honor to him whom the King of Kings wished to raise to such a height."
St. Joseph, by the obedience which Jesus rendered to thee, make me always obedient to the will of God.
St. Bernardine of Siena says that we should be persuaded that Our Lord, Who respected St. Joseph on earth as His father, will refuse Him nothing in Heaven; but on the contrary, will most abundantly grant His petitions. Jesus Himself advised St. Margaret of Cortona to cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, and never to allow a day to pass without rendering some homage to him as His foster father. Let us not, then, fail to recommend ourselves each day to St. Joseph and to ask him for graces.
St. Joseph, make me faithful in invoking thee daily.
All the faithful should be devoted to St. Joseph in order to obtain the grace of a good death, and this for three reasons. 1. Because Jesus Christ loved him not only as a friend, but as a father, and, therefore, his intercession is more powerful than that of the other Saints. 2. Because Our Lord, in return for having saved Him from Herod, has given St. Joseph the special privilege of protecting the dying against the snares of the devil. 3. Because St. Joseph, who died in the company of Jesus and Mary, is the model of a holy death and can obtain this grace for his clients.
St. Joseph, obtain for me that, like thee, I may die in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
According to St. John Damascene: "God gave St. Joseph the love, the care, and the authority of a father over Jesus. He gave him the affection of a father that he might guard Him with great love; the solicitude of a father, that he might watch over Him with care; and the authority of a father that he might feel sure that he would be obeyed in all that he arranged concerning this Son."
St. Joseph, be always a father to us; and grant that we may be always thy faithful children.
When God, destines anyone for a particular office, He gives him the graces that fit him for it. Therefore, since God chose St. Joseph to fill the office of father over the person of the Incarnate Word, we must certainly believe that he conferred upon him all the sanctity which belonged to such an office. Gerson says that among other privileges Joseph had three which were special to him. 1. That he was sanctified in his mother's womb, as ere Jeremias and St. John the Baptist. 2. That he was at the same time confirmed in grace. 3. That he was always exempt from the inclinations of concupiscence-----a privilege with which St. Joseph by the merit of his purity, favors his devout clients by delivering them from carnal appetites.
St. Joseph, shining light of chastity, preserve the angelic virtue in me.
In the Gospels St. Joseph is called "just." What is meant by a just man? St. Peter Chrysologus says: "It means a perfect man-----one who possesses all virtues." Joseph was already holy before his marriage; but how much must his sanctity have increased after his union with the Blessed Virgin? The example of his holy spouse sufficed to sanctify him; and since Mary is the dispenser of all the graces which God grants to men, in what profusion must she not have showered them down upon her spouse, who she loved so much and by whom she was so tenderly loved!
St. Joseph, increase my devotion to Mary.
The two disciples, going to Emmaus were inflamed with Divine love by the few moments which they spent in company with our Savior, and by His words. What flames of holy love must not, then, have been enkindled in the heart of St. Joseph, who for thirty years conversed with Jesus Christ, and listened to His words of eternal life; who observed the perfect example which Jesus gave of humility and patience, and saw the promptness with which He obeyed and helped him in his labors, and all that was needed for the household!
St. Joseph, inflame us with the love of Jesus.
St. Paul writes that in the next life Jesus Christ "will render to every man according to His works" (Rom. 2:6). What great glory must we not suppose that He has bestowed upon St. Joseph, who served and loved Him so much while He lived on earth! Our Lord has promised a reward to him who gives a cup of cold water to the poor in His name. What, then, must be the reward of St. Joseph, who can say to Jesus Christ: "I not only provided Thee with food, with a dwelling, and with clothes, but I saved Thee from death, delivering Thee from the hands of Herod."
St. Joseph, increase our zeal for growing in holiness by the hope of eternal reward.
We must believe that the life of St. Joseph, spent in the presence of Jesus and Mary, was a continual prayer, abounding in acts of faith, confidence, love, resignation, and oblation. Since, then, the reward of the Saints corresponds to their merits during life, consider how great must be the glory of St. Joseph in Heaven. St. Augustine compares the other Saints to the stars, but St. Joseph to the sun.
It is, then, very reasonable to suppose that St. Joseph, after Mary, surpasses all the other Saints in merit and glory. The Venerable Bernardine de Bustis says that when St. Joseph asks any grace for those who are devoted to him, his prayers have in a certain manner the force of a command with Jesus and Mary.
St. Joseph, obtain for us a great spirit of prayer.
To prove the power which St. Joseph possesses in Paradise, St. Bernardine of Siena writes thus: "We cannot doubt that Christ accords to St. Joseph, now that he is in Heaven, even more perfectly the respect and reverence which He paid to him on earth. Our Lord, Who on earth revered St. Joseph as His father, will certainly deny him nothing that he asks in Heaven." Let us then say to him with confidence:
St. Joseph, powerful protector of souls, keep us from all sin.
Oh great St. Joseph, since God has served thee, I also wish to enroll myself in thy service. I wish henceforth to serve thee, to honor and love thee. Take me under thy protection and dispose of me as thou pleasest. My holy St. Joseph, pray to Jesus for me. Having obeyed all thy commands on earth, He will certainly never refuse anything thou doth ask Him. Tell Him to pardon me the offenses that I have committed against Him. Tell Him to detach me from creatures and from myself. Ask Him to inflame me with His holy love.
St. Joseph, watch over us, thy children.
Most holy patriarch, now that thou art on a lofty throne in Heaven near thy beloved Jesus, Who was subject to thee on earth, have pity on me, who am exposed to the attacks of so many enemies, to the evil spirits, and the passions that continually strive to rob me of the grace of God. Through the grace given to thee on earth of enjoying the continual society of Jesus and Mary, obtain for me the grace of living during the remaining days of my life united to God, by resisting the attacks of Hell. Grant, too, that I may die with the love of Jesus and Mary in my heart so that I may be able one day to enjoy with thee their company in the kingdom of Heaven.
St. Joseph, grant me a horror of sin and the grace to conquer my passions.
St. Bernard, speaking of St. Joseph's power of dispensing graces to his devout servants, makes use of the following remarkable words: "To some of the Saints power is granted to succor us in particular necessities; but to St. Joseph power is granted to succor in all necessities, and to defend all those who, with devotion have recourse to him." Let us then often say to him:
St. Joseph, help us when we are in need.
St. Teresa says: "I do not remember to have asked any favor from St. Joseph which he did not grant. An account of the many graces which God has bestowed upon me, and of the dangers, corporal and spiritual, from which He has delivered me through this Saint would excite wonder. The Lord appears to have given power to the other Saints to assist us in a single necessity; but experience shows that St. Joseph gives aid in all. The Lord gives us to understand that, as He was to be subject to St. Joseph on earth, so in Heaven He does whatever the Saint asks."
St. Joseph, obtain for me the grace of perseverance in prayer.
St. Teresa also writes: "I would wish to persuade all the world to be devoted to St. Joseph, because I have long experience of the great favors which he obtains from God. I have never known any soul especially devoted to him that did not always advance in virtue. I ask, for God's sake, that they who do not believe me will at least make a trial of this devotion. I cannot believe that favors are not grant ed to St. Joseph in return for the help which he gave on earth to Jesus and Mary."
St. Joseph, patron of the interior life, lead me to that perfection which God requires of me.
Let us ask St. Joseph for the grace to love our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the particular grace which St. Joseph obtains for those who are devout to him-----a tender love toward the Incarnate Word. The Saint merited the power to bestow this grace upon his servants by the great love which he himself bore toward Jesus while he lived on earth.
St. Joseph, make me love Jesus with all my heart.
When Jesus lived in this world in the house of St. Joseph, could a sinner who desired to obtain forgiveness from Our Lord have found a more efficacious means of obtaining pardon than through St. Joseph? If, then, we desire to receive the forgiveness of our sins, let us have recourse to St. Joseph who, now that he is in Heaven, is more loved by Jesus Christ than he was loved by Him on earth.
St. Joseph, obtain from Jesus the pardon of my sins.
"And Joseph also went from Galilee out of the town of Nazareth into Judea to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem" (Luke 2:4). In response to the decree of Caesar Augustus, St. Joseph made the long journey across the hills from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, who bore beneath her heart the Incarnate Son of God. What sweet conversations must Mary and Joseph have held on this journey on the mercy of God in sending His Son into the world to redeem the human race, and on the love of this Son in coming into this valley of tears in order to atone by His suffering and death for the sins of men!
St. Joseph, I wish to belong entirely to thee, so that through thee I may belong entirely to Jesus and Mary.
"And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for her to be delivered were fulfilled. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:6-7). How great must have been the sorrow of St. Joseph when he could find no shelter for Mary on the night of the birth of the Divine Word, and was obliged to bring her to a stable! How his heart must have been pierced with anguish to see his holy spouse, who was pregnant, and near the time of childbirth, trembling with cold in that damp cave, which was open on every side.
Dear St. Joseph, through the pain which thou didst feel in seeing the Divine Word born in a stable, so poor, without fire, without clothes, and in hearing the cries caused by the cold which afflicted Him, I pray thee to obtain for me a true sorrow for my sins, by which I have drawn tears from Jesus.
St. Joseph, penetrate my heart with contrition and obtain for me the grace never to sin again.
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger" (Luke 2 : 7). How great must have been the joy of St. Joseph when he heard Mary calling him and saying "Joseph, come, and adore our infant God, Who is just born in this cave. Behold how beautiful He is. Look at the King of the world in this manger, on this straw. See how He, Who makes the seraphs burn with love, trembles with cold. Behold how He Who is the joy of paradise weeps!" Dear St. Joseph, through the joy which thou didst receive at the first sight of the infant Jesus in the crib, so beautiful and lovely that thy heart began from that moment to beat with love for Him alone, obtain for me also the grace to love Jesus with an ardent love on earth so that I may one day go to enjoy Him in Heaven.
St. Joseph, share with me a little of the burning love that thou didst bear to Jesus.
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will" (Luke 2: 14). Consider how great was the love and tenderness of St. Joseph when he beheld with his own eyes the Son of God become an infant; when he heard the Angels singing around their newborn Lord, and saw the stable filled with light. Kneeling down and weeping with love and compassion, Joseph said: "I adore Thee, yes I adore Thee, my Lord and my God. How great is my happiness to be the first, after Mary, to see Thou born, and to know that in this world Thou wisheth to be called and reputed my Son! Allow me, then, also to call Thee my Son, and to say: My God and my Son, to Thee I consecrate my whole being. My life shall be no longer mine, but shall be Thine without reserve!"
St. Joseph, grant that I may spend my life, like thee, in the service of God.
"An Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, Arise, and take the child and His mother and flee into Egypt" (Matt. 2:13). Consider the ready obedience of St. Joseph, who raised no doubts about the time of the journey, nor about the manner of traveling, nor about the place in Egypt in which they were to stay, but immediately prepared to set out. He instantly makes known to Mary the command of the Angel, and on the same night sets out without guide on a journey of 400 miles through mountains, across rugged roads and deserts.
My holy protector, obtain for me the grace of perfect obedience to the Divine will.
How much St. Joseph must have suffered on the journey into Egypt in seeing the sufferings of Jesus and Mary! Their food must have been a piece of hard bread. They could have slept only in some poor hut, or in the open air. Joseph was indeed conformed in all things to the will of the Eternal Father, but his tender and loving heart could not but feel pain in seeing the Son of God trembling and weeping from cold and the other hardships which He experienced.
St. Joseph, obtain for me the grace that in my journey to eternity I may never lose the company of Jesus and Mary.
"The boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it" (Luke 2:43). How great was the pain of St. Joseph when Jesus was lost in the temple! Joseph was accustomed to the enjoyment of the sweet presence of his beloved Savior. What, then, must have been his sorrow when he was deprived of it for three days, without knowing whether he should evermore find Jesus, and most painful of all, without knowing why he had lost Him. How great, on the other hand, was Joseph's joy when he found Jesus and realized that the absence of the Child did not arise from any neglect on his part, but from a zeal for the glory of the Father.
St. Joseph, through the merits of the pains which thou didst suffer at losing Jesus, obtain for me tears to weep always for my sins.
"He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (Luke 2:51). Reflect on the holy life which Joseph led in the company of Jesus and Mary. In that family there was no business except that which tended to the greater glory of God; there were no thoughts or desires except the thought and desire of pleasing God; there were no discourses except on the love which men owe to God, and which God has shown to men, especially in sending His only begotten Son into the world to suffer and to end His life in a sea of sorrows and insults for the salvation of mankind.
St. Joseph, through the tears which thou didst shed in contemplating the future passion of Jesus, obtain for me a continual remembrance of the suffering of my Redeemer.
Consider the love which St. Joseph bore to Mary, his holy spouse. She was the most beautiful of all women. She was more humble, more meek, more pure, more obedient, more inflamed with the love of God, than all the Angels and than all men that have been or shall be created. Hence, she merited all his love. Add to this his realization of the love that she bore for him, and the fact that God had chosen her as His beloved Mother.
St. Joseph, obtain for me a great love for Mary, thy most holy spouse.
Consider the love which Joseph bore to Jesus. This love was not purely human. like the love of other fathers, but superhuman; for he loved Jesus not only as his son but also as his God. Joseph knew from the Angel that his child was the Divine Word Who had become man to save mankind. He realized, too, that he himself had been chosen from among all men to be the protector and guardian of this Divine Infant. What a flame of holy love must, then, have been enkindled in the heart of Joseph by reflecting on all these things, and by the sight of his Lord obeying him like a little boy, opening and closing the door, helping him to saw or to plane, gathering fragments of wood, or sweeping the house!
St. Joseph, remove from my heart all that could be an obstacle to the love of God.
"Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones" (Ps. 115:6). After having faithfully served Jesus and Mary, St. Joseph reached the end of his life in the house at Nazareth. There, surrounded by Angels, assisted by Jesus Christ the King of Angels, and by Mary, his spouse, who placed themselves at each side of his poor bed, filled with the peace of Paradise, he departed from this miserable life. Who shall ever be able to understand the sweetness, the consolation, the blessed hope, the acts of resignation, the flames of charity which the words of eternal life coming alternately from the lips of Jesus and Mary, breathed into the soul of Joseph at the end of his life?
St. Joseph, grant me peace and resignation to God's will at the hour of my death.
Great, indeed, will be the comfort of those, who, at the hour of death shall be protected by St. Joseph. For this great Saint has received from God power to command the devils and to drive them away, less they tempt his servants in their dying moments. Happy is the soul that shall be assisted by this great advocate, who, on account of having died with the assistance of Jesus and Mary, and because of having preserved the infant Jesus from the danger of death by his flight into Egypt, has received the privilege of being the patron of a good death, and of delivering his clients from the danger of eternal death.
St. Joseph, defend me from the attacks of the devils at the last moment of my life.
LITANY TO ST. JOSEPH FOR THE DYING: GRAPHIC VERSION
THE LITANY, TEXT ONLY IS FOUND ON THE PRECEDING PAGE.
The Thirty Days Prayer to Saint Joseph
Chaste Spouse of the
ever Immaculate and Blessed Virgin Mary,
and Foster Father of Jesus Christ
To obtain a happy death and other good intentions
EVER blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and indulgent father, and compassionate friend of all in sorrow, through that bitter grief with which thy heart was saturated when thou didst behold the sufferings of the Infant Saviour, and in thy prophetic view didst contemplate His most ignominious Passion and death, take pity, I beseech thee, on my poverty and necessities; counsel me in my doubts, and console me in all my anxieties. Thou art the good father and protector of orphans, the advocate of the defenseless, the patron of those who are in need and desolation. Do not, then, disregard the petition of thy poor child; my sins have drawn down upon me the just displeasure of my God, and hence I am surrounded with sorrows. To thee, O amiable guardian of the poor neglected family of Nazareth, do I fly for shelter and protection.
Listen then, I entreat of thee, with a father's solicitude, to the earnest prayer of thy poor supplicant! and obtain for me the objects of my petition.
I ask it, by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which induced Him to assume our nature, and be born into this world of sorrow. I ask it by the grief which filled thy heart when, ignorant of the mystery wrought in thy Immaculate Spouse, thou didst fear thou shouldst be separated from her.
I ask it by that weariness, solicitude and suffering which thou didst endure when thou soughtest in vain at the inns of Bethlehem a shelter for the Sacred Virgin, and a birthplace for the Infant God, and when, being everywhere refused, thou wert obliged to consent that the Queen of Heaven should give birth to the world's Redeemer in a wretched stable. I ask it by that most sad and painful duty imposed on thee, when, the Divine Child being eight days old, thou wert obliged to inflict a deep wound on His tender Body, and thus be the first to make flow that Sacred Blood which was to wash away the sins of the world. I ask it by the sweetness and power of that sacred Name, Jesus, which thou didst confer on the adorable Infant. I ask it by that mortal anguish inflicted on thee by the prophecy of. holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother the future victims of their love and our sins.
I ask it through that sorrow and anguish which filled thy soul when the Angel declared to thee that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies, from whose impious designs thou wert obliged to fly with Him and His blessed Mother into Egypt. I ask it by all the pains, fatigues and toils of that long and perilous pilgrimage. I ask it by all the sorrows thou didst endure, when in Egypt thou wert not able, even by the sweat of thy brow, to procure poor food and clothing for thy most poor family. I ask it by all the grief thou didst feel each time the Divine Child asked for a morsel of bread, and thou hadst it not to give Him. I ask it by all thy solicitude to preserve the sacred Child and the Immaculate Mary, during thy second journey, when thou wert ordered to return to thy native country.
I ask it by thy peaceful dwelling in Nazareth, in which so many joys and sorrows were mingled. I ask it by the extreme affliction in being deprived three days of the company of the adorable Child. I ask it by thy joy at finding Him in the Temple and by the ineffable consolation imparted to thee in the cottage of Nazareth, with the company and society of the little Jesus. I ask it by that wonderful condescension by which He subjected Himself to thy will.
I ask it through that dolorous view, continually in thy mind, of all thy Jesus was to suffer. I ask it by that painful contemplation, which made thee foresee the Divine little hands and feet, now so active in serving thee, one day to be pierced with cruel nails; that head which rested gently on thy bosom, crowned with sharp thorns; that delicate body, which thou didst tenderly fold in thy mantle and press to thy heart, stripped and extended on a cross. I ask it by that heroic sacrifice of thy will and best affection, by which thou didst offer up to the eternal Father the last awful moment, when the Man-God was to expire for our salvation.
I ask it by that perfect love and conformity with which thou didst receive the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by that exceeding great joy which filled thy soul when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the, possession of His kingdom, and conducted thee also into it with especial honors.
I ask it through Mary's glorious assumption, and through that interminable bliss which, with her, thou wilt eternally derive from the presence of God.
O good Father! I beseech thee by all thy sufferings, sorrows and joys, to hear me and to obtain the grant of my earnest petitions.
(Here name them or reflect on them)
Obtain for all those who have asked thy prayers all that is useful to them in the designs of God; and finally, my dear protector, be thou with me and all who are dear to me, in our last moments, that we may eternally chant the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen.
The Holy Cloak Novena
There are small relics of Our Lady's veil and the cloak worn by
St. Joseph. They can be viewed HERE on the web, an external
This novena in honor of Saint Joseph's is called the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph, a particular and special way to merit the patronage of this great Saint while also rendering honor to him.
It is to be recited on thirty consecutive days in memory of the thirty years St. Joseph spent in the company of Jesus Christ, Son of God. If for some reason you cannot recite the prayer on a particular day, you may make up for it by reciting it on the 30th day as many times as the recitation was missed.
The extraordinary graces obtained by this prayer are innumerable. In fact, St. Theresa said: "If you really want to believe in it, prove it to yourself by reciting the Novena and you will be finally convinced."
It is most efficacious to say a prayer for the Souls in Purgatory.
With the same solicitude that we help dry the tears of the suffering souls, so to can we hope that St. Joseph will help dry our tears in our necessities. In this way, St. Joseph's Holy Cloak will spread itself over us and will serve as a shield against all those dangers which beset us so that we may all one day, with the grace of God, obtain eternal salvation.
Our Lord and Our Lady invite us to love and honor and pray to St. Joseph:
Jesus himself said to St. Margaret, "I wish that every day you offer special prayers to My mother and St. Joseph, My most sweet guardian." The Blessed Mother said to the Venerable Dagreda, "You must see to it that you continually increase your love and devotion to this great Saint. In all your necessities, you must avail yourself of his protection, under all circumstances you must encourage as many people as possible toward this devotion . . . for indeed, whatever my devoted spouse requests in Heaven, the Almighty God will grant on Earth."
PRAYERS FOR THE NOVENA OF THE HOLY CLOAK
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
O Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, I humbly prostrate myself before Thee. I beg the Lord Jesus, thine Immaculate Spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the Angels and Saints in the Heavenly Court, to join me in this devotion. I offer thee this precious cloak, while pledging my sincerest faith and devotion. I promise to do all in my power to honor thee throughout my lifetime to prove my love for thee.
Help me, St. Joseph. Assist me now and throughout my lifetime, but especially at the moment of my death, as thou wert assisted by Jesus and Mary, that I may join thee one day in Heaven and there honor thee for all eternity. Amen.
O Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, prostrate, before thee and thy Divine Son, Jesus, I offer thee, with heartfelt devotion, this precious treasury of prayers, being ever mindful of the numerous virtues which adorned thy sacred person. In thee, O Glorious Patriarch, was fulfilled the dream of thy precursor the first Joseph, who indeed seemed to have been sent by God to prepare the way for thy presence on this Earth. In fact, not only wert thou surrounded by the shining splendor of the rays of the Divine Sun, Jesus, but thou wert splendidly reflected in the brilliant light of the mystic moon, the Blessed Virgin Mary. O Glorious Patriarch, if the example of the ancient Jacob, who personally went to congratulate his favorite son, who was exalted on the throne of Egypt, served to bring all his progeny there, should not the example of Jesus and Mary, who honored thee with their greatest respect and trust, serve to bring me, thy devoted servant, to present thee with this precious cloak in thy honor.
Grant, O Great St. Joseph, that the Almighty God may turn a benevolent glance toward me. As the ancient Joseph did not reject his guilty and cruel brothers, but rather accepted them with love and protected and saved them from hunger and death, I beseech thee, O Glorious Patriarch, through thine intercession, grant that the Lord may never abandon me in this exiled valley of sorrows. Grant that He may always number me as one of thy devoted servants who dost live serenely under the patronage of thy Holy Cloak. Grant that I may live always within the protection of this patronage, every day of my life and particularly at that moment when I draw my dying breath.
Hail O Glorious St. Joseph, thou who art entrusted with the priceless treasures of Heaven and Earth and foster-father of Him Who doth nourish all the creatures of the universe. Thou art, after Mary, the Saint most worthy of our love and devotion. Thou alone, above all the Saints, wert chosen for that supreme honor of rearing, guiding, nourishing and even embracing the Messiah, Whom so many kings and prophets would have so desired to behold.
St. Joseph, save my soul and obtain for me from the Divine Mercy of God that petition for which I humbly pray. And for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, grant a great comfort from their pain.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
O powerful St. Joseph, thou wert proclaimed the Patron of the Universal Church, therefore, I invoke thee, above all the other Saints, as the greatest protector of the afflicted, and I offer countless blessings to thy most generous heart, always ready to help in any need.
To thee, O Glorious St. Joseph, come the widows, the orphans, the abandoned, the afflicted, the oppressed. There is no sorrow, heartache or anguish which thou hast not consoled. Deign, I beseech thee, to use on my behalf those gifts which God hast given thee, until I too shall be granted the answer to my petition And thou, Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray to St. Joseph for me.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
Countless are those who have prayed to thee before me and have received comfort and peace, graces and favors. My heart, so sad and sorrowful, cannot find rest in the midst of this trial which besets me. O Glorious St. Joseph, thou knowest all my needs even before I set them forth in prayer. Thou knowest how important this petition is for me. I prostrate myself before thee as I sigh under the heavy weight of the problem which confronts me.
There is no human heart in which I can confide my sorrow; and even if I should find a compassionate creature who would be willing to assist me, still he would be unable to help me. Only thou can help me in my sorrow, St. Joseph, and I beg thee to hear my plea.
Has not St. Theresa left it written in her dialogues that the world may always know "Whatever you ask of St. Joseph, you shall receive."
O St. Joseph, comforter of the afflicted, have pity on my sorrow and pity on those Poor Souls who place so much hope in their prayers to thee.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
O Sublime Patriarch St. Joseph, because of thy perfect obedience to God, thou mayest intercede for me.
For thy holy life full of grace and merit, hear my prayer.
For thy most sweet name, help me. For your most holy tears, comfort me.
For thy seven sorrows, intercede for me. For your seven joys, console me.
From all harm of body and soul, deliver me. From all danger and disaster, save me.
Assist me with thy powerful intercession and seek for me, through thy power and mercy, all that is necessary for my salvation and particularly the favor of which I now stand in such great need.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
O Glorious St. Joseph, countless are the graces and favors which thou hast obtained for afflicted souls. Illness of every nature, those who are oppressed, persecuted, betrayed, bereft of all human comfort, even those in need of their life bread-----all who imploreth thy powerful intercession are comforted in their affliction.
Do not permit, O dearest St. Joseph, that I alone be the only one of all who hast appealed to thee, to be denied this petition which I so earnestly beg of thee. Show thy kindness and generosity even to me, that I may cry out in thanksgiving, "Eternal glory to our Holy Patriarch St. Joseph, my great protector on Earth and the defender of the Holy Souls in Purgatory."
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
Eternal Father, Who art in Heaven, through the merits of Jesus and Mary, I beg Thee to grant my petition. In the name of Jesus and Mary I prostrate myself before Thy Divine presence and I beseech Thee to accept my hopeful plea to persevere in my prayers that I may be numbered among the throngs of those who live under the patronage of St. Joseph.
Extend Thy blessing on this precious treasury of prayers which I today offer to him as a pledge of my devotion.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times to our Heavenly Father in thanksgiving for having exalted St. Joseph to a position of such exceptional dignity.)
SUPPLICATIONS in honor of St. Joseph's hidden life with JESUS and MARY
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may come into my soul and sanctify me.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may come into my heart and inspire it with charity.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may come into my mind and enlighten it.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may guide my will and strengthen it.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may direct my thoughts and purify them.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may guide my desires and direct them.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may look upon my deeds and extend His blessings.
St. Joseph, pray that Jesus may inflame me with love for Him.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the imitation of thy virtues.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus true humility of spirit.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus meekness of heart.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus peace of soul.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a holy fear of the Lord.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a desire for perfection.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a gentleness of heart.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a pure and charitable heart.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the wisdom of faith.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus His blessing of perseverance in my good deeds.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the strength to carry my crosses.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a disdain for the material goods of this world.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the grace to always walk on the narrow path toward Heaven.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the grace to avoid all occasion of sin.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus a holy desire for eternal bliss.
St. Joseph, request for me from Jesus the grace of final perseverance.
St. Joseph, do not abandon me.
St. Joseph, pray that my heart may never cease to love thee and that my lips may ever praise thee.
St. Joseph, for the love thou didst bear for Jesus, grant that I may learn to love Him.
St. Joseph, graciously accept me as thy devoted servant.
St. Joseph, I give myself to thee; accept my pleas and hear my prayers.
St. Joseph, do not abandon me at the hour of my death.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul.
(Recite the Glory Be 3 times, etc.)
INVOCATIONS TO SAINT JOSEPH
Remember O most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, my good protector St. Joseph, that never was it known that anyone who didst come to thy protection, and sought thine intercession was left unaided. Confidently I prostrate myself before thee and fervently beg for thy powerful intervention. O foster-Father of our dear Redeemer, despise not my petition, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and virginal father of Jesus, look upon me and watch over me; lead me on the path of sanctifying grace; take heed of the urgent needs which I now beg thee to envelop within the folds of thy fatherly cloak. Dismiss those obstacles and difficulties standing in the way of my prayer and grant that the happy answer to my petition may serve for the greater glory of God and my eternal salvation.
As a pledge of my undying gratitude, I promise to spread the word of thy glory whilst offering thanks to the Lord for having so blest thy power and might in Heaven and on earth.
Recite the Litany of St. Joseph.
CLOSING PRAYER OF THE HOLY CLOAK
O Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, thou who wert chosen by God above all men to be the earthly head of the most holy of families, I beseech thee to accept me within the folds of thy holy cloak, that thou mayest become the guardian and custodian of my soul.
From this moment on, I choose thee as my father, my protector, my counselor, my patron and I beseech thee to place in thy custody my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I possess, my life and my death.
Look upon me as one of thy children; defend me from the treachery of my enemies, invisible or otherwise, assist me at all times in all my necessities; console me in the bitterness of my life, and especially at the hour of my death. Say but one word for me to the Divine Redeemer Whom thou wert deemed worthy to hold in thine arms, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, thy most chaste spouse. Request for me those blessings which will lead me to salvation. Include me amongst those who art most dear to thee and I shall set forth to prove myself worthy of thy special patronage. Amen.
PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH
To thee do we cry in our tribulations, O Blessed Saint Joseph, as we confidently invoke thy patronage, after that of thy most holy spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
By that sacred bond of devotion which linked thee to the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, and for the fatherly love thou didst lavish on the child Jesus, we beg thee to cast a glance on those heavenly gifts which the Divine Redeemer hast obtained for all mankind through His Precious Blood and through thy power and mercy, help us in our needs.
O holy protector of the holy family, protect us children of the Lord Jesus Christ; keep far from us the errors and evils which corrupt the world; assist us from Heaven in our struggles against the powers of darkness. And as thou once didst protect the Divine Child from the cruel edict of Herod, now defend the Church and keep it safe from all dangers and threats; spread over all of us thy holy patronage so that by following thine example and aided by thy spiritual guidance, we may all aspire to a virtuous life, look to a holy death and secure for ourselves the blessing of eternal happiness in Heaven. Amen.
This Novena is NOT on the St. Joseph text-only page. To obtain this booklet, call Divine Mercy Publications [Florida]:
1  927-9057
Divine Mercy Publications
Hollywood, FL 33022
DESPERATE CASES PRAYER
O thou, whom no one has ever yet invoked in vain, thou, whose
with God is so great, that it has been truly said, "In Heaven, Joseph
commands rather than supplicates," tender father, intercede for me!
St. Joseph, be my advocate with thy Divine Son, Whose
foster-father and faithful protector thou wert here below. Add to all
thy glories, that of gaining the despaired of cause that I confide to
thee. I believe, yes, I believe thou canst obtain my deliverance from
the troubles that overwhelm me, and the desolation in which my soul is
plunged. I have the firm hope that thou wilt neglect nothing in favor
of the afflicted who invoke thee.
Humbly prostrate at thy feet, dear St. Joseph, I implore thee
to have pity on my tears,
cover me with the mantle of thy merciful protection and bless me. Amen.
AN ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY
To be recited by Christian families who consecrate themselves to the Holy Family.
"O Jesus, our most loving Saviour! Thou Who wast sent down from Heaven to enlighten the world by Thy teaching and example, and Who didst will to pass the greater part of Thy holy life in Nazareth, subject to Mary and Joseph, and thereby didst hallow the household which was to be the pattern for all Christian families, do Thou in Thy goodness receive our household which this day consecrates itself to Thee. Protect and guard us, strengthen us in Thy holy fear, establish in our hearts the peace and concord of Christian Charity, so that each one of us becoming like to the Divine model of Thy family, may be sharers of eternal joy."
"O Mary, most loving Mother of Jesus Christ, our Mother, through thy love and mercy intercede, that Jesus receive this act of Consecration, and pour out upon us His graces and blessings."
"O Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, help us by thy prayers in all our necessities, both of body and soul; that together with the Blessed Virgin mary and thyself we shall praise and thank Jesus Christ, our Divine Redeemer."
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