Saint Joseph, Our Catholic Treasure:
The 5 Motivations for Devotion

Excerpted From
Devotion to St. Joseph,
Rev. Fr. Joseph Anthony Patrignani, SJ,
Translated from the French; Approved by
the Archbishop of New York, 1887

Christians will do well to turn to Saint Joseph: On March 19, 1905, the Saint told the Breton Stigmatist, Marie-Julie Jahenny, speaking of the coming chastisement, after announcing that the punishments will be increased because no notice was taken of the warnings of Our Lady of Salette, added: "Ah, I am invoked very little ... And yet, I come immediately after Jesus and Mary, Who take pleasure in keeping their treasures at my disposition ... And note well, I have more pleasure in granting your request than you have of having them granted ... Why? Yes, why do you invoke me so little? ... " 

----Marie-Julie Jahenny: THE BRETON STIGMATIST, 
Marquis de la Franquerie

Principal Motive for Devotion to St. Joseph------The Example of Jesus Christ Himself.

When Jesus Christ, while hanging on the Cross, said to His blessed Mother, pointing at the same time to St. John the Apostle, "Woman, behold thy son . . . Behold thy mother." [John 19: 26, 27], He intended to place all the human race under her protection in the person of the beloved disciple, who then, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, represented all the elect. In like manner, we may believe that the Eternal Father, in appointing St. Joseph, in his capacity of Head of the Holy Family, to guide and protect Jesus and Mary during the flight into Egypt, to watch over and provide for them, designed to place all men under his fatherly care, and to inspire them with veneration for a Saint to whom He confided the most precious trust---the Savior of the World, the Incarnate Word, the Source of all Delights, and the Center of all the Riches of Paradise. This motive alone suffices to inspire us with a tender devotion to St. Joseph; but a still more powerful one is the example which the Son of the Most High has given us.
The whole life of the Savior is a perfect, or to speak more properly, a Divine model proposed to our imitation. "For I have given you an example, " said He, "that as I have done to you, so you do also." [St. John, 13: 15.] Now let us consider the example that He has left us regarding the honor we should pay to St. Joseph.

Jesus was the first among men to honor him; He saw in this holy patriarch the representative of the Eternal Father, Who had made him His guardian upon earth; therefore He always considered him as a father; and had He really been his son, He could not have shown him greater respect.

Already, Christian reader, I imagine that I see in your heart a pious and eager desire, urging you to inquire more particularly into the manner in which Jesus honored St. Joseph; but how can I satisfy you when you ask me to reveal to you actions with which the Holy Ghost has not seen fit to acquaint us? St. Luke, the depository of the secrets of the Incarnate Word, and the privileged historian of the mysteries of His Divine Infancy, includes all that the Man-God did from His twelfth to His thirtieth year in these three words: Erat subditus illis. He was subject to them. What! has the Son of God, during the space of eighteen years, done nothing great or mysterious to serve us as a lesson? To say so would be impious. Or, had the Evangelist no circumstantial information concerning the private life of Jesus during the many years He passed at Nazareth? Was it not at the school of the Blessed Virgin, so to speak, that the sacred writer learned all that he had to recount? Was it not from the lips of Mary herself that he drew the smallest details concerning the birth of the Savior in a stable, the adoration of the shepherds, the canticle of the Angelic Host, and a thousand other particulars relative to the mystery of the Incarnation, on which account many authors have not hesitated to call him the Secretary of the Blessed Virgin? Since, therefore, St. Luke, the faithful historian, sums up all that our Savior did during the greater part of His life in these three words, He was subject to them, it follows thence that Jesus obeyed Mary and Joseph so perfectly that, although He performed an infinity of heroic acts of piety, humility, patience, zeal, and all other virtues, yet He seems, nevertheless, to have had no other occupation than to do the will of His parents; for which reason, doubtless, He wished that His obedience alone should be chronicled in the Gospel, regarding it as an act at once the most noble, most glorious, and most worthy of the Incarnate Word.

But the obedience of Jesus presupposes a right in the person who commands Him: therefore, in the words just cited, we find both the abridgment of the life of the Son of God, and also that of St. Joseph. What, then, were the acts of Joseph during the eighteen years he lived with Jesus at Nazareth? All is comprised in three words: He commanded Jesus. He had a perfect right to do so, since, being the head of the family, it was his duty to govern it. Mary, doubtless, ruled over Him in her character of Mother, but the husband having the principal authority over the children, Jesus, Who saw Joseph invested with that authority, practiced special obedience to him. This is the opinion of two great theologians, St. Thomas and Peter d' Ailly. Let us here address ourselves to the heavenly hosts, and ask them if they were not often filled with admiration at the sight of the Infant-God, during His sojourn at Nazareth? Whether, speaking or acting, eating or reposing, He was ever submissive to the will of St. Joseph? But tell us, blessed spirits, which most excited your wonder and admiration---the humility of Jesus in obeying St. Joseph, or the dignity of St. Joseph in commanding Jesus? When the just Noah saw the ark resting on the top of Mt. Ararat, in Armenia, he needed no further measure to enable him to estimate the prodigious height of the waters of the deluge. In like manner Gerson, that devout servant of St. Joseph, finds in the profound abasement of Jesus obeying the holy patriarch, the measure of our Saint's true dignity. The latter rises in proportion as the former humbles Himself, so that if the submission of Jesus attests His incomparable humility, it also proves the eminent dignity of St. Joseph.

Thus all the acts of submission practiced by the Son of God, in His obedience to St. Joseph, were so many steps of glory for the latter.

. . . We have a right to add, that our Divine Savior, in thus honoring Joseph as His father, wished doubtless to leave to His great family, the Church, a striking example, which should teach her to pay Joseph special homage as the head of the Holy Family; had Jesus Christ submitted but for one hour only to the directions and orders of Joseph, it would have been sufficient to render that holy patriarch venerable among all the Saints; but how much more should he not be honored after Jesus has consented to be subject to him during so many years! Brought up, fed, and protected by St. Joseph for more than twenty-five years, could the Divine Savior wish otherwise than that all Christians should endeavor to acknowledge by particular homage the long and faithful services which that good father rendered to His adorable person?

Continued forward for Motivation 2.