Sunday, January 29, 2017

1st Sunday of Saint Joseph

There's something about St. Joseph ... I turn to him always for intercession with anything to do with family, work, or prayers for my husband. Reflecting on St. Joseph on the seven Sundays leading up to his solemnity is an old tradition. I've forgotten it for a few years but am back to it this year.
Holy Family by Raphael, 1506.
Devotion to Saint Joseph has developed spontaneously from the heart of Christian people. For many people the Holy Patriarch is an excellent model of humility, industriousness and fidelity to one's vocation.

One of the most popular devotions to this saint is the Seven Sundays of Saint Joseph. This is an extended opportunity to meditate about the Holy Patriarch and to pray for his intercession...

Vocation and Sanctity

Saint Bernardine of Siena has taught, following the writings of Saint Thomas, that whenever God chooses someone to do some important work for him, God grants that person the necessary graces. The perfect example of this truth can be seen in the life of Saint Joseph, foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and spouse of Mary. Sanctity consists in fulfilling one's vocation. For Saint Joseph, that vocation entailed preserving Mary's commitment to virginity while living in authentic matrimony ... Joseph loved Mary with a love so pure and refined that it is beyond our imagination.

With respect to Jesus, Joseph watched over him, protected him, taught him a trade, helped in his education. Joseph is called "foster father" but words cannot express the intimate and mysterious relationship which he actually enjoyed with the Son of God. In normal circumstances a man becomes a foster father by accident. In the case of Joseph, however, this is no accidental relationship. Joseph was created so as to live out this transcendent responsibility. This was his predestination, the purpose of all the graces which he received. (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Mother of the Saviour)

Saint Joseph is a great saint because he corresponded in a heroic way to the graces given to him. We should contemplate about how well we are corresponding to the grace in our vocation in the middle of the world.

We can never forget the maxim that whenever God chooses someone to do some important work for him, God grants that person the necessary graces. How do we react to difficulties in our life of faith? Do we ever doubt God's support in our struggle to raise a family, to give ourselves generously to God's requests, to live a commitment of apostolic celibacy? Do we firmly believe that because I have a vocation, because I have the grace of God, I can overcome any obstacle? Do I put my trust in God so that difficulties only make me more faithful?


  1. I don't know if anyone has made the connection before, but reading this post made me think of the foreshadowing in the Old Testament, and how the prophets and patriarchs are the types of those in the New.

    So St. Joseph is the New Uzziah, or Uzziah is the forerunner of St. Joseph. Uzziah touched the Ark of the Covenant and was immediately struck dead (and poor Uzziah gets a lot of critical commentary for an act that was only meant to serve and protect; to keep the Ark from falling when the oxen stumbled) but St. Joseph touched the new Ark and lived.

    Mary, in the Litany, is compared to the Ark since she bore God the Son in her womb, and if you think a seven or eight-month pregnant woman can sit side-saddle on a donkey without help getting on or off, I'd like to see you try it - so St. Joseph must have helped her at the very least. Yet he was worthy, where Uzziah was not.

    And so we see the worth of his title as St. Joseph, Terror of Demons - an ordinary human man able to be in the presence of God and live, why wouldn't they be terrified at a power they don't have themselves? :-)

  2. I am going to seek refuge under St. Joesph as the news of late has been too heavy to bear and very distracting. I realized that more today after reading the latest accounts in the ongoing sex abuse scandals. I live in Los Angeles, Calif. so I am well aware of the Cdl. Mahoney/Archb. Gomez news and now news from Newark, New Jersey comes in.
    As St. Joesph is the Patron Saint of the Universal Church, I am seeking his mighty and holy intercession for our beloved Church and for me since I am sad and overwhelmed and distracted.