On Thursday, March 19 2020, the Church celebrates the great feast of St. Joseph. This great saint, and head of the Holy Family, is also included in the canon of the Mass. And rightly so! He was part and head of the best family ever, of Mary, Jesus and Joseph!
Let us not forget that, for us men, in particular, St. Joseph is surely a saint which certainly inspires us! But even women have alot to learn from this wonderful saint. First, St Joseph is the patron saint of us, workers. With what diligence, love and commitment Joseph earned his living in order to sustain Mary, Jesus and himself! And, in these difficult times, where there can be job losses due to the coronavirus global spread, it would be wise and urgent to invoke St. Joseph to help you save or find a new job. No one like him can understand the pressure of what it actually means to provide for your family. A prayer that is of immense solice and help is, absolutely, the following one:
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me, pray for us. Of this prayer it is said that those who pray it for nine mornings for anything they desire it has never been known that this prayer failed them. So, be sure that you really want what you are asking God for, and pray fervently to St. Joseph.
In this sense it makes alot of sense what St John Paul II used to say about St. Joseph: Saint Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care. May he always guard, protect and enlighten families.
Second, St. Joseph’s intercession is so powerful! And here we are reminded of what St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) confides in her autobiography regarding this very interesting fact. She writes: I know by experience that the glorious St. Joseph assists us generally in all necessities. I never asked him for anything which he did not obtain for me. On the same lines, St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori (1696–1787) observes: 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…
Third, St. Joseph models for us what true Fatherhood consists of. In his Providence God the Father, from all men throughout mankind’s history, chose St. Joseph to be entrusted with leading, providing for as well as protecting the greatest creature of all time, Jesus, the Son of God made man, and His and Our Mother Mary. With how much loving protection He fulfilled his Godly mission!
To remind us of this St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) instructs us: St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind. Again, St. Teresa reminds us: 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 all his petitions.
Fourth, St. Joseph’s obedience is a virtue to be emulated at all costs! The gospel amply shows us that when God asked Joseph to do something he eagerly and humbly obeyed. Irrespective of the challenging situation he was in, like the taking of Mary his wife, going to Betlehem for the census or fleeing with his family to Egypt, Joseph fulfilled God’s will.
How moving and edifying is St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori’s reflection on St. Joseph’s obedience! The two disciples, going to Emmaus, (Lk. 24:13-31) 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!
Fifth, St. Joseph was the man of silence. In the gospels we cannot detect a single word spoken by this extraordinary man! And, this silence, permitted St. Joseph to hear, listen and discern God’s will for the Holy Family. On this point I find very uplifting and edifying what Pope Benedict XVI said concerning St. Joseph’s silence: Let us allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by St. Joseph’s silence! We need it greatly, in a world that is often too noisy, that does not favor meditation or listening to the voice of God.
Encouraged by what this living saint told us let us all, men and women, young and old, hurriedly go to St. Joseph in all our needs! And, inflamed by our love for him, let us follow St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori’s holy advice!
Go, then to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you; Go to Joseph, and obey him as Jesus and Mary obeyed him; Go to Joseph, and speak to him as they spoke to him; Go to Joseph, and consult him as they consulted him; Go to Joseph, and honour him as they honoured him; Go to Joseph, and be grateful to him as they were grateful to him; Go to Joseph, and love him, as they love him still.
Go to Joseph and pray to him that special prayer which these simple and humble reflections suggest to you at their beginning! And do it immediately! The first thing in the morning! Yes! Go to Joseph!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap