Glorious St Joseph, who wast chosen by Almighty God to be the foster-father of the Word made flesh, the comforter of His most holy Mother, the faithful co-operator among men in His greatest design, obtain for me to do in all things the Will of the Father, to cherish in my heart the mysteries accomplished in the person of the Son, and by the abundant graces of the Holy Ghost to persevere, pure of heart and chaste of body, in the service of God.
Tag Archives: St Joseph
ST BERNARDINE’S PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH
Remember us, O blessed Joseph, and with the favour of thy prayer, plead with him Who was deemed to be thy Son; and render gracious to us thy most blessed Virgin Spouse, the Mother of Him, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth world without end.
[100 days’ Indulgence, once a day – Leo XIII., December, 1889]
– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916
A meditation on Knock will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. (Rev. Patrick O’Carroll)
Pilgrimages to Knock began soon after the apparition and have continued ever since. About 250.000 pilgrims go there every year. This is a remarkable number in view of the fact that Knock has no train or bus service and that the shrine has not been formally approved by the Holy See. During World War II, 10.000 Masses were offered in honour of Our Lady of Knock for the intention of keeping Ireland at peace. Many of the people credit Our Lady of Knock with keeping Ireland out of the war just as the Portuguese people give credit to Our Lady of Fatima for keeping their country at peace.
WHAT DID THE APPARITION MEAN?
What did the apparition mean? At Paris, La Salette, Lourdes, and Fatima, our Lady spoke. We have her own words on record. At Knock, she said nothing. Yet we can be certain that she did not appear without an important purpose.
IN IRELAND, THE PEOPLE HAD CLUNG TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH DESPITE OF BITTER PERSECUTION
In most of Europe – in most of the [Western] world, for that matter – people had turned away from God. Even in such supposedly Catholic countries as Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, men were worshipping reason and science instead of God. But in Ireland, the people had clung to their faith despite three and a half centuries of bitter persecution. They had retained their love for the Mass during all the years that the Mass had been officially outlawed. They had never faltered in their devotion to the Blessed Mother, a devotion that had been brought to them by St Patrick himself. Every night, in thousands of miserable huts all over the island, families had knelt on the dirt floors to say the Rosary together.
SHE COMFORTED THEM IN THEIR AFFLICTIONS
It seems likely that Mary appeared in Ireland to reward the people for their devotion and to comfort them in their afflictions. Many authorities on Knock point out that Mary was wearing a crown. Thus, they say, she represented herself as Queen of Heaven, Queen of Ireland, Mediatrix of All Graces.
“The mission of Mary to Knock was not one of rebuke or complaint against our people, as was the case at La Salette and Lourdes, against the prevailing vices and abuses that were shaking the very foundations of the faith in France in those days,” says the Very Rev. Jarlath Royanne, O. Cist. “Neither was it a call to do penance on those occasions. No, Mary’s mission to her faithful Irish people that day was rather one of compassion and comfort, with an implied admonition, no doubt, of dangers ahead, and the imperative need of prayer.”
ON THE EVE OF THE OCTAVE OF THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
Every early account of the apparition points out that it occurred on the eve of the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Did Mary intend to establish this connection between Knock and Fatima? At any rate, the coincidence is interesting. It reminds us that Mary, Our Queen, has an Immaculate Heart filled with an almost infinite love for us.
ST JOSEPH’S APPEARANCE
The two saints who appeared with Mary were the two people – next to our Lord Himself – who were most closely associated with her while she was in this world. St Joseph cared for her before Jesus was born, and he watched over her and Jesus for some years after that. As head of the Holy Family, he is the model husband and father. He is also the Patron of the Universal Church. In the apparition he was looking at her in a reverential manner. It seems likely that he represented all families and also the Universal Church in paying homage to the Queen of Heaven.
ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST
St John was Mary’s guardian after our Lord’s death. He stood with her beneath the cross while Jesus was giving His life for the world. It was to him that our Lord almost with His dying breath said, “Behold thy mother.” St John represented all of us that day.
So St John, by his presence, reminds us that Mary is our spiritual mother. But he does more than that. He was garbed as a bishop and was reading from a Mass book. He stood next to the altar on which was the sacrificial lamb. St John was our Lady’s priest. After the Resurrection he celebrated Mass for her, renewing the sacrifice of Calvary, bringing her Son down upon the altar. It is also interesting to note that in the Apocalypse, St John refers to our Lord as a lamb twenty-seven times.
A FULLER APPRECIATION OF THE HOLY MASS
“A meditation on Knock,” says Rev. Patrick O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. Our attention is above all turned to the same Lamb of God that is mystically immolated on every altar, when the Holy Mass is celebrated. Knock, then, calls for a fuller appreciation of the Mass.”
Virtually all authorities agree on this, that the Mass is the central feature of Knock. Our Lady herself seems to bear this out. Most of the cures there have occurred during Mass. At Lourdes, the Blessed Sacrament is emphasized; at Knock, the Mass.
– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954
ST TERESA OF AVILA, VIRGIN – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 15
Teresa was born of pious and noble parents at Avila, in Spain. While she was still a very little girl, she was so enkindled with a desire for martyrdom that, running away from home, she tried to go to Africa. She was brought back to her home. After her mother’s death, she committed herself wholly to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin.
SHE EMBRACED THE RULE OF THE NUNS OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
When she was twenty years old, she embraced the rule of the nuns of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Solicitous for the salvation of souls, she built many monasteries and proposed that the original rule of the Carmelite foundation be observed by its women and men. She continually offered to God the voluntary sufferings of her own body on behalf of infidels and heretics and, burning with divine love, she took a most difficult vow of always doing that which she considered the most perfect.
SHE WROTE MANY BOOKS OF HEAVENLY WISDOM
She merited that her bosom should be pierced with a fiery dart by an angel. She wrote many books of heavenly wisdom and taught much by word and example, having this often on her lips: “Lord, either to suffer or to die.” Renowned for virtue, the gift of prophecy and other charismatic gifts, she gave back her most pure soul to God at Alba, in the year 1582, in the sixty-seventh year of her age, on the Ides of October.
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, that as we rejoice on the feast-day of blessed Teresa, your Virgin, we may be so nourished by the food of her heavenly teaching as to learn how to serve you. Through our Lord…
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964
O blessed St Joseph, whose life was passed in toil and prayer, obtain for me the grace, I beseech thee, to sanctify my work by purity of intention, by remembrance of God’s presence and by frequent prayer.
Teach me to be contented with my lot, and if temptation comes to me to envy those who are above me or richer than myself, obtain for me the grace to despise it, and, only remembering thy life of humble toil, to desire only to imitate thee in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916
Let us go to Saint Joseph, let us beg him to help us on the difficult road of this life.
He, like ourselves, has travelled there.
He, like us, has suffered there.
Born in lowly circumstances, although of a royal family, he earned his daily bread by rough toil.
How many humiliations he endured!
How much anxiety and trouble!
When, chosen by God, he had to watch over Jesus and Mary, and to provide for them.
He knew the miseries of life, the moments when courage abandons us, when all is dark around us.
Let us have recourse to Saint Joseph, and ask him for resignation.
Let us go to him, for he loves us.
He loves us because we belong to Jesus and Mary. Their affections have become his.
Let us ask him to love us as he loved Jesus and Mary, and to obtain for us that we may love them as he loved them. O Joseph, who had the incomparable honour of watching over Jesus, and of providing for Him by your labours,
Speak to Him for us.
He loves you.
He remembers your tenderness.
Lead us to this Saviour, so dearly loved.
And when the last hour shall have arrived, present us to Him, that we may see Him and love Him for eternity.
– Laverty&Sons (Eds.), Leeds, 1905
Dear St Joseph,
you have shown love and care to the Son of God,
you looked after his mother, Mary,
you worked hard for your family,
you led your family to safety,
you never questioned the will of God,
you dedicated your life to the service of God.
May we also show our dedication to God’s Son,
may we honour Mary, our Holy Mother,
may we work hard for our families and communities and may we
strive for justice and peace in the world.
May we truly believe and trust that God will walk alongside us
and will never abandon us on life’s journey.
May we, like you, St Joseph, show others the way to our heavenly Father
and may we, like the Holy Family, be thankful for the countless graces and blessings, which are bestowed on us daily. Amen.
HOMILY OF ST JEROME, PRIEST
(Book 1 of Commentary on Matthew, Ch.1)
Why was he conceived of a betrothed virgin, rather than of one who was free? First, that through the genealogy of Joseph, the lineage of Mary might be shown. Secondly, lest she should be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that she might have a comforter when fleeing into Egypt. The Martyr Ignatius even added a fourth reason why he should have been conceived of a betrothed virgin: “That his birth,” he says, “might be concealed from the devil, since he would suppose that he had been born, not of a virgin, but of a married woman.
Joseph kept silence about the mystery he did not understand
But Joseph, her husband, being a just man and not wishing to expose her to reproach, was minded to put her away privately. If anyone is joined to an adulteress, he becomes one body with her, and according to the Law, not only those who commit such sin but also those who have knowledge of it, are held guilty. How then could Joseph be described as just if he had concealed the sin of his wife?
But it is a testimony to Mary that Joseph, knowing her chastity, yet wondering what had happened, kept silence about the mystery he did not understand.
VEN. FATHER OLIER’S PRAISES OF SAINT JOSEPH
Hail, Joseph, image of God the Father.
Hail, Joseph, father of God the Son.
Hail, Joseph, treasury of the Holy Spirit.
Hail, Joseph, delight of the Blessed Trinity.
Hail, Joseph, most faithful coadjutor of the Incarnation.
Hail, Joseph, most worthy spouse of the Virgin Mary.
Hail, Joseph, father of all the faithful.
Hail, Joseph, guardian of holy virgins.
Hail, Joseph, greatest lover of poverty.
Hail, Joseph, example of meekness and patience.
Hail, Joseph, mirror of humility and obedience.
And blessed be thine eyes, which have seen the things which thou hast seen.
Blessed art thou above all men:
And blessed be thine ears, which have heard the things which thou hast heard;
And blessed be thy hands, which have touched and handled the Incarnate Word;
And blessed be thine arms, which have carried Him who carries all things;
And blessed be thy breast, on which the Son of God most sweetly rested;
And blessed be thy heart, inflamed with burning love;
And blessed be the Eternal Father, Who chose thee;
And blessed be the Son, Who loved thee;
And blessed be the Holy Spirit, Who sanctified thee;
And blessed be thy spouse Mary, who loved thee as a spouse and a brother;
And blessed be the Angel who watched over thee;
And blessed be for ever all who bless and love thee. Amen.
The Monotony of Life
For most people living on this earth it must be confessed that life is monotonous. If not a suffering, it is at any rate one of those things from which most are glad to escape and they seek to do this by getting such distractions and amusements as the world offers them and they can afford to buy.
Many are glad to escape “boring lives”
These distractions and amusements have become more numerous with the material progress that has been made in the last hundred years and more. So we find people hurrying off to cinemas or listening in to the wireless, snatching a week off at the seaside or going off in a motor-coach to some beauty spot that is within reach of their homes and their money.
The general hunt for distractions and amusements
The disastrous wars through which we have passed have, however, considerably curtailed their means of so finding change and pleasure. If they are not people who find their help and consolation in religion, they are inclined to grumble and to express their feelings in such phrases as “I am fed up.”
“I am fed up”
The monotony of their lives is represented by the houses in which the majority of them live, long streets of drab-looking buildings, each one a repetition (outwardly at least) of its neighbour. If you are going into London, for instance, you will see from your carriage window long processions of such streets, with never a tree or a flower-bed to relieve their ugliness. It makes one think how cheerless must be the lives of the people who live in such surroundings.
Having learnt how to face this monotony of life
But, apart from other good people, there will be good Catholic Christians living in those houses, who have learnt how to face this monotony of life. They will know that whether in a town, or perhaps even more so in the country in some little village or isolated farmhouse, one day is much like another and there is very little variety to break the humdrum of existence.
This world is not a playground in which we must look for nothing but pleasure and amusement
Since the fall of man this world is no longer the paradise that God originally designed it. It is not a playground in which we must look for nothing but pleasure and amusement. Rather it has become a drill-ground where monotony necessarily finds a place to train and mould us to a state that will make us pleasing to God. That is why Jesus Christ, “the way, the truth, and the life”, spent the greater part of His life in a state of obscurity, whose monotony for thirty years was rarely relieved and yet the sanctity of which, year by year, day by day, hour by hour, was an unbroken succession of infinite merits.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
But for our purposes, perhaps we can better consider the matter in the life of St Joseph, who lived this life of monotony from start to finish. After Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady, St Joseph, as we know, was the greatest of God’s saints, proved as it is by the fact that he was chosen for that unique and special office – to be the foster-father of the Incarnate God.
He showed none of those exterior signs by which greatness is gauged by the world
Yet how little was he known to men while he was on this earth. Outside the village of Nazareth, where monotony marked his every day, no one had any knowledge of him. In the village itself he would not have been regarded as a person of any special note or distinction. He was just the village carpenter – a good, trustworthy and honest workman but nothing more. He lived a quiet monotonous life and died as quiet and as unnoticed as he had lived.
No one could have guessed how truly great he was, because he showed none of those exterior signs by which greatness is gauged by the world or by the ordinary men and women in the world. Even in the early centuries of the Church, St Joseph remained obscure and there was no special devotion to him. The reason for this, perhaps, was that the Church wished first that the fact of the Virgin-Birth of Our Lord should be well I established and that there should be no mistake about His paternity. However that be, it remains that no life of this very great Saint could have been more hidden and obscure, not only during his lifetime but even for some considerable time after it.
“Love to be unknown and to be accounted a nobody”
It all emphasises the value of a hidden life of monotony, that real virtue is best exercised and fostered under such conditions and that all who aim at perfection strive to lead such a life, as far as possible to do so. “Ama nesciri et pro nihilo reputari” (Love to be unknown and to be accounted a nobody) is the dictum of à Kempis.
He is indifferent to what men may know or think about him
A really religious man is glad when he is engaged in work that is monotonous and calls for no special recognition. He is not anxious to be in any sort of limelight and takes care to avoid it whenever he can. He does not push himself forward to call attention to himself and his doings. He may rightly think that there is not much to which he can call attention. He is carrying on the same way every day of his life, as so many others are doing. He is content to do just what God wills and is indifferent to what men may know or think about him.
He is content to do just what God wills
So we may see that though from an external point of view a man’s life may be monotonous, it does not follow that there is not a great deal of variety and change going on within his soul.
This was proved in the hidden life of St Joseph, where he was practising the most heroic virtue and was subjected to the greatest trials without which sanctity is impossible. What an agony of mind he endured when he learned that Our Lady had conceived. He wished at first secretly to put her away. He could not think that she had done any wrong and yet there was no explanation of what had happened. His faith in God was rewarded, for it was told him a little later that this conception was miraculous. Though before he finally settled down at Nazareth, there were two events that broke the monotony of his life, they were both such as were fraught with much suffering to himself.
A sense of humiliation and failure
The journey up to Bethlehem, where our Blessed Saviour was born and whither St Joseph had to repair to comply with the order of the census-taking, brought to him much humiliation and trial. Refused admittance to the inn, he had to wander about to find a place where Mary’s Son could be born; and then defeated, as it were, in his quest, had nothing else to offer his Virgin Spouse but the rough stable or cave that gave shelter to cattle. The joy that must have been at the birth of the Redeemer was a reward for all the humiliations and sense of failure that had preceded it.
An immense privilege
The other event that broke the monotony of his life was the order “to fly into Egypt with the Mother and her Son”. This again was no journey of pleasure. To ordinary human thinking it seemed so unnecessary: it involved, too, so many inconveniences, difficulties and hardships. But there was no hesitation on St Joseph’s part in obeying the will of God, as conveyed to him by the message of the angel. Then at length when they had returned to Nazareth, there set in those years of persistent monotony, only relieved by visits to Jerusalem to assist at the religious festivals to which the Jewish law summoned them. But settled at Nazareth where, year after year and day after day he could have found little change, as the “Village Carpenter” he pursued his humble calling. It was in his soul that there was change and variety, for he was experiencing ever greater knowledge of God and growing in virtue, as his union with, and his love of God mounted, having Him now in human form, the Child and then the Boy, to whom he was privileged to be guardian and foster-father.
It was in his soul that there was much change and variety
But the great world knew none of this. St Joseph died as he had lived, unknown, a person of no consequence or importance to a world that understands nothing of the hidden grandeur and nobility of a very holy soul.
He experienced ever greater knowledge of the Divine and was growing in virtue, as his union with, and his love of God increased
But, of course, to God he was known and to the God-Man who, now sitting at the right hand of His Father, has long since found place for His beloved foster-father near Himself. The whole court of heaven, amid the acclamations of all the heavenly hosts, welcomed to his eternal glory him who, after the Queen of Angels, was received as the greatest of God’s saints.
The greatness of St Joseph, so long unrecognised on earth, has now been acknowledged by his being proclaimed by our sovereign pontiffs the Universal Patron of the Church; innumerable churches throughout the whole Catholic world have been dedicated to him to his honour: many Congregations of Religious, both men and women, have been founded and established with his name and are consecrated to promote devotion to him. It is with his name on our lips, together with the names of Jesus and Mary, that we pray for the happiness of a good death.
An entire resignation to God’s will
The whole purpose of this conference is to show us that though our lives be monotonous and of no interest whatsoever to the world about us they need not be dull or valueless. On the contrary, as the hidden lives of Our Blessed Lord and of St Joseph prove, they may be filled with an ever changing and increasing glory of virtue. It is only necessary to accept the monotony of life with an entire resignation to God’s will and to lead the lives of fervent Catholics, making use of all the means of grace that God offers us in Holy Mass, the Sacraments and all the services of the Church.
Freedom and joy far beyond ordinary human understanding
Such lives will gradually make us independent of this world: we shall be detached from a longing for the amusements and distractions of this passing show on earth, and find our consolation in serving God who, as in the case of St Joseph, will, if not always now, yet infallibly hereafter, fill us with His own joy and eternal happiness.
– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949