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The following are messages from St. Joseph as received by Ann, a Lay Apostle contained in Volume Six of “Heaven Speaks to Families”, constitute sublime and practical messages to fathers on how best to imitate the virtues and examples of St. Joseph within their own families (or domestic churches). These messages have received the Imprimatur by Bishop Leo O’Reilly of the Diocese of Kilmore, Ireland and are distributed with permission of the same bishop. – Ed.

June 14, 2004

I send the most affectionate greetings to my brothers and sisters on earth. I have come particularly to speak to fathers during this time of darkness. If you have been given a child or the care of a child, you must take responsibility for the formation and support of that child. I wish to share a glimpse of my family with you, so that you can follow the example we have set. There were three of us, Jesus, Mary, and me, Joseph. I took responsibility, as much as possible, for the support of the family.

We were poor, it is true, because we lived in difficult times and for a time we were exiled. When you move to a land that is not your home, you are at a disadvantage, often, with regard to work. That was the case with me, and while I was skilled at my profession, I found it difficult to obtain as much work as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I made enough to keep us and we lived simply. I taught my Son that work was to be enjoyed and that through work a soul gave God great glory. I worked steadily and thoroughly, always being scrupulously honest and fair. My reputation was sound and I would have been known as a just man, both professionally and personally. I understood that my responsibility to Jesus was important to the Kingdom. I had the task of accompanying Him through His precious childhood.

Jesus, I must say, did not require any real correcting, because He was a most beautiful and sweet boy. His kindness brought tears to my eyes, sometimes many times in one day. I will say truly that He was an example to me. With that said, however, I also tried to be an example to Him and so must you be to your children. While I understand that you are not called upon to accompany Jesus through His childhood, you must understand that your child or children are equally precious in their humanity, because each little soul is of equal value in the Kingdom. Each day and each moment of each day is an opportunity to teach your child what it is to be a follower in God’s Kingdom. If I were allowed, I could write pages and pages, speaking only of the holiness of Mary, the mother of Christ. Can you imagine the honor that was mine? I was given the task of parenting with Mary as my partner. I will say briefly that Mary was the kindest, most gentle and most humble woman ever created by God. You must not think that she was given these virtues or that it was easy for her. This was not the case. Mary sacrificed each day and practiced these virtues. She was another constant source of example to me. How could I have been anything but virtuous living with these two heavenly creatures? Fathers, mine is the honor of instructing you on leading your families to Christ. Thank our loving Father in heaven for this grace because it is a very beautiful thing for Him to allow. Treat these words with humility and reverence and He, the God of All, will bring peace and joy to your families. You can be another pocket of holiness, as we were, and I will show you how. Remember that you have great and limitless help in heaven. Do not be discouraged if your family is struggling with worldly influences at this moment. I will help you and together we will move toward the example that our little Holy Family has set for you. All is well. Let us begin.

June 15, 2004

Fathers of the world, listen carefully to my words. Please understand that you will be held accountable for your parenting. In most cases, a father should be with his children. In cases where he cannot, through circumstances beyond his control, that is different. But I speak to the majority of fathers at this time. Your children are your treasure and they are also a large part of your salvation. You will gain the greatest of graces through your parenting of your children. To begin with the most fundamental advice, you must be with your children in order to properly parent them. Many fathers today view the role of father simply as a provider. They feel that as long as they are providing for their children’s material needs, their job has been completed. Fathers, you know this is not the case. Providing for your children’s material needs is only one aspect of your role as father. You must accept that if you are not at work, generally speaking, you should be with your family. Children learn from observing and modelling. They cannot do this if you are not in their company. Be with your children, fathers. You need do nothing, only set a calm example. Be about your household chores and let the children see that you are dutiful. Another current trend that concerns heaven is that of purity. Fathers, children must learn how important it is to be pure. Are your children learning this from you? They will learn it by observing the entertainment you participate in. How do you respond to television shows that depict impure actions and situations? Fathers, these things are not acceptable for you. You must not watch television programs that illustrate mortal sin. Certainly your children should not watch these things either. That, dear men, is a profound truth, and if you are allowing your children to view behaviors on television that depict sin, you are in effect teaching them these behaviors. You must understand that by not objecting to these things, you are teaching your children that these behaviors are acceptable. This must stop. When you reject a program because it is illustrating unChristian-like behaviors, you must take the opportunity to explain to your children why you are doing so and why the behavior you rejected is not Christian. Do you understand? You must ask me to help you in this issue if you are unsure because homes are being contaminated constantly in this manner. This form of entertainment is unsuitable for you, dear men of God. You want to come to heaven, do you not? Then you must begin to prepare yourselves on earth. You can do this by spending time with your children in purity, and doing things together that do not offend God. You will be accountable for each word you say to your children. God does not expect you to be perfect. Do not be afraid. You will make mistakes, of course, and that is understood and forgiven. But you must not allow a pattern of entertainment in your home that is objectionable to heaven. Consider always what Jesus would say about an entertainment. He is with you, you know, at each moment. Be aware of His presence and you can then judge your actions and activities by His standard. I will help you to escape from any bad habits that have taken hold of you. Be cheerful and courageous and together we will purify your life.

June 16, 2004

Dear fathers of the world, you must heed my voice. I am speaking to you from kindness and concern. We in heaven watch the events in the world because we are eager to assist you. We hear your prayers and immediately begin interceding for you so that any graces available will be utilized. Allow us to help you to examine your role as father so you can be certain you are fulfilling this role as God has willed. You must examine your role in comparison to me, Joseph, the head of the Holy Family. Do not examine your role in comparison to a soul who is not following God. You must take this opportunity to also look at your companions. Are they true followers? Do they encourage you to be a good father and husband? Are they themselves good fathers and husbands? Dear man, if they are not fulfilling their role as father and husband, it will be difficult for you to resist their influence. Many in this time will encourage you to put yourself first, but I tell you in all seriousness that you should not do this. Your wife and children must come first. You are to lead your family to heaven. In heaven, the first will be last. Consider yourself a servant to your family. In this way you will not spend too much time meditating on how you would like to follow the world. You live in a world of great darkness. I must speak the truth so that you know that it is critical that your family be steered safely through these times. With the help of heaven, you will do this successfully. But in order to obtain this help, you must ask for it. In order to ask for it, you must be prayerful. If you are not prayerful, you will not see the need to pray because you will be too busy scurrying from one day to the next and telling yourself that all is well because this is what everyone else is doing. Fathers, set a tone of quietness in your home whenever possible. Children in your care will then feel free to come to you with their little difficulties and fears. Be available to them by often sitting quietly or working in silence. There is no need for the constant distraction of noise. It dulls your soul, dear man, and God cannot find rest in you. If you spend time in quietness, your soul will calm and your God can claim you and communicate with you. He will inspire you to give consideration to His will for your life. He will give you an awareness of the large view of your life and your family, pulling you away from the small view, which is the moment. If your large view includes heaven and serving God, you will understand that you must live each moment differently. Set your sight on heaven, for both you and your family, and you will see your perspective begin to shift a little here and alter a little there. This is a process and you can be comfortable that all will not change in a day, particularly if you have been spending too much time in the world or practicing bad habits. But it will change. Gradually, your home will feel different to you. You will long for holiness for each of the souls in your family who are walking your life journey with you. You will see their spiritual development as the priority. Dearest man, created by God, this is your role. You, in partnership with your wife, are to shepherd your little ones through their childhoods so that they can grow strong in the service to the Kingdom. Be brave and allow Me, Joseph, to show you how this should be done.

June 17, 2004

Dear sons of God, you must treat fatherhood like the great honor that it is. By allowing you to provide formation to a child, Our God has placed a degree of trust in you. You will not want to disappoint Him. You must listen to Him for direction on what your children require for the best possible preparation in life. Because each soul is unique, the same approach that works for one will not work for all. Each child will need thoughtful consideration given to the approach that will best suit their nature. Fathers, when do you give the rearing of your children this consideration? You should spend some time each day thinking of your children and what they need. It is important, of course, that they be fed and clothed, but not to excess. It is important that they have shelter and, if possible, an education. What I want to stress to you, fathers of the world, is that your children need your love, along with these other things. Children, more than anything, must know that their father loves them and considers them precious. Your actions every day will tell your children how you feel about them. If you are called on to correct a child, do so gently, with love. If a child angers you, you must remember that you were once a child and made similar mistakes. Do not frighten your children, fathers. This is not love. This is the opposite of love. Your child should respect you, of course, and you should not tolerate behavior that will not be welcome in the Kingdom, but expect some bad behavior and expect to have to gently correct your children. Fathers often make the mistake of thinking that their primary function with children is that of disciplinarian. This is an error. Your primary function as a father is to love and then to set an example that your children can follow which will result in eternity in heaven. Are you doing this, dear man? Be vigilant in examining your own behavior and be certain that your children are not mimicking something in you when they misbehave. This is important, so pay heed. I love you dearly, men of the world. I understand the influences with which you struggle. That is why you must spend time in prayer, and not with entertainment. Your Jesus wants to help you and He wants you to help Him. This is a dark time for mankind because many have said “no” to God and to holy living. If you have done this, you must tell Jesus today that you are willing to change and that you desire that He help you. I tell you most sincerely that Jesus will handle everything if you are willing to change. He will forgive you every sin. He will mitigate any damage that neglect has done to your children. Jesus, in short, will solve your problems but you must spend time in silence with Him. Make prayer the most important part of your day, fathers. Only in this way can you determine what Jesus requires from you with regard to your life and your parenting. Heaven understands that you have pressures and that you must earn your living and support your family. Heaven respects these things because it is heaven who has ordained this way of life for you. You must constantly ask heaven to guide you in these matters, as well as in spiritual matters. We will hear your prayers and assist you. But you must be the head of your family now and set a tone of respect for God.

June 18, 2004

Again today I call out to fathers. Dear men, you must face your mistakes fearlessly. Examine with me the way that you live. Do you live for God? If God were to call you home to heaven today, could you lie down peacefully, content that you had worthily accepted your vocation as husband and father? As human beings, created by God, we are all subject to His time. When He decrees that your time on earth has passed, it has passed. There will be no second chances with regard to either your life or your parenting. When your children are grown, the opportunity to influence them diminishes. You should never give up setting an example for your children and attempting to help them to see the straight path to heaven, but you can do far more with children than adults. So you see, dear man, that you must seize the opportunity to mold your child when he is small. Many souls on earth think that they are entitled to great amounts of relaxation and play time. I tell you most solemnly that play time is for children. If you are an adult, you should be concerned with serving Christ, and not with entertaining yourself. If you spend time in silent prayer, considering Jesus and what He did for you, you will understand what it is He asks that you do for Him. This is simple, I know, but I assure you that few men are giving Christ this time to work in their souls. It is for this reason we have reached the current level of darkness. Historically man said “no” to sin. In this day man says “yes” to sin. Children suffer because if man is saying “yes” to sin, he is saying “no” to his vocation. You cannot live two ways, my dear friend, so you must make a choice. Choose God. There is no future for you or your family in choosing darkness. Do not underestimate the power of God to assist a soul who seeks goodness. He will help you. I would like to speak about how I treated Mary, my wife on earth. I treated her with the greatest dignity and respect. I tried to help her when I could, and I remained in constant awareness of her comfort and happiness. I was unable to provide her with great wealth, and sometimes we were forced to go without, subsisting on the barest of necessities. She did not complain and I did not rail against God for placing us in trying times. I humbly placed my little family in the care of God and did the best I could to provide for them. Dear men of the world, there are those who are in far more need than you, whatever your circumstances. You must be content with what God has given you. Remember that there will always be those with more, and there will always be those with less. Praise God in everything and you will be cared for by heaven. When you worry about material things, consider what would happen if you were to do without many of the things you have today. Would you starve? Spend some time considering what it is your body needs for survival and I think you will see that you have been given these things. There may come a time when you do not have as much as you have today. How you will shake your heads at your former complaints. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you? Do not wish for more; wish to be happier with less. Pray this way and God will help you by showing you that you do not need all of these things with which you surround yourself. These things are a distraction. Your families are no happier than those who have less, and this I say from experience. We were very happy on earth and we had little. Keep a heavenly perspective and you will not feel that you require more.

June 19, 2004

Dear men, destined to serve God, please consider that your first duty is to your family. Indeed, caring for your wife and children is your sacred duty, and all of heaven will help you to make this your priority. God’s love will flow through you into your home, and He, through you, will be the leader of your family. Do you want this to happen? Look closely at your home and family and determine if it is already this way. If it is, then all is well and we will continue on, heaven working closely with you to steer your family through difficult times. If this is not the case, then you must understand that there is work to be done in your life. Most men in today’s world have a little work to do, so do not be discouraged if you see things that must be removed from your life. Be brave and steady and you will come to know God’s will for you. Dear man, you were created by God to serve during this time and God needs your service. He is calling out to all of His children now and asking that souls put aside worldly desires in favor of heavenly desires. Come to the most direct path to heaven and do not leave this path again. Please. In a very short time, you will be so glad that you served. These times are not ordinary times, my dear friend. These are extraordinary times and the greatest of heavenly help is available for God’s servants. Do not be anxious by this. Be grateful. Jesus is all good. If you but knew the depth of His compassion and love for you, there would be no need for any words at all. But souls in the world have been distracted and the view to heaven has been all but obliterated by the darkness of sin. There is little joy on earth and many souls wander in despair. You must not do that. You are a child of the Kingdom and you must walk in joy. I will show you the path to joy. As a man of God, you have the greatest of dignity as your right. That dignity comes from living a purposeful life in union with Jesus. When you seek His will, look no further than your family and you will find your path to salvation. Join us, the army that seeks to wage war on darkness. We are brave and loyal to our King. Our King, Jesus Christ, gives us all that we require for this battle. He has a particular mission for you but you must sit in silence and ask Him to reveal it to you. I, Joseph, am very close to the Savior. I will intercede for you to help you eradicate sin in your life and restore your heavenly role to its rightful level of holiness. Be at peace in everything, but do not hesitate to answer “yes” to God.

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This beautiful commentary on the Universal Church’s patron, St. Joseph, was written by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P and has been taken from his classic mariological work The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life. –Assistant Ed.

“He that is lesser among you all, he is the greater” (Luke 9:48)

His Pre-eminence Over the Other Saints

The opinion that St. Joseph is the greatest of the saints after Our Lady is one which is becoming daily more commonly held in the Church. We do not hesitate to look on the humble carpenter as higher in grace and eternal glory than the patriarchs and the greatest of the prophets—than St. John the Baptist, the Apostles, the martyrs and the great doctors of the Church. He who is least in the depth of his humility is, because of the interconnection of the virtues, the greatest in the height of his charity: “He that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater.”

St. Joseph’s pre-eminence was taught by Gerson (1) and St. Bernardine of Siena. (2) It became more and more common in the course of the 16th century. It was admitted by St. Teresa, by the Dominican Isidore de Isolanis, who appears to have written the first treatise on St. Joseph, (3) by St. Francis de Sales, by Suarez, (4) and later by St. Alphonsus Liguori, (5) Ch. Sauve, (6) Cardinal Lépicier (7) and Msgr. Sinibaldi; (8) it is very ably treated of in the article “Joseph” in the Dict. de Théol. Cath. by M. A. Michel.

The doctrine of St. Joseph’s pre-eminence received the approval of Leo XIII in his encyclical Quamquam pluries, August 15th, 1899, written to proclaim St. Joseph patron of the universal Church:

The dignity of the Mother of God is so elevated that there can be no higher created one. But since St. Joseph was united to the Blessed Virgin by the conjugal bond, there is no doubt that he approached nearer than any other to that super-eminent dignity of hers by which the Mother of God surpasses all created natures. Conjugal union is the greatest of all; by its very nature it is accompanied by a reciprocal communication of the goods of the spouses. If then God gave St. Joseph to Mary to be her spouse He certainly did not give him merely as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, a guardian of her honor, but He made him also participate by the conjugal bond in the eminent dignity which was hers.

When Leo XIII said that Joseph came nearest of all to the super-eminent dignity of Mary, did his words imply that Joseph is higher in glory than all the angels? We cannot give any certain answer to the question. We must be content to restate the doctrine which is becoming more and more commonly taught: of all the saints Joseph is the highest after Jesus and Mary; he is among the angels and the archangels. The Church mentions him immediately after Mary and before the Apostles in the prayer A cunctis. Though he is not mentioned in the Canon of the Mass, he has a proper preface, and the month of March is consecrated to him as protector and defender of the universal Church.

The multitude of Christians in all succeeding generations are committed to him in a real though hidden manner. This idea is expressed in the litanies approved by the Church:

St. Joseph, illustrious descendant of David, light of the Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, guardian of her virginity, foster-father of the Son of God, vigilant defender of Christ, head of the Holy Family; Joseph most just, most chaste, most prudent, most strong, most obedient, most faithful, mirror of patience, lover of poverty, model of workers, glory of domestic life, guardian of virgins, support of families, consolation of the afflicted, hope of the sick, patron of the dying, terror of demons, protector of the Holy Church.

He is the greatest after Mary.

The Reason For St. Joseph’s Pre-eminence

What is the justification of this doctrine which has been more and more accepted in the course of five centuries? The principle invoked more or less explicitly by St. Bernard, St. Bernardine of Siena, Isidore de Isolanis, Suarez, and more recent authors is the one, simple and sublime, formulated by St. Thomas when treating of the fullness of grace in Jesus and of holiness in Mary: “An exceptional divine mission calls for a corresponding degree of grace.” This principle explains why the holy soul of Jesus, being united personally to the Word, the Source of all grace, received the absolute fullness of grace. It explains also why Mary, called to be Mother of God, received from the instant of her conception an initial fullness of grace which was greater than the initial fullness of all the saints together: since she was nearer than any other to the Source of grace she drew grace more abundantly. It explains also why the Apostles who were nearer to Our Blessed Lord than the saints who followed them had more perfect knowledge of the mysteries of faith. To preach the gospel infallibly to the world they received at Pentecost the gift of a most eminent, most enlightened, and most firm faith as the principle of their apostolate.

The same truth explains St. Joseph’s pre-eminence. To understand it we must add one remark: all works which are to be referred immediately to God Himself are perfect. The work of creation, for example, which proceeded entirely and directly from the hand of God was perfect. The same must be said of His great servants, whom He has chosen exceptionally and immediately—not through a human instrument—to restore the order disturbed by sin. God does not choose as men do. Men often choose incompetent officials for the highest posts. But those whom God Himself chooses directly and immediately to be His exceptional ministers in the work of redemption receive from Him grace proportionate to their vocation. This was the case with St. Joseph. He must have received a relative fullness of grace proportionate to his mission since he was chosen not by men nor by any creature but by God Himself and by God alone to fulfill a mission unique in the world. We cannot say at what precise moment St. Joseph’s sanctification took place. But we can say that, from the time of his marriage to Our Lady, he was confirmed in grace, because of his special mission. (9)

To What Order Does St. Joseph’s Exceptional Mission Belong?

St. Joseph’s mission is evidently higher than the order of nature—even by angelic nature. But is it simply of the order of grace, as was that of St. John the Baptist who prepared the way of salvation, and that the Apostles had in the Church for the sanctification of souls, and that more particular mission of the founders of religious orders? If we examine the question carefully we shall see that St. Joseph’s mission surpassed the order of grace. It borders, by its term, on the hypostatic order, which is constituted by the mystery of the Incarnation. But it is necessary to avoid both exaggeration and understatement in this matter.

Mary’s unique mission, her divine motherhood, has its term in the hypostatic order. So also, in a sense, St. Joseph’s hidden mission. This is the teaching of many saints and other writers. St. Bernard says of St. Joseph: “He is the faithful and prudent servant whom the Lord made the support of His Mother, the foster-father of His flesh, and the sole most faithful co-operator on earth in His great design.” (10)

St. Bernardine of Siena writes: “When God chooses a person by grace for a very elevated mission, He gives all the graces required for it. This is verified in a specially outstanding manner in the case of St. Joseph, Foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Spouse of Mary….” (11) Isidore de Isolanis places St. Joseph’s vocation above that of the Apostles. He remarks that the vocation of the Apostles is to preach the gospel, to enlighten souls, to reconcile them with God, but that the vocation of St. Joseph is more immediately in relation with Christ Himself since he is the Spouse of the Mother of God, the Foster-father and Protector of the Savior. (12) Suarez teaches to the same effect:

Certain offices pertain to the order of sanctifying grace, and among them that of the Apostles holds the highest place; thus they have need of more gratuitous gifts than other souls, especially gratuitous gifts of wisdom. But there are other offices which touch upon or border on the order of the Hypostatic Union … as can be seen clearly in the case of the divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin, and it is to that order that the ministry of St. Joseph pertains. (13)

Some years ago Msgr. Sinibaldi, titular Bishop of Tiberias and secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Studies, treated the question very ably. He pointed out that the ministry of St. Joseph belonged, in a sense, because of its term, to the hypostatic order: not that St. Joseph co-operated intrinsically as physical instrument of the Holy Spirit in the realization of the mystery of the Incarnation—for under that respect his role is very much inferior to that of Mary—but that he was predestined to be, in the order of moral causes, the protector of the virginity and the honor of Mary at the same time as foster-father and protector of the Word made flesh: “His mission pertains by its term to the hypostatic order, not through intrinsic physical and immediate cooperation, but through extrinsic moral and mediate (through Mary) co-operation, which is, however, really and truly co-operation.” (14)

St. Joseph’s Predestination Is One With the Decree of the Incarnation

St. Joseph’s pre-eminence becomes all the clearer if we consider that the eternal decree of the Incarnation covered not merely the Incarnation in abstraction from circumstances of time and place but the Incarnation here and now—that is to say, the Incarnation of the Son of God Who by the operation of the Holy Spirit was to be conceived at a certain moment of time by the Virgin Mary, espoused to a man of the family of David whose name was Joseph: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David” (Luke 1:26-27).

All the indications are therefore that St. Joseph was predestined to be foster-father of the Incarnate Word before being predestined to glory; the ultimate reason being that Christ’s predestination as man to the natural divine sonship precedes the predestination of all the elect, since Christ is the first of the predestined. (15) The predestination of Christ to the natural divine sonship is simply the decree of the Incarnation, which, as we have seen, includes Mary’s predestination to the divine motherhood and Joseph’s to be foster-father and protector of the Incarnate Son of God.

As the predestination of Christ to the natural divine son-ship is superior to His predestination to glory and precedes it, and as the predestination of Mary to the divine motherhood precedes (in signo priori) her predestination to glory, so also the predestination of St. Joseph to be foster-father of the Incarnate Word precedes his predestination to glory and to grace. In other words, the reason why he was predestined to the highest degree of glory after Mary, and in consequence to the highest degree of grace and of charity, is that he was called to be the worthy foster-father and protector of the Man-God.

The fact that St. Joseph’s first predestination was one with the decree of the Incarnation shows how elevated his unique mission was. This is what people mean when they say that St. Joseph was made and put into the world to be the foster-father of the Incarnate Word and that God willed for him a high degree of glory and grace to fit him for his task.

The Special Character of St. Joseph’s Mission

This point is explained admirably by Bossuet in his first panegyric of the saint:

Among the different vocations, I notice two in the Scriptures which seem directly opposed to each other: the first is that of the Apostles, the second that of St. Joseph. Jesus was revealed to the Apostles that they might announce Him throughout the world; He was revealed to St. Joseph who was to remain silent and keep Him hidden. The Apostles are lights to make the world see Jesus. Joseph is a veil to cover Him; and under that mysterious veil are hidden from us the virginity of Mary and the greatness of the Savior of souls… He Who makes the Apostles glorious with the glory of preaching, glorifies Joseph by the humility of silence.

The hour for the manifestation of the mystery of the Incarnation had not yet struck: it was to be preceded by the thirty years of the hidden life.

Perfection consists in doing God’s will, each one according to his vocation; St. Joseph’s vocation of silence and obscurity surpassed that of the Apostles because it bordered more nearly on the redemptive Incarnation. After Mary, Joseph was nearest to the Author of grace, and in the silence of Bethlehem, during the exile in Egypt, and in the little home of Nazareth he received more graces than any other saint.

His mission was a dual one.

As regards Mary, he preserved her virginity by contracting with her a true but altogether holy marriage. The angel of the Lord said to him: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 1:20; Luke 2:5). Mary is truly his wife. The marriage was a true one, as St. Thomas explains (IIIa, q. 29, a. 2) when showing its appropriateness. There should be no room for doubt, however light, regarding the honor of the Son and the Mother: if ever doubt did arise Joseph, the most informed and the least suspect witness, would be there to defend it. Besides, Mary would find help and protection in St. Joseph. He loved her with a pure and devoted love, in God and for God. Their union was stainless, and most respectful on the side of St. Joseph. Thus he was nearer than any other saint to the Mother of God and the spiritual Mother of men—and he too was a man. The beauty of the whole universe was nothing compared with that of the union of Mary and Joseph, a union created by the Most High, which ravished the angels and gave joy to the Lord.

As regards the Incarnate Word, Joseph watched over Him, protected Him, and contributed to His human education. He is called His foster-father, but the term does not express fully the mysterious supernatural relation between the two. A man becomes foster-father of a child normally as a result of an accident. But it was no accident in the case of St. Joseph: he had been created and put into the world for that purpose: it was the primary reason of his predestination and the reason for all the graces he received. Bossuet expressed this well:

If nature does not give a father’s heart, where will it be found? In other words, since Joseph was not Jesus’ father, how could he have a father’s heart in His regard?

Here we must recognize the action of God. It is by the power of God that Joseph has a father’s heart, and if nature fails God gives one with His own hand; for it is of God that it is written that He directs our inclinations where he wills…. He gives some a heart of flesh when He softens their nature by charity…. Does He not give all the faithful the hearts of children when He sends to them the Spirit of His Son? The Apostles feared the least danger, but God gave them a new heart and their courage became undaunted…. The same hand gave Joseph the heart of a father and Jesus the heart of a son. That is why Jesus obeys and Joseph does not fear to command. How has he the courage to command his Creator? Because the true Father of Jesus Christ, the God Who gives Him birth from all eternity, having chosen Joseph to be the father of His only Son in time, sent down into his bosom some ray or some spark of His own infinite love for His Son; that is what changed his heart, that is what gave him a father’s love, and Joseph the just man who feels that father’s heart within him feels also that God wishes him to use his paternal authority, so that he dares to command Him Who he knows is his Master. (16)

That is equivalent to saying that Joseph was predestined first to take the place of a father in regard to the Savior Who could have no earthly father, (17) and in consequence to have all the gifts which were given him that he might be a worthy Protector of the Incarnate Word.

Is it necessary to say with what fidelity St. Joseph guarded the triple deposit confided to him: the virginity of Mary, the Person of Jesus Christ, and the secret of the Eternal Father, that of the Incarnation of His Son, a secret to be guarded faithfully till the hour appointed for its revelation?

In a discourse delivered in the Consistorial Hall on the 19th of March, 1928, Pope Pius XI said, after having spoken on the missions of St. John the Baptist and St. Peter:

Between these two missions there appears that of St. Joseph, one of recollection and silence, one almost unnoticed and destined to be lit up only many centuries afterwards, a silence which would become a resounding hymn of glory, but only after many years. But where the mystery is deepest it is there precisely that the mission is highest and that a more brilliant cortège of virtues is required with their corresponding echo of merits. It was a unique and sublime mission, that of guarding the Son of God, the King of the world, that of protecting the virginity of Mary, that of entering into participation in the mystery hidden from the eyes of ages and so to co-operate in the Incarnation and the Redemption.

That is equivalently to state that Divine Providence conferred on St. Joseph all the graces he received in view of his special mission: in other words, St. Joseph was predestined first of all to be as a father to the Savior, and was then predestined to the glory and the grace which were becoming in one favored with so exceptional a vocation.

The Virtues and Gifts of St. Joseph

St. Joseph’s virtues are those especially of the hidden life, in a degree proportioned to that of his sanctifying grace: virginity, humility, poverty, patience, prudence, fidelity, simplicity, faith enlightened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, confidence in God and perfect charity. He preserved what had been confided to him with a fidelity proportioned to its inestimable value.

Bossuet makes this general observation about the virtues of the hidden life:

It is a common failing of men to give themselves entirely to what is outside and to neglect what is within; to work for mere appearances and to neglect what is solid and lasting; to think often of the impression they make and little of what they ought to be. That is why the most highly esteemed virtues are those which concern the conduct and direction of affairs. The hidden virtues, on the contrary, which are practiced away from the public view and under the eye of God alone, are not only neglected but hardly even heard of. And yet this is the secret of true virtue. . . a man must be built up interiorly in himself before he deserves to be given rank among others; and if this foundation is lacking, all the other virtues, however brilliant, will be mere display . . . they will not make the man according to God’s heart. Joseph sought God in simplicity; Joseph found God in detachment; Joseph enjoyed God’s company in obscurity. (18)

St. Joseph’s humility must have been increased by the thought of the gratuity of his exceptional vocation. He must have said to himself: why has the Most High given me, rather than any other man, His Son to watch over? Only because that was His good pleasure. Joseph was freely preferred from all eternity to all other men to whom the Lord could have given the same gifts and the same fidelity to prepare them for so exceptional a vocation. We see in St. Joseph’s predestination a reflection of the gratuitous predestination of Jesus and Mary. The knowledge of the value of the grace he received and of its absolute gratuitousness, far from injuring his humility, would strengthen it. He would think in his heart: “What have you that you have not received?”

Joseph appears the most humble of the saints after Mary—more humble than any of the angels. If he is the most humble he is by that fact the greatest, for the virtues are all connected and a person’s charity is as elevated as his humility is profound. “He that is lesser among you all, he is the greater” (Lk. 9:48).

Bossuet says well:

Though by an extraordinary grace of the Eternal Father he possessed the greatest treasure, it was far from Joseph’s thought to pride himself on his gifts or to make them known, but he hid himself as far as possible from mortal eyes, enjoying with God alone the mystery revealed to him and the infinite riches of which he was the custodian. (19) Joseph has in his house what could attract the eyes of the whole world, and the world does not know him; he guards a God-Man, and breathes not a word of it; he is the witness of so great a mystery, and he tastes it in secret without divulging it abroad. (20)

His faith cannot be shaken in spite of the darkness of the unexpected mystery. The word of God communicated to him by the angel throws light on the virginal conception of the Savior: Joseph might have hesitated to believe a thing so wonderful, but he believes it firmly in the simplicity of his heart. By his simplicity and his humility, he reaches up to divine heights.

Obscurity follows once more. Joseph was poor before receiving the secret of the Most High. He becomes still poorer when Jesus is born, for Jesus comes to separate men from everything so as to unite them to God. There is no room for the Savior in the last of the inns of Bethlehem. Joseph must have suffered from having nothing to offer to Mary and her Son.

His confidence in God was made manifest in trials. Persecution came soon after Jesus’ birth. Herod tried to put Him to death, and the head of the Holy Family was forced to conceal the child, to take refuge in a distant country where he was unknown and where he did not know how he could earn a living. But he set out on the journey relying on Divine Providence.

His love of God and of souls did not cease to increase during the hidden life of Nazareth; the Incarnate Word is an unfailing source of graces, ever newer and more choice, for docile souls who oppose no obstacle to His action. We have said already, when speaking of Mary, that the progress of such docile souls is one of uniform acceleration, that is to say, they are carried all the more powerfully to God the nearer they approach Him. This law of spiritual gravitation was realized in Joseph; his charity grew up to the time of his death, and the progress of his latter years was more rapid than that of his earlier years, for finding himself nearer to God he was more powerfully drawn by Him.

Along with the theological virtues the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are connected with charity, grew continuously. Those of understanding and of wisdom made his living faith more penetrating and more attuned to the divine. In a simple but most elevated way his contemplation rose to the infinite goodness of God. In its simplicity his contemplation was the most perfect after Mary’s.

His loving contemplation was sweet, but it demanded of him the most perfect spirit of abnegation and sacrifice when he recalled the words of Simeon: “This child will be. . . a sign that will be contradicted” and “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce.” He needed all his generosity to offer to God the Infant Jesus and His Mother Mary whom he loved incomparably more than himself.

St. Joseph’s death was a privileged one; St. Francis de Sales writes that it was a death of love. (21) The same holy doctor teaches with Suarez that St. Joseph was one of the saints who rose after the Resurrection of the Lord (Mt. 27:52 sqq.) and appeared in the city of Jerusalem; he holds also that these resurrections were definitive and that Joseph entered heaven then, body and soul. St. Thomas is much more reserved regarding this point. Though his first opinion was that the resurrections were definitive (22) he taught later, after an examination of St. Augustine’s arguments in the opposed sense, that this was not the case. (23)

St. Joseph’s Role in the Sanctification of Souls

The humble carpenter is glorified in heaven to the extent to which he was hidden on earth. He to whom the Incarnate Word was subject has now an incomparable power of intercession. Leo XIII, in his encyclical Quamquam pluries finds in St. Joseph’s mission in regard to the Holy Family “the reasons why he is Patron and Protector of the universal Church…. Just as Mary, Mother of the Savior, is spiritual mother of all Christians…. Joseph looks on all Christians as having been confided to himself…. He is the defender of the Holy Church which is truly the house of God and the kingdom of God on earth.”

What strikes us most in St. Joseph’s role till the end of time is that there are united in it in an admirable way apparently opposed prerogatives. His influence is universal over the whole Church, and yet, like Divine Providence, it descends to the least details; “model of workmen,” he takes an interest in everyone who turns to him. He is the most universal of the saints, and yet he helps a poor man in his ordinary daily needs. His action is primarily of the spiritual order, and yet it extends to temporal affairs; he is the support of families and of communities, the hope of the sick. He watches over Christians of all conditions, of all countries, over fathers of families, husbands and wives, consecrated virgins; over the rich to inspire them to distribute their possessions charitably, and over the poor so as to help them. He is attentive to the needs of great sinners and of souls advanced in virtue. He is the patron of a happy death, of lost causes; he is terrible to the demon, and St. Teresa tells us that he is the guide of interior souls in the ways of prayer. His influence is a wonderful reflection of that of Divine Wisdom which “reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly” (Wis. 8:1).

He has been clothed and will remain clothed in Divine splendor. Grace has become fruitful in him and he will share its fruit with all who strive to attain to the life which is “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

 

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964), consultor to the Holy Office and other Congregations, taught at the Angelicum in Rome from 1909 to 1960 and authored over 500 books and articles.

 

Endnotes

(1) Sermo in Nativitatem Virginis Mariae, IVa consideratio.

(2) Sermo I de S. Joseph, c. iii, Opera, Lyon, 1650, t. IV, p. 254.

(3) Summa de donis S. Joseph, ann. 1522. There is a new edition by Fr Berthier, Rome, 1897.

(4) In Summam S. Thomae, IIIa, q. 29, disp. 8, sect. I.

(5) Sermone di S. Giuseppe, Discorsi Morali, Naples, 1841.

(6) Saint Joseph Intime, Paris, 1920.

(7) Tractatus de Sancto Joseph, Paris, 1908.

(8) La Grandezza di San Giuseppe, Rome, 1927, pp. 36 sqq.

(9) Cf. Dict. Théol Cath., art. Joseph, col. 1518.

(10) Homil. II super Missus est.

(11) Sermo I de S. Joseph.

(12) Summa de donis sancti Joseph, Pars IIIa, c. xviii. This work was very highly praised by Benedict XIV.

(13) In Summam S. Thomae, IIIa, q. 29, disp. 8, sect. I.

(14) La Grandezza di San Giuseppe, Rome, 1927, pp. 36 sqq.

(15) Cf. IIIa, q. 24, a. 1, 2, 3, 4.

(16) First Panegyric of St. Joseph, edit. Lebarcq, t. II, pp. 135 sqq.

(17) We read that Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph. Joseph in his humility must have been confounded that he, the least of the three, should be the head of the Holy Family.

(18) Second Panegyric on St. Joseph.

(19) First Panegyric on St. Joseph.

(20) Second Panegyric on St. Joseph.

(21) Treatise of the Love of God, Bk. VII, ch. xiii.

(22) Cf. in Matth. xxvii and IV Sent., dist. 42, q. 1, a. 3.

(23) Cf. IIIa, q. 53, a. 3, ad 2.

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The Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph

Published on March 20, 2012 by in Marian Devotion

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We are pleased to present to you this special devotion of the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph, along with the story, according to some traditions, of how the devotion came into being. – Ed.

Two Fathers of the Franciscan order were sailing along the coast of Flanders, when a terrible tempest arose, which sank the vessel, with its three hundred passengers. The two Fathers had sufficient presence of mind to seize hold of a plank, upon which they were tossed to and fro upon the waves, for three days and nights. In their danger and affliction, their whole recourse was to St. Joseph, begging his assistance in their sad condition. The Saint, thus invoked, appeared in the habit of a young man of beautiful features, encouraged them to confide in his assistance, and, as their pilot, conducted them into a safe harbor. They, desirous to know who their benefactor was asked his name, that they might gratefully acknowledge so great a blessing and favor. He told them he was St. Joseph, and advised them daily to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary seven times, in memory of his seven dolors or griefs, and of his seven joys, and then disappeared.

Recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be after each number.

1. St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the Sorrow with which your heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep Joy that you felt when the angel revealed to you the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

2. St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter Sorrow which your heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the Joy which you felt in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by your prayers that our heart, purified by your protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

3. St. Joseph, by the Sorrow with which your heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the Joy that inundated your soul at your privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

4. St. Joseph, by the Sorrow when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by your Joy when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

5. St. Joseph, by your Sorrow when told to fly into Egypt, and by your Joy in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like you entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

6. St. Joseph, by the Sorrow of your heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the Joy in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of your salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

7. St. Joseph, by the bitter Sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed your heart, and by the holy Joy which inundated your soul in recovering your Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate you not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share your eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with you His divine mercies forever.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who in Your ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Your most holy Mother; grant, we beseech You, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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Dr. Mark Miravalle’s Foreword to St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph

During the Fatima solar miracle of October 13, 1917, St. Joseph appeared with the Child Jesus and blessed the world. The following is the account of Sr. Lucia from her Memoirs:

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the sign of the cross with their hands.

This Josephite event is only understandable in light of the heart of the Fatima message, revealed on July 13, 1917. Our Lady of the Rosary revealed that following grave global event, inclusive of the worldwide spread of the error of Communism, a conditional second world war, the annihilation of various nations, and much suffering for the Holy Father and the Church, that eventually, “in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph” and “a period of peace would be granted to the world.” [...]

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St. Joseph in the Messages of Our Lady of America, Part 3 from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The following are messages of St. Joseph as contained in the messages of Our Lady of America. Cardinal Raymond Burke (then Bishop Burke) wrote a letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 31, 1997. He establishes that, in his canonical opinion, these apparitions are already approved in virtue of the repeated support of Archbishop Paul F. Leibold, spiritual of the visionary Sr. Mary Ephrem. These messages of St. Joseph comprise one of the most extraordinary and profound revelations regarding the truth that, after Our Lady, St. Joseph is the greatest saint of all time. – Ed.

Message of Early October, 1956

In early October, 1956, about a week after Our Lady’s first appearance, St, Joseph, though I did not see him at this time, spoke to me the following words:

“It is true, my daughter, that immediately after my conception I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin.

I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men.

[...]

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The following is an excerpt from The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics compiled by Raphael Brown. – Asst. Ed.

AT THIS TIME, although he was not very old, St. Joseph was worn out in strength and health after twenty years of hard work for his family, and the Lord now ordained that he was to spend his last eight years of life in illness and suffering, in order to increase his sanctity through the practice of patience and resignation. Mary therefore lovingly persuaded him to give up his work, which Jesus had been helping him to perform, often miraculously making it easier for him.
Now Mary gladly volunteered to support the family, as she had done in Egypt, by spinning and weaving linen and wool, with the help of a good and loyal woman friend. Consequently she often spent the greater part of the night at work, although Jesus sometimes enabled her to accomplish a great, deal in a short time.
During his last years St. Joseph suffered a series of fevers, violent headaches and a very painful rheumatism which made him weak and helpless. As Mary observed how he bore all his sufferings with humble patience and supernatural love, her affection and admiration for him increased every day, and she joyfully labored for his support and comfort. His greatest consolation was that she should prepare and serve his meals herself, and she often made special efforts to get him choice foods. She would often take off his shoes for him and support him with her arms and console him with kind and inspiring words.

[...]

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St. Joseph the Worker

Published on April 17, 2010 by in General Mariology

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St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph, Part V

Of all St. Joseph’s titles, this is one of the best known and most popular. For it highlights what in material terms was clearly the saint’s major contribution to the Redeemer’s mission: namely, his role as breadwinner for the Holy Family through his work as a carpenter.

But this particular title serves at the same time to open a window on the world of work as such, inviting us to examine the significance of work in itself and, more importantly, in God’s creative and redemptive plan for mankind. In which plan every single one of us is involved in some way and to some degree, since we are all born subject to the law of work understood in its broadest sense. In this perspective, then, the entire human race may be said to constitute the “workers of the world.” But in applying Karl Marx’s label we need to emphasize that all human work, howsoever humble and menial, is dignified and never demeaning. Nor should the label be misapplied, Marxist-fashion, as an engine of envy and class-warfare.

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The following excerpts are taken from the The Life of St. Joseph (first referred to as the “Revelations of St. Joseph” in the original Italian) as received through a series of inner locutions from Our Lord to Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B., abbess of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy, during the middle of the 18th century (1743-1766). These revelations have received wide acceptance, both theological and popular, in Italy and Germany, where copies and translations of the text were originally distributed. Mother Baij also received from Jesus through inner locutions the contents which presently make up the Inner Life of Jesus Christ, a five-volume work presently published in Italian and German. Pope Benedict XV reportedly granted initial approval and encouraging support for the revelations received by Mother Baij, according to the text’s introduction. Moreover, numerous theologians in the past two centuries have likewise granted their theological support and approval of this series of revelations.

The Life of St. Joseph as described in these locutions provides a profound and inspiring example of Christian purity, patience, gentleness, and coredemption, which certainly would be appropriate for the man that the Church has designated as the greatest saint after Our Lady.
—Ed.

Joseph’s Presentation in the Temple

When the period of time had elapsed which was prescribed by the Law{footnote}[The term "law" has apparently been used with either of two meanings throughout the book; at times it seems to refer to the general, basic law of love of God and of neighbor given to both Jews and Gentiles (see Luke, 10:27); at other times it seems rather to comprise or at least put emphasis upon the juridical law, those detailed prescriptions given to the Jews together with the basic law. We have endeavored to distinguish them by capitalizing the word wherever the juridical law seems to be specifically referred to or included.-Trans.]{/footnote} concerning women who had become mothers, the parents set out for Jerusalem. Joseph’s mother went to the temple for the rite of her purification, and to present her son,{footnote}The Law recognized only first-born sons. These were highly honored according to the ancient Law, and enjoyed great advantages. They had special rights and privileges (see Menochio and Cornelius a Lapide, Comm. to Chap. 25 of Genesis). Consequently, to be a first­ born was very important, and since Joseph was to gather together within himself all the endowments and privileges of the Patriarchs, he was destined to enjoy all the rights and privileges of first-born sons.{/footnote} to offer him up, and to redeem him again, all according to the legal prescriptions. They brought substantial gifts for the temple, considerably more than was customary, as a token of their gratitude for this God-given blessing of such a child.

[...]

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The following excerpts are taken from the The Life of St. Joseph (first referred to as the “Revelations of St. Joseph” in the original Italian) as received through a series of inner locutions from Our Lord to Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B., abbess of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy, during the middle of the 18th century (1743-1766). These revelations have received wide acceptance, both theological and popular, in Italy and Germany, where copies and translations of the text were originally distributed. Mother Baij also received from Jesus through inner locutions the contents which presently make up the Inner Life of Jesus Christ, a five-volume work presently published in Italian and German. Pope Benedict XV reportedly granted initial approval and encouraging support for the revelations received by Mother Baij, according to the text’s introduction. Moreover, numerous theologians in the past two centuries have likewise granted their theological support and approval of this series of revelations.

The Life of St. Joseph as described in these locutions provides a profound and inspiring example of Christian purity, patience, gentleness, and coredemption, which certainly would be appropriate for the man that the Church has designated as the greatest saint after Our Lady.
—Ed.

 

Joseph’s Departure from Nazareth – The First Years of His Sojourn in Jerusalem

Early in the morning Joseph gathered a few clothes into a small bundle and then betook himself to prayer to beseech God to stand by him on his journey, saying: “My God, You see that I am about to leave my home to go to Jerusalem, in order to accomplish there Your divine will. I am leaving as a poor man-a beggar. Even though I am now much poorer than before, I am content, because I believe it pleases You to have me to be so. Although I have been abused and beaten and robbed of my property here in my own native village, I ask You not to punish my relatives or the villagers, but rather, that You forgive them for all the injuries they have inflicted upon me.

[...]

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The following excerpts are taken from the The Life of St. Joseph (first referred to as the “Revelations of St. Joseph” in the original Italian) as received through a series of inner locutions from Our Lord to Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B., abbess of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy, during the middle of the 18th century (1743-1766). These revelations have received wide acceptance, both theological and popular, in Italy and Germany, where copies and translations of the text were originally distributed. Mother Baij also received from Jesus through inner locutions the contents which presently make up the Inner Life of Jesus Christ, a five-volume work presently published in Italian and German. Pope Benedict XV reportedly granted initial approval and encouraging support for the revelations received by Mother Baij, according to the text’s introduction. Moreover, numerous theologians in the past two centuries have likewise granted their theological support and approval of this series of revelations.

The Life of St. Joseph as described in these locutions provides a profound and inspiring example of Christian purity, patience, gentleness, and coredemption, which certainly would be appropriate for the man that the Church has designated as the greatest saint after Our Lady.
—Ed.

Joseph Advances in Wisdom and in the Fear and Love of God

As he grew older Joseph made great strides in the practice of virtue, in the love for God, and in the study{footnote}This is of great value in correcting the wrong opinion that some devotees of St. Joseph had formed concerning him. They considered him a great saint indeed, but quite simple and hence not very intelligent. However, Isidore of Isolani thought of him quite differently when he stated that: “St. Joseph in his wisdom and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit understood the Prophets, was well acquainted with the Psalms, and also comprehended the difficult transmissions of the patriarchs” (Summa de donis S. Joseph, par. 3, chap. 3).

[...]

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Chapter   7

Joseph is Molested by the Devil.  His Patience in Tribulations and Persecutions

The devil, inveterate enemy of all that is good, foamed with rage at the marvelous virtue which shone forth in Joseph. Satan’s wrath was so fierce because he saw that Joseph’s example stimulated many others to the practice of virtue. He was determined, in one way or another to incite him to anger or impatience, and to divert him from his great love for God, and from his fervent enthusiasm for serving Him. To this purpose, Satan conceived the plan of stirring up against Joseph a number of people who were leading bad lives; he implanted in their hearts a great aversion, and even a terrific hatred for this holy soul, inasmuch as Joseph’s virtuous activities necessarily brought upon them reproach and shame. Certain undisciplined youths conspired together and agreed to bombard him with invective whenever they would meet him. This they carried out-even to the extent of purposely arranging for meetings with Joseph-and then, as they encountered him, they would begin to scoff and jeer at him. The saintly Joseph would merely bow his head, and then, lifting his heart up to God, he would beg for himself the grace of submissiveness, and for his enemies that they be enlightened and realize their error. When the youths observed that Joseph paid no attention to their sallies, they labeled him a blockhead, a coward, and a frightened rabbit, incapable of speech.

[...]

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The following excerpts are taken from the The Life of St. Joseph (first referred to as the “Revelations of St. Joseph” in the original Italian) as received through a series of inner locutions from Our Lord to Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B., abbess of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy, during the middle of the 18th century (1743-1766). These revelations have received wide acceptance, both theological and popular, in Italy and Germany, where copies and translations of the text were originally distributed. Mother Baij also received from Jesus through inner locutions the contents which presently make up the Inner Life of Jesus Christ, a five-volume work presently published in Italian and German. Pope Benedict XV reportedly granted initial approval and encouraging support for the revelations received by Mother Baij, according to the text’s introduction. Moreover, numerous theologians in the past two centuries have likewise granted their theological support and approval of this series of revelations.

The Life of St. Joseph as described in these locutions provides a profound and inspiring example of Christian purity, patience, gentleness, and coredemption, which certainly would be appropriate for the man that the Church has designated as the greatest saint after Our Lady.
—Ed.

 

Joseph was privileged to talk very early as well as to walk. The first words that he lisped were “My God!” That is what the angel had taught him, and upon his sudden awakening, this expression burst forth from his lips. His parents heard it with amazement and deep emotion, and were filled with jubilation over their son’s first spoken words. They were particularly joyous because his first words were directed to God, and a call upon Him for help. Joseph was destined to use these same words very often, and rightly so, as he had given himself completely to God, Who was his all.

[...]

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The Oil of St. Joseph

Published on May 19, 2009 by in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph’s Chaplet and Cord, the 7 Sorrows and the 7 Joys from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The Litany of St. Joseph

Published on May 19, 2009 by in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph and Fatima

Published on May 19, 2009 by in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph and Bl. Andre

Published on May 19, 2009 by in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph: Devotion in the Middle Ages from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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St. Joseph: Head of the Holy Family from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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St. Joseph in Scripture

Published on May 19, 2009 by in St. Joseph

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St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Our Lady and St. Joseph: Guardian of the Redeemer from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The following excerpts are taken from the The Life of St. Joseph (first referred to as the “Revelations of St. Joseph” in the original Italian) as received through a series of inner locutions from Our Lord to Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B., abbess of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy, during the middle of the 18th century (1743-1766). These revelations have received wide acceptance, both theological and popular, in Italy and Germany, where copies and translations of the text were originally distributed. Mother Baij also received from Jesus through inner locutions the contents which presently make up the Inner Life of Jesus Christ, a five-volume work presently published in Italian and German. Pope Benedict XV reportedly granted initial approval and encouraging support for the revelations received by Mother Baij, according to the text’s introduction. Moreover, numerous theologians in the past two centuries have likewise granted their theological support and approval of this series of revelations.

The Life of St. Joseph as described in these locutions provides a profound and inspiring example of Christian purity, patience, gentleness, and coredemption, which certainly would be appropriate for the man that the Church has designated as the greatest saint after Our Lady.
—Ed.

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Joseph, Man of God

On the occasion of his pilgrimage to Nazareth, Paul VI (1) described the Holy Family’s home as “the school where one begins to understand the life of Jesus, that is, the school of the gospel.” What can also be said of that sacred home school is that there one begins to understand why and how the carpenter of Nazareth grew to be such a spiritual giant.


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Joseph, Man of Faith

St. Joseph is acclaimed by the Church as “the just and obedient man who helped to carry out the mysteries of our salvation” (1). The word “obedient” here refers to “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5). And what this text tells us is that St. Joseph gave an instant and unequivocal Yes to everything God had revealed, besides embracing and carrying out the least indication of his will. Indeed, what the Redeemer was later to say of himself could equally be applied in its measure to the guardian of his formative years: “My meat is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish the task he gave me” (Jn 4:34).

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St. Joseph the Worker

Of all St. Joseph’s titles, this is one of the best known and most popular. For it highlights what in material terms was clearly the saint’s major contribution to the Redeemer’s mission: namely, his role as breadwinner for the Holy Family through his work as a carpenter.

But this particular title serves at the same time to open a window on the world of work as such, inviting us to examine the significance of work in itself and, more importantly, in God’s creative and redemptive plan for mankind. In which plan every single one of us is involved in some way and to some degree, since we are all born subject to the law of work understood in its broadest sense. In this perspective, then, the entire human race may be said to constitute the “workers of the world.” But in applying Karl Marx’s label we need to emphasize that all human work, howsoever humble and menial, is dignified and never demeaning. Nor should the label be misapplied, Marxist-fashion, as an engine of envy and class-warfare.

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“Go to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you” (1) (Gen 41:55)

The original Biblical phrase is applied to the Old Testament figure of the Patriarch Joseph; however, we can apply it to St. Joseph, as did St. Teresa of Avila.

St. Joseph and the Family

St. Joseph is described by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter,” Guardian of the Redeemer,” as “the Guardian of the Church for these times,” thus augmenting the role of St. Joseph as Patron of Families (2). Today, the family worldwide is under continuous and mounting attack, often resulting in the disintegration of marriage and family life. Christian values are eroded and not passed on to younger generations, leading to the loss of special graces God bestows on families in the sacraments.

The aim of the Apostolate of St. Joseph is to restore holiness within the family through the invocation and patronage of St. Joseph and St. Monica (the patient, prayerful mother of St. Augustine) (3). We implore them to intercede for us at the throne of God (Rev 5:8; 8:3-4) particularly for family members who have strayed from Him.

It is perfectly true that we should pray directly to Jesus for our needs. However, the New Testament and the tradition of the Church have shown us clearly that we may also ask for the intercession of the saints who are part of the eternal family in heaven (cf. Jas 5:16; 1 Tim 2:5; Rev 5:8; 8:3-4). St. Basil says in his liturgy of 373, “By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints … by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your Holy Name” (4).

We invoke St. Joseph, traditionally honored as the Patron Saint of Families. As Protector of the Church, he will care for us as he did Jesus and Mary in his earthly life (Mt 1:19; 2:13-15). The phrase “Go to Joseph.” from Genesis (41:55) refers to the Patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob. St. Teresa of Avila regarded him as a forerunner of St. Joseph, in that he cared for and protected his family and we can see him in the same way (5).

Pope John Paul II wrote, “The patronage of St. Joseph must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church … for her renewed commitment to evangelize in the world and to re-evangelize the lands where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and now put hard to the test” (6). The mission of the Christian is to respond to Jesus’ call to spread his Word throughout the world. The Apostolate aims to do this beginning with our families.

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St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family

As an old liturgical prayer proudly proclaims (1), nowhere in the whole wide world has the sun ever shone on anything more special and distinguished than the holy house of Nazareth. For that humble abode tucked away in an obscure corner of Galilee was the dwelling-place, over the best part of his lifetime, for the Word Incarnate, Emmanuel in person, along with his mother and father.

This was the house wherein Mary and Joseph started to rebuild their lives on returning from exile in Egypt. How happy they must have been to be safely back once more among their own people and settled in their own home. What is more, they now had the added joy of being a little family—indeed, the Holy Family—having received from the Almighty, as the fruit of their virginal union, the golden gift of a Son to share their lives and their home.

How old was the Child, we may wonder, by the time they returned from Egypt? Though no reliable records are available, we may reasonably conjecture that Jesus was by now at least beyond his toddler years. And he was surely a beautiful and winsome youngster, the pride and delight of his devoted parents who, in every sense of the word, adored him. For he was the divine Messiah sent by the Father. And, awesome though it was for Mary and Joseph to contemplate, they were invested with all the responsibilities and rights of parenthood in his regard, their duty being to rear him as a citizen of the very world he had created and was preparing to redeem.

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"It was through the exercise of his fatherhood," John Paul II explains, "that Joseph was called to serve the person and mission of Jesus" (1). To put this another way, what defined the saint’s role in God’s salvific plan was his status as father of the Savior.

At what point, we may ask ourselves, did Joseph effectively assume his fatherly duties? He did so on the day of his wedding celebration, which entailed the official reception of his bride into his home—and along with her, of course, the Divine Infant nestling in her womb. Both mother and unborn Child thereupon came directly under St. Joseph’s authority, care and guardianship. That is to say, from that moment he became head of the Holy Family.

Meanwhile, as an Advent prayer says, it was "with a love beyond all telling" that the Virgin Mary bore the Infant Christ in her womb. And, like every expectant mother, she looked forward with eager longing to the birth of her little one and the sheer joy of holding him in her arms for the first time. Which happy prospect, she and Joseph naturally assumed, would take place here in their home.

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Spouse of the Virgin Mary

St. Augustine’s formula goes to the very heart of the matter. "Joseph," he said, "is everything he is through Mary and because of Mary" (1). What this tells us is that the Saint’s whole meaning and mission consist in his being spouse of Mary and legal father of her Divine Child. These roles are the twin pillars upon which rests everything we believe and venerate about the Carpenter of Nazareth. Therefore, to get him more sharply into focus, we must consider his august status within the Holy Family as spouse and father. We begin with the former.

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St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Part II from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Part III from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Part I from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The nuptials of Mary and Joseph were solemnized in the Temple, and, after receiving the sacerdotal blessing, the newly-married couple would be accompanied by their relatives and friends, walking in procession with music and rejoicing and the waving of myrtle and palm-branches, to their abode, the house which Joachim and Anne had occupied near the Probatic Pool. Perhaps—for this was a Jewish custom where it was designed to show honor—some of these branches would be cast under the feet of the Blessed Virgin and her spouse. Mary was to have her one scene of honor and pomp upon earth, as her Divine Son was to have His in His descent from the Mount of Olives on the road to His Passion, when He was to espouse to Himself the Church upon the Cross of Calvary. The friends of the bridegroom and the bride would on their arrival partake of the marriage-feast which had been prepared for them, an instance of which practice we see in the marriage at Cana in Galilee where the Mother of Jesus was present, to which our Lord, as well as His disciples, was invited, and which He honored with His presence and first public miracle.

After the feast, and as the sun went down, the guests would depart, leaving the married pair alone with God and with their good angels, who, we may piously believe, were now called to witness the interchange of those secret words which revealed the hitherto hidden vows, of the existence of which, however, we have reason to be well persuaded that the Holy Spirit had already interiorly assured them. It was now, then, that, according to the opinion of Fathers and Doctors, Mary and Joseph, while remaining bound together by the contract and tie of matrimony, renewed in a solemn and absolute form their respective vows of perpetual virginity. And thus, while continuing in the face of the law and in verity husband and wife, they were to live together as brother and sister, innocent and immaculate, like the angels of God in Heaven. They might be compared to a rose and a lily growing together in one vase. It was, indeed, an incomparable marriage, uniting all that is sweet and pure in the two estates; so that the devout servant of Mary and Joseph, John Gerson, speaking before the Council of Constance of this most pure marriage, gave expression to his ecstasy, when contemplating it, by exclaiming that in them virginity had espoused itself. Nothing in this marriage but what was heavenly, nothing savoring of earth. Holy doctors (as has been already observed) have interpreted the “sealed book” spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, (Is. 29:11) which should be delivered to one that is learned, as the Blessed Virgin, who is also called “a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up,” (Cant. 4:12) so that no foot of man should enter the former or profane hand invade the waters of the latter, and that it was to Joseph that this book was given. And when was it given? No doubt it was on the solemn day of his espousals with Mary that Joseph had this mystical book committed into his keeping. The book was the symbol of Mary’s virginity, and it was given to the most pure Joseph in order that he might guard it in his virginal hands. And Joseph, knowing before his espousals that the Blessed Virgin had consecrated her virginity to God, understood the mystery of the sealed book, and received it into his custody only to respect and to guard it. [...]

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Today, on the first of May, we observe Labor Day. We Christians place the celebration under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker. We observe such an important day with initiatives that tend to emphasize the importance and value of the work by which the human person, transforming nature and adapting it to his needs, realizes himself as a human being.

The Lord’s invitation to subdue the earth (cf. Gen 2:28), that we find at the beginning of the history of salvation, holds a definitive and contemporary importance. Creation is a gift that God entrusts to the human being so that by carefully cultivating and safeguarding it, it can supply his needs. From our work comes the “daily bread” that we pray for in the Our Father.

One can say that through his work the human person becomes more human. This is why industriousness is a virtue. For industriousness effectively to permit the person to become more human, it must always be joined with the social disposition of work. Only in this way will we protect the inalienable dignity of the person and the human and social value of the work that is done. To the watchful protection of St. Joseph the Worker we entrust those who belong to the great family of work in every place in the world.

Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a longstanding tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a “Marian” month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!

May it really be a month of intense prayer with Mary! This is the wish I wholeheartedly formulate for each of you, Brothers and Sisters, recommending to you once again the daily prayer of the Rosary. It is a simple and repetitive prayer but very profitable for drawing us into the mysteries of Christ and of his and our Mother. It is also a way of praying that the Church knows is pleasing to Our Lady. We are invited to make use of it, especially in the more difficult moments of our earthly pilgrimage.

Beginning the month of Mary, I invite all of you to join with me in praying for workers, especially those who experience difficulties in the workplace. We also need to intensify our confident and unceasing prayer for peace in the Holy Land where we hope that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, who are so dear to me, will come to live in security and serenity. May the intercession of Our Lady and of St. Joseph, her Spouse and the Guardian of the Redeemer, obtain it for us…

– Excerpted from May 1, 2002 General Audience.

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The Litany of St. Joseph

Published on March 18, 2006 by in Marian Devotion

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Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
pray for us.
St. Joseph,
pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David,
pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs,
pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God,
pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God,
pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ,
pray for us.

Head of the Holy Family,
pray for us.
Joseph most just,
pray for us.
Joseph most chaste,
pray for us.
Joseph most prudent,
pray for us.
Joseph most strong,
pray for us.
Joseph most obedient,
pray for us.
Joseph most faithful,
pray for us.
Mirror of patience,
pray for us.
Lover of poverty,
pray for us.
Model of artisans,
pray for us.
Glory of home life,
pray for us.
Guardian of virgins,
pray for us.
Pillar of families,
pray for us.
Solace of the wretched,
pray for us.
Hope of the sick,
pray for us.
Patron of the dying,
pray for us.
Terror of demons,
pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.
have mercy on us.

V. He made him the lord of his household.
R. And prince over all his possessions

Let us pray: O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.

Saint Joseph, pray for us

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Novena to St. Joseph

Published on March 18, 2006 by in Marian Devotion

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O Glorious St. Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you do we raise our hearts and hands, to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special favor we now implore (mention your petition).

Then say the following seven times in honor of the seven sorrows and joys of St. Joseph:

O Glorious St. Joseph! Through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist us.

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It is very difficult for the unspiritual-minded to think of a golden mean between marriage and being alone. They think either that a person is tied up with someone in wedded life or else that he lives in solitude. The two are not exclusive, for there is such a thing as a combination of marriage and solitude, and that is absolute virginity with wedded life, in which there is a union of the soul of one with another and yet an absolute separateness of body. Only the joys of the spirit are shared, never the pleasures of the flesh.

Today the vow of virginity is taken only outside of human espousals or marriage, but among some Jews and among some great Christian saints, the vow of virginity was sometimes taken along with espousals. Marriage then became the frame into which the picture of virginity was placed. Marriage was like a sea on which the bark of carnal union never sailed, but one from which one fished the sustenance for life. [...]

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