Recently in Saint Joseph Category

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Blessed Marie-Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P.

Ten months before his death on March 10, 1869, Father Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. pronounced a very special vow. His desire was to fulfill a vow to Saint Joseph that he had made earlier, on March 19, 1866, by which he dedicated himself to work for the insertion of the name of Saint Joseph in the Canon of the Mass, and for the approbation by the Church of a proper Mass in honour of Saint Joseph, if his project for the foundation of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany were brought to fruition within two years.

Given the emergence of the new community of Bethany, Father Lataste was obliged to pay his debt to Saint Joseph: he made the offering of his life to obtain that Saint Joseph be declared patron of the universal Church, and that the name of Saint Joseph be inserted in the Canon of the Mass, on the condition that Saint Joseph take charge of his work for rehabilitated women, and supply for the want of human support. On May 10, 1868, Father Lataste entrusted to Father Jandel, O.P. a letter for Pope Pius IX requesting the above-mentioned honours for Saint Joseph. Father Lataste said nothing about the content of his missive to the Pope; it remained secret until Father Jandel revealed what happened when the Pope opened the letter.

The intention for which Father Lataste offered his life was fulfilled by a motu proprio of Blessed John XXIII that became effective on December 8, 1962. Father Lataste was beatified on June 3, 2012 at Besançon.

Go to Joseph With Us

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Dear readers of Vultus Christi,

The needs of our growing community are many. The purchase and renovation of Silverstream Priory is a daunting undertaking, but our confidence in Divine Providence and in Saint Joseph is immense. At this particular time it is crucial that we make a novena to Saint Joseph for certain urgent needs. Will you join us in prayer? Please say the prayer below for the next nine days, June 18 --26. The novena will end on June 27th, the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I thank you for your support.

Novena Prayer to Saint Joseph

O glorious Saint JOSEPH,
thou art our advocate and our defender,
our father and our friend,
who on the word of the angel speaking to thee in the night,
didst put fear aside to take MARY, thy Virgin Bride into thy home,
and, even in poverty and in exile,
didst provide security for JESUS, the blessed Fruit of her womb.

Thou art the good provider
upon whose resources and generosity we rely
to acquire the entire property of Silverstream;
to renovate it;
and to maintain it for years to come
in security and in peace,
in the beauty of holiness,
and in perpetual adoration
of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

O Joseph, first adorer of the Sacred Humanity of the Word,
thou art not indifferent to His designs upon Silverstream Priory
and upon those sons of Saint Benedict who, by His grace alone,
must struggle to make it a school of the Lord's service,
a sanctuary of adoration for all,
and a haven of peace for priests.

Humble and powerful Saint Joseph,
who didst appear at Knock,
together with the Mother of God,
with Saint John the Beloved Disciple,
and with the Lamb of Sacrifice,
thy mission in Ireland is far from ended.
Visit Silverstream Priory, then.
Provide for our fathers and brothers there
as thou hast provided for so many in the past,
and we shall publish abroad
the wonders obtained through thy intercession
to the glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Go to Joseph

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Go to Joseph in thy joys, thou wilt rejoice the more.
Go to Joseph in thy grief, when death knocks at thy door.
Go to Joseph no matter when, thy refuge he will be.
He holds the key to Jesus' Heart, Its treasures are for thee!

Saint Joseph in May

The month of May begins with a feast of Saint Joseph. It is significant that the commemoration of Saint Joseph both precedes and follows the heart of the whole liturgical year: the glorious Pasch of the Lord. We celebrated Saint Joseph on March 19th; he returns to us again today.

Saint Joseph is never far from the Blessed Virgin Mary, his immaculate spouse and, yes, his best friend, the friend of his heart, the love of his life, the unfailing cause of his joy in the midst of anxieties, hardship, and sorrow. Saint Joseph participated intimately in all those sorrows of hers that announced and prefigured the mysteries of Christ's passion, death, and burial: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the disappearance of the boy Jesus in Jerusalem. If you would empathize with the Heart of Mary, go to Joseph.

In a 2006 Regina Caeli address, Pope Benedict XVI explained the link between Paschaltide and the popular dedication of the month of May to the Blessed Virgin. The Holy Father said this:

In the days which followed the Lord's resurrection, the Apostles remained amongst themselves, comforted by the presence of Mary, and after the Ascension they persevered together with her in prayer awaiting Pentecost. Our Lady was for them mother and teacher, a role she continues to develop for the Christians of every age. Each year in Paschaltide, we relive most intensely this experience and maybe for this reason the popular tradition has consecrated to Mary the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost. This month . . . is useful for us to rediscover the maternal function which she develops in our lives, that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord.

Saint Joseph and the Mystical Body of Christ

Similarly, Paschaltide discloses for us the ongoing role of Saint Joseph in the economy of salvation. During Paschaltide we read the Acts of the Apostles, the continuation of the life of Jesus Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church. In the life of the infant Church, as in the life of the Infant Christ, Saint Joseph is present: vigilant, interceding, protecting the poor, the vulnerable, and the weak. This hidden but very real role of Saint Joseph continues through history.

Joseph, having held in his arms the Body of the Infant Christ, having nourished and protected Him, cannot forsake His Mystical Body, the Church. Even the Protestant theologian Karl Barth was compelled to write: "If I were a Roman Catholic theologian, I would lift Saint Joseph up. He took care of the Child; he takes care of the Church." Saint Joseph watches over each member of the Mystical Body with the same devotion, the same tenderness, and the same strength with which he watched over the precious members of Our Lord's Sacred Humanity.

Saint Joseph and Immigrants

We recommend immigrants to Saint Joseph. He knows their struggles. He knows their anxieties, their hardships, and the fears. Saint Joseph was, after all, an immigrant in Egypt. He arrived there, in a strange land, with his Virgin Spouse and her Infant Son. He had to find housing, to look for work, to endure the suspicion, the prejudice, and the slights that are the lot of immigrants in every time and place.

Saint Joseph and Priests

And we recommend priests to Saint Joseph. The Church, in her wisdom, proposes to her priests two prayers in honour of Saint Joseph each day, one before Holy Mass, and one after. Every priest can find in Saint Joseph a friend, a model, a protector. Saint Joseph stands ready a every moment to introduce priests to a deeper intimacy with his Spouse, the Virgin Mary.

If you want to help priests, entrust them to Saint Joseph. All priests, especially parish priests, are exposed to being criticized and judged. It is a particular form of suffering that accompanies every priest from the day of his first Mass until the day of his last. I believe it was Archbishop Fulton Sheen who said that all priests are lacerated by the tongues of the pious! He knew of what he spoke; his own biography was entitled The Passion of Fulton Sheen. An effective way of countering the sins against charity that wound and discourage all priests is to entrust them to Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph and Work

We recommend workers and those without work to Saint Joseph. People without meaningful work -- be it manual or intellectual -- fall more easily into depression. They have no self-esteem. They go from one thing to the next never finding the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from having a responsibility and from a job well done. Today let us not forget those suffering from idleness and unemployment. There is nothing more degrading to a human person. Even the sick and the very old find joy in work, in rendering the little service, in having others count on them for something.

Saint Joseph and the Dying

Finally, we recommend the dying to Saint Joseph. We will all want Saint Joseph near us at the hour of our death. Saint Joseph visits the dying because they are so much like little infants. They are vulnerable, weak, and subject to the attacks of evil spirits. Saint Joseph, exquisitely tender for souls redeemed by the Blood of Christ, is the "terror of demons." He is the defense of those in the throes of the final combat. If you want to die in the company of Saint Joseph, live in the company of Saint Joseph. Pray to him, seek his company every day.

Saint Joseph is very close to us on this first day of May. Be close to him. He will guide you into the heart of the Mystery. There you will find his beloved Spouse, the Virgin Mary. There you will find the very Body of Christ: His glorious Body made present in the Eucharist, and His Mystical Body, the Church.

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Quemadmodum Deus
Blessed Pope Pius IX
8 December 1870

The Guardian of His Choicest Treasures

As almighty God appointed Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, over all the land of Egypt to save grain for the people, so when the fullness of time had come and He was about to send to earth His only-begotten Son, the Savior of the world, He chose another Joseph, of whom the first had been the type, and He made him the lord and chief of His household and possessions, the guardian of His choicest treasures.

Indeed, he had as his spouse the Immaculate Virgin Mary, of whom was born by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord, who deigned to be reputed in the sight of men as the son of Joseph, and was subject to him.

The Intimacy of Saint Joseph with the Incarnate Word

Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection, and kissed. He most diligently reared Him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life.

Saint Joseph Most Highly Honoured

Because of this sublime dignity which God conferred on his most faithful servant, the Church has always most highly honoured and praised blessed Joseph next to his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, and has besought his intercession in times of trouble.

Protector and Patron of the Church

And now therefore, when in these most troublesome times the Church is beset by enemies on every side, and is weighed down by calamities so heavy that ungodly men assert that the gates of hell have at length prevailed against her, the venerable prelates of the whole Catholic world have presented to the Sovereign Pontiff their own petitions and those of the faithful committed to their charge, praying that he would deign to constitute St. Joseph Patron of the Church. And this time their prayer and desire was renewed by them even more earnestly at the Sacred Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.

Accordingly, it has now pleased our Most Holy Sovereign, Pope Pius IX, in order to entrust himself and all the faithful to the Patriarch St. Joseph's most powerful patronage, has chosen to comply with the prelates' desire and has solemnly declared him Patron of the Catholic Church.

Liturgical Celebration

He has also ordered that his feast on March 19th by henceforth celebrated as a double of the first class, without any Octave, however, because of Lent. He arranged, moreover, that a declaration to this effect be promulgated through the present decree of The Sacred Congregation of Rites on this day sacred to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the most chaste Joseph's Spouse. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Guardian of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.
Amen.

Saint Joseph

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This remarkable painting of Saint Joseph, together with the Child Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the work of the Spanish painter, Aristides Artal.

QUAMQUAM PLURIES

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON DEVOTION TO ST. JOSEPH

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates,
Archbishops, and other Ordinaries, in Peace and Union with Holy See.

During Periods of Stress and Trial

Although We have already many times ordered special prayers to be offered up in the whole world, that the interests of Catholicism might be insistently recommended to God, none will deem it matter for surprise that We consider the present moment an opportune one for again inculcating the same duty. During periods of stress and trial - chiefly when every lawlessness of act seems permitted to the powers of darkness - it has been the custom in the Church to plead with special fervour and perseverance to God, her author and protector, by recourse to the intercession of the saints - and chiefly of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God - whose patronage has ever been the most efficacious. The fruit of these pious prayers and of the confidence reposed in the Divine goodness, has always, sooner or later, been made apparent.

Human Remedies Are Insufficient

Now, Venerable Brethren, you know the times in which we live; they are scarcely less deplorable for the Christian religion than the worst days, which in time past were most full of misery to the Church. We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity. These things are, indeed, so much a matter of notoriety that it is needless for Us to expatiate on the depths to which society has sunk in these days, or on the designs which now agitate the minds of men. In circumstances so unhappy and troubled, human remedies are insufficient, and it becomes necessary, as a sole resource, to beg for assistance from the Divine power.

Our Lady's Power in Aid of the Christian World

2. This is the reason why We have considered it necessary to turn to the Christian people and urge them to implore, with increased zeal and constancy, the aid of Almighty God. At this proximity of the month of October, which We have already consecrated to the Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, We earnestly exhort the faithful to perform the exercises of this month with, if possible, even more piety and constancy than heretofore. We know that there is sure help in the maternal goodness of the Virgin, and We are very certain that We shall never vainly place Our trust in her. If, on innumerable occasions, she has displayed her power in aid of the Christian world, why should We doubt that she will now renew the assistance of her power and favour, if humble and constant prayers are offered up on all sides to her? Nay, We rather believe that her intervention will be the more marvelous as she has permitted Us to pray to her, for so long a time, with special appeals. But We entertain another object, which, according to your wont, Venerable Brethren, you will advance with fervour. That God may be more favourable to Our prayers, and that He may come with bounty and promptitude to the aid of His Church, We judge it of deep utility for the Christian people, continually to invoke with great piety and trust, together with the Virgin-Mother of God, her chaste Spouse, the Blessed Joseph; and We regard it as most certain that this will be most pleasing to the Virgin herself.

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Devotion to Saint Joseph

On the subject of this devotion, of which We speak publicly for the first time to-day, We know without doubt that not only is the people inclined to it, but that it is already established, and is advancing to full growth. We have seen the devotion to St. Joseph, which in past times the Roman Pontiffs have developed and gradually increased, grow into greater proportions in Our time, particularly after Pius IX., of happy memory, Our predecessor, proclaimed, yielding to the request of a large number of bishops, this holy patriarch the patron of the Catholic Church. And as, moreover, it is of high importance that the devotion to St. Joseph should engraft itself upon the daily pious practices of Catholics, We desire that the Christian people should be urged to it above all by Our words and authority.

Joseph, United to the Blessed Virgin by the Ties of Marriage

3. The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory. In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures. For marriage is the most intimate of all unions which from its essence imparts a community of gifts between those that by it are joined together. Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honour, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men. Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents.

The Church, Saint Joseph's Limitless Family Spread Over the Earth

From this two-fold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties. He set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing; he guarded from death the Child threatened by a monarch's jealousy, and found for Him a refuge; in the miseries of the journey and in the bitternesses of exile he was ever the companion, the assistance, and the upholder of the Virgin and of Jesus. Now the divine house which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father, contained within its limits the scarce-born Church. From the same fact that the most holy Virgin is the mother of Jesus Christ is she the mother of all Christians whom she bore on Mount Calvary amid the supreme throes of the Redemption; Jesus Christ is, in a manner, the first-born of Christians, who by the adoption and Redemption are his brothers. And for such reasons the Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust - this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

Protector and Defender of the Church

4. You well understand, Venerable Brethren, that these considerations are confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name - a point the significance of which has never been denied - was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favour and especial goodwill of his master, and that through Joseph's administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title "Saviour of the world." Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master's domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth. These are the reasons why men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph. Fathers of families find in Joseph the best personification of paternal solicitude and vigilance; spouses a perfect example of love, of peace, and of conjugal fidelity; virgins at the same time find in him the model and protector of virginal integrity. The noble of birth will earn of Joseph how to guard their dignity even in misfortune; the rich will understand, by his lessons, what are the goods most to be desired and won at the price of their labour. As to workmen, artisans, and persons of lesser degree, their recourse to Joseph is a special right, and his example is for their particular imitation. For Joseph, of royal blood, united by marriage to the greatest and holiest of women, reputed the father of the Son of God, passed his life in labour, and won by the toil of the artisan the needful support of his family. It is, then, true that the condition of the lowly has nothing shameful in it, and the work of the labourer is not only not dishonouring, but can, if virtue be joined to it, be singularly ennobled. Joseph, content with his slight possessions, bore the trials consequent on a fortune so slender, with greatness of soul, in imitation of his Son, who having put on the form of a slave, being the Lord of life, subjected himself of his own free-will to the spoliation and loss of everything.

Saint Joseph and the Poor

5. Through these considerations, the poor and those who live by the labour of their hands should be of good heart and learn to be just. If they win the right of emerging from poverty and obtaining a better rank by lawful means, reason and justice uphold them in changing the order established, in the first instance, for them by the Providence of God. But recourse to force and struggles by seditious paths to obtain such ends are madnesses which only aggravate the evil which they aim to suppress. Let the poor, then, if they would be wise, trust not to the promises of seditious men, but rather to the example and patronage of the Blessed Joseph, and to the maternal charity of the Church, which each day takes an increasing compassion on their lot.

Sanctify March 19th, As Though It Were a Day of Obligation

6. This is the reason why - trusting much to your zeal and episcopal authority, Venerable Brethren, and not doubting that the good and pious faithful will run beyond the mere letter of the law - We prescribe that during the whole month of October, at the recitation of the Rosary, for which We have already legislated, a prayer to St. Joseph be added, the formula of which will be sent with this letter, and that this custom should be repeated every year. To those who recite this prayer, We grant for each time an indulgence of seven years and seven Lents. It is a salutary practice and very praiseworthy, already established in some countries, to consecrate the month of March to the honour of the holy Patriarch by daily exercises of piety. Where this custom cannot be easily established, it is as least desirable, that before the feast-day, in the principal church of each parish, a triduo of prayer be celebrated. In those lands where the 19th of March - the Feast of St. Joseph - is not a Festival of Obligation, We exhort the faithful to sanctify it as far as possible by private pious practices, in honour of their heavenly patron, as though it were a day of Obligation.

7. And in token of heavenly favours, and in witness of Our good-will, We grant most lovingly in the Lord, to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy and to your people, the Apostolic blessing.

Given from the Vatican, August 15th, 1889, the 11th year of Our Pontificate.

LEO XIII

Ite ad Joseph

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Today, November 16th, is the 26th anniversary of my ordination to the Holy Priesthood. I am asking for a special gift from the readers of Vultus Christi. Would you, of your charity, recite the prayer to Saint Joseph given below?

Recently, a good friend counseled me to "go to Joseph" with the pressing needs of my monastery. Confident that Saint Joseph will hear our requests, I wrote this prayer today. Thank you for making it your own.

Prayer to Saint Joseph

O glorious Saint JOSEPH,
thou art our advocate and our defender,
our father and our friend,
who on the word of the angel speaking to thee in the night,
didst put fear aside to take MARY, thy Virgin Bride into thy home,
and, even in poverty and in exile,
didst provide security for JESUS, the blessed Fruit of her womb.

Thou art the good provider
upon whose resources and generosity we rely
to acquire the entire property of Silverstream;
to renovate it;
and to maintain it for years to come
in security and in peace,
in the beauty of holiness,
and in perpetual adoration
of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

O Joseph, first adorer of the Sacred Humanity of the Word,
thou art not indifferent to His designs upon Silverstream Priory
and upon those men who, by His grace alone,
must struggle to make it a school of the Lord's service,
a sanctuary of adoration for all,
and a haven of peace for priests.

Humble and powerful Saint Joseph,
who didst appear at Knock,
together with the Mother of God,
with Saint John the Beloved Disciple,
and with the Lamb of Sacrifice,
thy mission in Ireland is far from ended.
Visit Silverstream Priory, then.
Provide for our fathers and brothers there
as thou hast provided for so many in the past,
and we shall publish abroad
the wonders obtained through thy intercession
to the glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.


Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests

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The Holy Father's words inspired me to share with you, dear readers, my own Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests.

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Guardian of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.
Amen.

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Today, at the Angelus, the Holy Father said:

The Perspective of Saint Joseph

On this fourth Sunday of Advent the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us how the birth of Jesus came about, taking the perspective of St. Joseph. He was the betrothed of Mary, who, "before they lived together, was found to be with child by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:18). The Son of God, realizing an ancient prophecy (cf. Isaiah 7:14), became man in the womb of a virgin, and such a mystery simultaneously manifests the love, wisdom and power of God on behalf of humanity wounded by sin.

In Mary, Joseph Sees the Work of God

St. Joseph is presented as a "just man" (Matthew 1:19), faithful to God's law, ready to do his will. On account of this he enters into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and tells him: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife with you. In fact the child that has been conceived in her comes from the Holy Spirit; she will give birth to a son and you will call him Jesus: he in fact will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). Forgetting the thought of repudiating Mary in secret, he takes her in because his eyes now see the work of God in her.

He Does Not Follow His Own Project

St. Ambrose comments that "in Joseph there was amiability and the figure of a just man to make the quality of his witness more worthy" (Exp. Ev. sec. Lucam II, 5: CCL 14,32-33). "He," Ambrose continues, "could not have contaminated the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Lord, the fruitful womb of the mystery" (ibid. II, 6: CCL 14, 33). Although he had been concerned, Joseph "did as the angel of the Lord ordered him," certain of doing the right thing. Also giving the name "Jesus" to that child who rules the entire universe, he enters into the ranks of the faithful and humble servants, like the angels and prophets, like the martyrs and the apostles -- in the words of ancient eastern hymns. St. Joseph proclaims the wonders of the Lord, witnessing Mary's virginity, the gratuitous deed of God, and caring for the earthly life of the Messiah. So, we venerate the legal father of Jesus (Code of Canon Law, 532), because the new man takes form in him, who looks to the future with confidence and courage, does not follow his own project, but entrusts himself totally to the infinite mercy of him who fulfills the prophecies and inaugurates the season of salvation.

Universal Patron of the Church

Dear friends, to St. Joseph, universal patron of the Church, I would like to entrust all pastors, exhorting them to offer "to faithful Christians and the whole world the humble and daily proposal of the words of Christ" (Letter Proclaiming the Year for Priests). May our life be evermore conformed to the person of Jesus, precisely because "the one who is himself the Word takes on a body, he comes from God as a man and draws the whole of man's being to himself, bearing it into the Word of God" (Jesus of Nazareth, San Francisco, 2008, 334). Let us invoke the Virgin Mary with confidence, the one who is full of grace, "adorned by God," so that at Christmas, which is already near, our eyes may open and see Jesus, and the heart rejoice in this wondrous encounter of love.

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We began praying the novena to Saint Joseph this evening after Compline. Here is another version of one of the novena prayers to Saint Joseph, suitable for everyone:

Saint Joseph,
I take you this day as my advocate and defender,
my counselor and my friend.
Open your heart to me
as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect my vocation
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring me light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.
For the sake of the tender love that bound you
to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,
be for me, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul
so that, in spite of my weaknesses and sins,
my life here may bring glory to Christ
and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
in his bride the Church.
Amen.

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Joseph

Like his baptismal patron, Saint Joseph, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, seems, at times, to stand alone in the night. One has the impression that, as the Year of the Priesthood draws to a close, the forces of evil are trying desperately to discredit the Holy Father and to disfigure the face of the Church. Days of shame and darkness have come upon Our Lord's beloved priests in so many countries. Could this not be a sign that the attack on the priesthood, that appears to be spreading and growing, is, in fact, in its final stages?

Onslaught and Triumph

We are witnessing, I believe, a diabolical onslaught against the Bride of the Lamb, an attempt to destroy her by attacking the most wounded of her ministers in their carnal weaknesses. More than ever, we must pray Our Lord to dispel the powers of darkness with the radiance of His Eucharistic Face. "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His Face" (Ps 67:2). Our Lord Jesus Christ will undo the destruction wrought by the devil and his human allies, and He will cause His priests and His Spouse the Church to recover a glorious holiness that will confound His enemies and be the beginning of a new era of saints, of martyrs, and of prophets.

Prayer

Could we not offer the Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph for the Joseph whom God has set over the household of His Church: Pope Benedict XVI? It is no coincidence that, in these days of battle against the powers of darkness, the Successor of Peter bears the name of Joseph, protector of the universal Church. The providential designs of God are often revealed in such details.

I recommend the Prayer to Saint Joseph that Pope Leo XIII promulgated with his Encyclical Quamquam pluries in 1889. It is perhaps more suitable today than when it was written one-hundred-twenty-one years ago. In many places it is customary to pray this prayer after the recitation of the Rosary.

To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.
O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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