Sunday, May 03, 2009
St. Joseph, how wonderful a saint he is. And, how often we don’t appreciate his role in Christ’s life and our own as he is the patron of the Universal Church.
St. Teresa of Avila writes:
“I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honour and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favours which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul. To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succour us in some of our necessities but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succours us in them all and that the Lord wishes to teach us that as He was Himself subject to him on earth, just so in Heaven He still does all that he asks.” (Autobiography, chapter 6)
It is this simple, if we allow if to be. St. Joseph holds such a high place in heaven, and he is so underrated. So many people only know of him because they’ll bury him upside down in their yard so that they can sell their house. Yet, there is so much more. As St. Teresa wrote, “To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succour us in some of our necessities but of this glorious saint…He still does all that he asks.”
This should be enough to make St. Joseph one of our patrons, however, our reasoning does not end here. St. Joseph embodies the theology of the body so well. Just like Mary, he became a gift of self. Just like Mary, he lived a virginal life (obviously not perfectly like her though). And just like Mary, he continues to show us the path to holiness so that we may one day see the face of God.
St. Joseph lived a gift of self so well. Pope John Paul the Great, in his Apostolic Exhortation on St. Joseph – Redemptoris Custos, wrote:
““‘The obedience of faith’ must be given to God as he reveals himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him.” This statement, which touches the very essence of faith, is perfectly applicable to Joseph of Nazareth.” (4)
He gave everything over for the Holy Family to thrive. He gave all his earthly actions to the raising of the Christ child. He gave all of his work for the protection of the Blessed Mother. And he gave his life as an example for Christ on how to love.
St. Joseph’s submission to the angel’s words in his dreams confirms this. At a moment’s notice, St. Joseph got up in the middle of the night and fled with Jesus and Mary into Egypt. The angel commanded, and he acted. This total laying down of one’s will for the Father must’ve had a profound affect on Mary and Jesus.
Furthermore, St. Joseph lived a life surrounded by the Word Incarnate and the Immaculate Conception. How much grace must’ve flowed through the house in Nazareth? After all, St. Joseph was living with Grace itself. Thus his actions and the desires of his soul would naturally have come to be the same or at least nearly always the same. This is so amazing to think about. St. Joseph was a man whose job was to care for God and the Mother of God. And as St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “Those whom God chooses for an office, He prepares and disposes in such a way that they become suited to it” (Summa Theologica, III. 27, 4). Thus, we can say with Pope Pius XI, “[God] enriched [Joseph] and filled him to overflowing with entirely unique graces in order that he might execute most faithfully the duties of so sublime a state” (Inclytum Patriarcham, ASS, 22, 65). How much then must his actions have reflected the holiness of his soul!
So, please pray to St. Joseph for us and thus fulfill the scriptures, “Go to Joseph” (Gen. 41:55).
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.