Happy Feast of St. Joseph! This is one of my favorite feasts. Our beloved Carmelite Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, directed that St. Joseph’s Feast be celebrated with utmost joy of the highest of solemnities. Who am I to argue with the Holy Mother? How awesome of Our Good Lord to offer His foster father’s feast as an oasis in our penitential sojourn through the desert of Lent.
Little is known about the chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin. No direct quotes from Sacred Scripture can be attributed to St. Joseph. He did not make lofty speeches, nor was he a celebrated theologian. Instead, St. Joseph worked hard, sacrificed much, dreamed dreams, and loved deeply. Thus, he is the Patron of the Universal Catholic Church,
Today is my little Joseph’s feast. It also happens to be the anniversary of his First Holy Communion. One of my favorite Joseph stories took place when he was the tender age of six. It was the feast of the Holy Family, and we were kneeling in prayer during those precious moments of sacred silence prior to the celebration of Holy Mass. My little Joseph nudged me, and with all earnestness whispered, “Mom, why did God make St. Joseph with cinnamon?” Quizzically, I looked down at his solemn little face, and said, “Sweetie, God most certainly did not make St. Joseph with cinnamon.” To which my indignant little man replied, “I did NOT ask why God made St. Joseph with cinnamon, I asked why God made St. Joseph with Sin – in – him; you know Mom, because He made the Blessed Virgin without Sin-in- Her.” WOW! God is amazing! How magnificent of Him to place such questions with the hearts of mere children. Like St. Joseph, my little Joseph was responding to the love of God with a grace that could have only come from above.
Why is it that so many of us mothers name our sons after St. Joseph? Surely we seek his unparalleled protection for our cherished progeny. Cognizant that God Himself chose St. Joseph to safeguard His Divine Son and the Blessed Virgin, we reason that St. Joseph will likewise shelter our sons from harm.
However, our decision to choose St. Joseph as a patron does not end with our confidence in his powerful protection. Rather, we choose him in part because we hope our sons will emulate his example. We see St. Joseph as the strong, silent man, who would willingly sacrifice his well-earned reputation, to do the right thing. We admire St. Joseph the Worker, and pray our sons will likewise be industrious in the service of the Lord. We stand in awe of St. Joseph’s ability to act on his dreams, and respond to the slightest whisper of God’s Holy Will. We recognize that God Himself trusted St. Joseph to guard the purity of the Blessed Virgin, and pray the Lord will also give our sons the grace to not only remain chaste, but also to guard the purity of those entrusted to them. We see in St. Joseph the model father, who derives his authority from God the Father, and exercises it with gentleness and humility, and can ask no greater gift for our young men as well. In St. Joseph we appreciate a life of service and uncompromised love, and desire that our sons too may be willing to sacrifice all for the Love of God.
On this Feast of St. Joseph, honor him by telling a Joseph in your life how much he resembles his Holy Patron, and pray to St. Joseph for his intercession for the blessing this special man needs to live in the Grace of God. Join me in praying this nearly 2,000 year old prayer to the beloved foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great,
so strong, so prompt before the throne of God,
I place in you all my interests and desires.
Please, St. Joseph, do assist me with your powerful intercession,
And obtain for me from your Divine Son all possible spiritual blessings.
So that having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.
St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you,
and the Child Jesus asleep in your arms.
Press Him in my name.
Kiss his fine head for me,
and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, I place my petitions in thy tender care.
I consecrate myself and my family to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph. St. Joseph, please pray for us! Happy Feast Day!
Ad Jesus per Mariam,