Wednesday, June 30, 2010

St. Joseph: Miracle of Holiness

I perceive a certain difference in the graces given to this great Patriarch and those vouchsafed to other saints; for many saints were endowed with graces and gifts that are intended not for the increase of their own sanctity, but for the advance of the service of the Most High in other souls; they were, so to say, gifts and graces freely given and not dependent upon the holiness of the receiver. But in our blessed Patriarch all the divine favors were productive of personal virtue perfection; for the mysterious purpose, toward which they tended and helped along, was closely connected with the holiness of his own life. The more angelic and holy he grew to be, so much the more worthy was he to be the spouse of most holy Mary, the depository and treasure-house of heavenly sacraments. He was to be a miracle of holiness, as he really was. This marvelous holiness commenced with the formation of his body in the womb of his Mother. In this the providence of God himself interfered, regulating the composition of the four radical humors of his body with extreme nicety of proportion and securing for him that evenly tempered disposition which made his body a blessed earth fit for the abode of an exquisite soul and well-balanced mind (Wisdom 8, 19). He was sanctified in the womb of his mother seven months after his conception, and the leaven of sin was destroyed in him for the whole course of life, never having felt any impure or disorderly movement. Although he did not receive the use of his reason together with this first sanctification, which consisted principally in justification from original sin, yet his mother at the time felt a wonderful joy of the Holy Ghost. Without understanding entirely the mystery she elicited great acts of virtue and believed that her Son, or whomever she bore in her womb, would be wonderful in the sight of God and men.

The holy child Joseph was born most beautiful and perfect of body and caused in his parents and in his relations an extraordinary delight, something like that caused by the birth of Saint John the Baptist, though the cause of it was more hidden. The Lord hastened the use of his reason, perfecting it in his third year, endowing it with infused science and augmenting his soul with new graces and virtues. From that time the child began to know God by faith, and also by natural reasoning and science, as the cause and Author of all things. He eagerly listened and understood profoundly all that was taught him in regard to God and his works. At this premature age he already practiced the highest kinds of prayer and contemplation and eagerly engaged in the exercise of the virtues proper to his youth ; so that, at the time when others come to the use of reason, at the age of seven years or more, Saint Joseph was a perfect man in the use of it and in holiness. He was of a kind disposition, loving, affable, sincere, showing inclinations not only holy but angelic, growing in virtue and perfection and advancing toward his espousal with most holy Mary by an altogether irreproachable life.

For the confirmation and increase of his good qualities was then added the intercession of the blessed Lady; for as soon as She was informed that the Lord wished Her to enter the married state with him, She earnestly besought the Lord to sanctify Saint Joseph and inspire him with most chaste thoughts and desires in conformity with her own. The Lord listened to her and permitted Her to see what great effects his right hand wrought in the mind and spirit of the patriarch Saint Joseph. They were so copious, that they cannot be described in human words. He infused into his soul the most perfect habits of all the virtues and gifts. He balanced anew all his faculties and filled him with grace, confirming it in an admirable manner. In the virtue and perfection of chastity the holy spouse was elevated higher than the seraphim; for the purity, which they possessed without body, Saint Joseph possessed in his earthly body and in mortal flesh; never did an image of the impurities of the animal and sensible nature engage, even for one moment, any of his faculties. This freedom from all such imaginations and his angelic simplicity fitted him for the companionship and presence of the most Pure among all creatures, and without this excellence he would not have been worthy of so great a dignity and rare excellence.

Also in the other virtues he was wonderfully distinguished, especially in charity; for he dwelt at the fountainhead of that living water, which flows on to eternal life (John 4, 14); he was in close proximity to that sphere of fire and was consumed without resistance. The best that can be said of the charity of our saint is what I have already said in the preceding chapter namely, that his love of God was really the cause of his mortal sickness and of his death. The manner of his death was a privilege of his singular love, for his sweet sighs of love surpassed and finally put an end to those of his sickness, being far more powerful. As the objects of his love, Christ and his Mother, were present with him always and as both of Them were more closely bound to him than to any of the woman-born, his most pure and faithful heart was unavoidably consumed by the loving effects of such a close union. Blessed be the Author of such great wonders and blessed be the most fortunate of mortals, Saint Joseph, who so worthily corresponded to their love. He deserves to be known and extolled by all the generations of men and all nations since the Lord has wrought such things with no other man and to none has He shown such love.

~ Venerable Mary of Agreda, from The Mystical City of God ~

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Faith of St. Joseph

"We cannot help but marvel at the faith of Saint Joseph. Tormenting doubts harass his soul and he is on the point of leaving Mary. But an angel appears to him and all his doubts and fears vanish. On the angel's word He accepts the mystery of the Incarnation. In the ensuing years his faith was to be frequently put to the test. At Bethlehem he had to content himself with a stable for a home where the Incarnate Word might be born. Soon after, he was forced to flee in order to save the Infant God, and when later he returned to the tiny village of Nazareth it was to live there unknown and in dire poverty. All these trials only tempered his faith. Although he sees only the Child's wretchedness and poverty, his faith pierces the shroud and uncovers the hidden God within this weak baby frame. Because his faith was so strong, Joseph's mind and heart bowed in perfect adoration. Imitate his faith as you kneel before the humble Christ annihilated in the Eucharist. Pierce the veil which covers this furnace of love and adore the hidden God. At the same time respect the veil of love and make the immolation of your mind and heart your most beautiful homage of faith."

~ St. Peter Julian Eymard ~

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Josemaria Escriva: Devotion to St. Joseph

"Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who loved Our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after Our Mother. He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God."

~ St. Josemaria Escriva ~

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ancient Prayer to Saint Joseph

O 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.
O St Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord;
so that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O St Joseph, I never weary contemplating you
and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me,
and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.
Amen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Novena to St. Joseph

*NOVENA PRAYER
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

MEMORARE
Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen.

~ Source of novena and remaining novena prayers are here. ~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Invocations to St. Joseph

INVOCATIONS TO ST. JOSEPH
By Father Olier

Hail Joseph, image of God the Father.
Hail Joseph, father of God the Son.
Hail Joseph, temple of the Holy Ghost.
Hail Joseph, beloved of the Holy Trinity.
Hail Joseph, most faithful helper in the great plan of Redemption.
Hail Joseph, most worthy spouse of the Virgin Mother.
Hail Joseph, father of all the faithful.
Hail Joseph, guardian of holy virgins.
Hail Joseph, greatest lover of poverty.
Hail Joseph, example of meekness and patience.
Hail Joseph, mirror of humility and obedience.

Blessed art thou among all men.
And blessed are thine eyes, which have seen what thou hast seen.
And blessed are thine ears, which have heard what thou hast heard.
And blessed are thy hands, which have touched the Word Incarnate.
And blessed are thine arms, which have carried the One Who carries all things.
And blessed is thy breast, on which the Son of God most sweetly reposed.
And blessed is thy heart, kindled with most ardent love.
And blessed be the Eternal Father, Who chose thee.
And blessed be the Son, Who loved thee.
And blessed be the Holy Ghost, Who sanctified thee.
And blessed be Mary, thy spouse, who loved thee as a spouse and a brother.
And blessed be the Angel who guarded thee.
And blessed be forever all who bless thee and who love thee.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Intercession of St. Joseph Is Most Powerful

"But I have been informed concerning certain other privileges conferred upon Saint Joseph by the Most High on account of his great holiness, which are especially important to those who ask his intercession in a proper manner. In virtue of these special privileges the intercession of Saint Joseph is most powerful:

first, for attaining the virtue of purity and overcoming the sensual inclinations of the flesh;

secondly, for procuring powerful help to escape sin and return to the friendship of God;

thirdly, for increasing the love and devotion to most holy Mary;

fourthly, for securing the grace of a happy death and protection against the demons in that hour;

fifthly, for inspiring the demons with terror at the mere mention of his name by his clients;

sixthly, for gaining health of body and assistance in all kinds of difficulties;

seventhly, for securing issue of children in families.

"These and many other favors God confers upon those who properly and with good disposition seek the intercession of the spouse of our Queen, Saint Joseph. I beseech all the faithful children of the Church to be very devout to him and they will experience these favors in reality, if they dispose themselves as they should in order to receive and merit them."

~ Venerable Mary of Agreda, from The Mystical City of God ~