“Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Importance of Saint Joseph (and some reflective thoughts of my own)

If there is one individual who I have focused on a lot in my writing over the years, it is Saint Joseph. Including today’s post, the total is now at 10. Saint Joseph has always played an important role in my life. My middle name is Joseph, so from the beginning of my life he has been watching over me, he is one of saints I first learned about in my adolescence, and he remains a steadfast figure in my life today, most especially now as I prepare for marriage and fatherhood.

In the past, many of my posts about St. Joseph have focused on the writings on Pope St. John Paul and his words, but for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I am going to turn to the words of Pope Benedict XVI. Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI had a great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, most especially because his Baptismal name is Joseph (Josef).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, 19 March, is the Solemnity of St Joseph, but as it coincides with the Third Sunday of Lent, its liturgical celebration is postponed until tomorrow. However, the Marian context of the Angelus invites us to reflect today with veneration on the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s spouse and Patron of the universal Church.

I like to recall that beloved John Paul II was also very devoted to St Joseph, to whom he dedicated the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, Guardian of the Redeemer, and who surely experienced his assistance at the hour of death.

The figure of this great Saint, even though remaining somewhat hidden, is of fundamental importance in the history of salvation. Above all, as part of the tribe of Judah, he united Jesus to the Davidic lineage so that, fulfilling the promises regarding the Messiah, the Son of the Virgin Mary may truly be called the “son of David”.

The Gospel of Matthew highlights in a special way the Messianic prophecies which reached fulfilment through the role that Joseph played:  the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (2: 1-6); his journey through Egypt, where the Holy Family took refuge (2: 13-15); the nickname, the “Nazarene” (2: 22-23).

In all of this he showed himself, like his spouse Mary, an authentic heir of Abraham’s faith:  faith in God who guides the events of history according to his mysterious salvific plan. His greatness, like Mary’s, stands out even more because his mission was carried out in the humility and hiddenness of the house of Nazareth. Moreover, God himself, in the person of his Incarnate Son, chose this way and style of life – humility and hiddenness – in his earthly existence.

From the example of St. Joseph we all receive a strong invitation to carry out with fidelity, simplicity and modesty the task that Providence has entrusted to us. I think especially of fathers and mothers of families, and I pray that they will always be able to appreciate the beauty of a simple and industrious life, cultivating the conjugal relationship with care and fulfilling with enthusiasm the great and difficult educational mission.

To priests, who exercise a paternal role over Ecclesial Communities, may St Joseph help them love the Church with affection and complete dedication, and may he support consecrated persons in their joyous and faithful observance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. May he protect workers throughout the world so that they contribute with their different professions to the progress of the whole of humanity, and may he help every Christian to fulfil God’s will with confidence and love, thereby cooperating in the fulfilment of the work of salvation.

Today, as I write and reflect on these words by Pope Benedict XVI, I find myself having a connection with St. Joseph like never before. As I stated previously, I am preparing to enter the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the coming months. The closeness I feel towards St. Joseph today is difficult to explain since it feels like the closeness I have with my father, even though he is deceased for nearly three years. As I sit in the adoration chapel here at the parish and write this post, I am also gazing up frequently to look at the St. Joseph statue.

Although it’s difficult to explain specifically why this year is different than in years past, I can tell you that some of the words from Benedict have penetrated my heart and have allowed me to see what I really need to do in my life as and soon-to-be husband and potential father.

As a man, who truly remained hidden in the house of Nazareth, St. Joseph still was the head of his household, courageously caring for Mary and Jesus, most notably when fleeing to Egypt. Like St. Joseph, I must remain steadfast and care for my future wife and any children the Lord blesses us with when we are married. In silence, I must learn that sometimes words are not needed, just my presence and the ability to have fortitude when challenges present themselves is enough. Being silent isn’t always easy for me since my secondary vocation is a teacher of sorts in a parish position that assists other adults in coming to know their Catholic faith. Learning to be more silent is a challenge for me, but to truly be like St. Joseph, I must learn to do so.

I pray this day that St. Joseph will allow me to be more like him – a man of faithfulness, obedience, steadfastness, courage, and silent strength.

For further readings on St. Joseph, I would encourage you to read posts from previous years:

1. Saint Joseph – Patron of the Universal Church

2. The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

3. “Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

4. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Marriage that Linked Joseph to Mary’ 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Fatherhood of St. Joseph 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mary, Joseph’s Virginal Spouse’ 

7. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Joseph, and the Spousal Gift of Self

8. The Influence Saint Joseph has on Catholic Men in the 21st Century 

9. “Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph 

 Saint Joseph…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph

Last week I said I would return to the series, Mary in the Old Testament, but again I am going to suspend that series for one more week to focus on the Intercession of Saint Joseph by providing you some prayers and litanies that ask for his intercession. I can write about Saint Joseph as part of my “Mondays with Mary” series since he is so closely connected with Mary, most especially through their marital vows. Although Saint Joseph never utters a single word in the Sacred Scriptures, his presence is never forgotten and his heroic fortitude is never shaken. He listens to the Lord and in turn is obedient to Him.

Because he was the Guardian of the Redeemer and the protector of the Redeemer’s mother, Saint Joseph stands as the Patron of the Universal Church – he protects the Church as he protected Jesus and Mary. However, with Mary, he shares in her divine motherhood by protecting and interceding for that which is most precious to all of humanity. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Paul II says,

“Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way…The path that was Joseph’s – his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father… Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian.”

So how does one ask for intercession to St. Joseph? Although there are a variety of prayers, the three most common that I personally turn to in prayer are below. The first is pretty short and focuses on any difficult affairs we might be facing. The second is a litany and I provide you with the link to the EWTN page. The third focuses exactly on my points today – his Guardianship in union with Mary. It is my hope for you that if you don’t know St. Joseph well, these prayers will begin your time with him.

O Glorious St. Joseph, whose power can render possible even things which are impossible, come to my aid in my present trouble and distress. Take under thy protection the important and difficult affairs which I entrust to thee, that they may end happily. (Pause – Petition)

My beloved Father, all my confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that I invoked thee in vain; and since thou art able to obtain everything before Jesus and Mary, show me that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.

Litany of St. Joseph

In our tribulation we fly to thee, O blessed Joseph; and, after imploring the help of thy most holy Spouse, we ask also with confidence for thy patronage.

By the affection which united thee to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and the paternal love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee to look kindly upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ acquired by His Precious Blood, and by thy powerful aid to help us in our needs.

Protect, most careful Guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep us, most loving father, from all pestilence of error and corruption.

Be merciful also to us, most powerful protector, from thy place in heaven, in this warfare with the powers of darkness; and, as thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from danger of death, so now defend the Holy Church of God from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.

Guard each one of us by thy perpetual patronage, so that, sustained by thine example and help, we have live holiness, die a holy death, and obtain the everlasting happiness of heaven. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Patron and Guardian of the Holy Catholic Church…Pray for Us.

To read more about St. Joseph, see Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Although today is the Third Sunday of Lent, which trumps the Solemnity of Saint Joseph; we will celebrate the Solemnity tomorrow on March 20, I still wanted to provide you with the blog posts I have written on the past that have to do with Saint Joseph. He is patron saint to me since my middle name is Joseph, and without fail my Aunt Agnes always calls me on this day to wish me a Happy Name Day.

Although St. Jospeh never says a word in the Sacred Scriptures, he is the example of heroic fortitude, steadfastness, and protection. It was his duty to care for Jesus and Mary – a duty he fulfilled wholeheartedly and without complaint. He is the type of man that all Christian men must strive to be like – single or married. Men – he is our greatest example behind Our Lord and Savior.

Here are eight blog posts I have written in the past that show the importance and the heroic fortitude of the foster-father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church –

1. Saint Joseph – Patron of the Universal Church

2. The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

3. “Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

4. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Marriage that Linked Joseph to Mary’ 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Fatherhood of St. Joseph 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mary, Joseph’s Virginal Spouse’ 

7. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Joseph, and the Spousal Gift of Self

8. The Influence Saint Joseph has on Catholic Men in the 21st Century 

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us 

The Influence Saint Joseph has on Catholic Men in the 21st Century

Instead of doing the usual blog post on Saint Joseph, which I have done here and here, I thought would reach out to some of my fellow Catholic brothers to see how Saint Joseph has influenced their lives as husbands and fathers. Although I am not a husband and father yet, even as a single man, Saint Joseph has had a great influence on me for many years of my life.

Every man, especially every Catholic man, should try to emulate the virtues that Saint Joseph displayed on a daily basis as the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father to Jesus Christ. It was Saint Joseph who was charged by God to protect the Immaculate Mother and the Divine Son of God. As men, let us yearn to be protectors to all those placed under our care.

Josh C. said, “I see my role as a conduit of the life and joy of God. From my life of grace and the intimate sharing of my journey I provide and protect them not only on a physical plane; but more meaningfully on a relational and spiritual plane. St. Joseph shows the spirit of service and closeness with the persons with Jesus and Mary that I need to be a fountain of living water to my family.”

Nelson D. shared, “For me to be a single Catholic Father can be somewhat challenging. People are on the outlook to see if my actions parallel with my words. I always ask St. Joseph to guide me and lead me to his son Jesus. Furthermore, most my coworkers are curious about fatherhood. I hear them use terms like “beat down dad” etc. They use them to describe others but through these terms I know they question my fatherhood. When they see how I live my Christian faith they see truth. Then and only then they tend to open up and share their relationships with dad. I credit this through the intercession of St. Joseph. Few of those relationships are fatherless. As an evangelist myself, you can imagine what happens next.”

Holy_Family_icon1

Mike P. wrote, “I made the choice, in college, to commit myself to the sacrament of marriage rather than Holy Orders. Therefore, my vocation in life is to be a great husband to Sharon and a great father to Bethany, David and Susan. I love God by loving Sharon and my children well. My role model in this vocation is Saint Joseph. His wife was holier and better than him and his son certainly was better in every way! My wife, Sharon, is a better and smarter and holier person in every way than I am. My children are smarter and more gifted. St. Joseph inspires me to love them well, to support them, to be there for them as best I can in every way I can.”

Bill M. proclaimed, “Like Saint Joseph, my model as husband, father and man of faith, I fee entrusted with specific responsibilities: provider, protector, teacher and supporter. Joseph gave entirely of himself to Mary and Jesus, and served them with humility and devotion; constantly focused on their dignity. Although he was the leader of the family, he always put himself as the least among them. Each day, I pray that his example continues to inspire me to be the man I cam called to be.”

Andrew D. declared, “As a Catholic, St. Joseph has always been an inspiration to me. He understood his duty to honor God, his wife, and son. Also as the patron saint of jobs, I have prayed his novena for his intercession in my career multiple times. His witness and actions encourage me to try and emulate his humility, courage, and obedience in being a great husband, father, and man.”

St Joseph

Cris A. stated, “Being a Catholic husband is a life of sacrifice. Usually, it’s easy to live out knowing where the fruits will go, but there are often difficult moments. St Joseph’s quiet, steady example and prayers have been vital in my weakest moments, and a great source for joy in recognizing his intercession. His icon in my office is a constant reminder of what my vocation is called to be, and how much I need his prayers.”

Kevin C. verbalized, “A lot of people like to point out that St. Joseph had original sin, because in how we think about the Holy Family he stands in somewhat sharp contrast to the sinless Ever-Virgin Mother of God and the Christ Child, Who Himself is true God, co-eternal with the Father. I have been guilty of this, too, but the more I think about it, to speak in such a way about St. Joseph is irreverence before the mystery of the man. How many more words much more worthy could we multiply about him, chosen by the Father to be protector of the only-begotten Son and spouse of the Immaculate? Rather than declaring St. Joseph’s sinfulness, Scripture affirms that he was a “perfect man.” St. James says, “if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also” (3:2). When I read this, I think of St. Joseph. After all, not a word of his is recorded in Scripture, yet the Son of God obeyed his every word.”

Dan N. articulated, “To be a Catholic husband and father is to be a virtuous man of the Church, who lays down his life daily and does battle with his own passions for the sake of his vocation. St. Joseph is integrated into this role for me because he teaches me that I am responsible as the head of my household to safeguard my family, to give my family the opportunity to authentically flourish as human persons, and to maintain a strong sense of fidelity to my wife as I promised in marriage.”

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us.