First of all, Joseph is remembered mostly as the "Foster Father of Jesus" and the "Protector of Mary." But, did you realize he is also known as "Model of Christian Workers" and "Patron of Social Justice?" For those two titles he has his own special feast declared by Pope Pius XII in 1955: May 1st. Today we concentrate on the day at hand and the many titles attributed to this wondrous man. One title many don't give him credit for is "Patron of the Universal Church" for Joseph is the one we call on to protect God's Holy Church just as he protected the Holy Family, obediently stealing away in the dead of the night to flee the fast-approaching soldiers of Herod. Joseph was the "Model of Righteousness" for he could easily have walked away from his betrothal to Mary once he heard she was with child. Though the stigma of pregnancy outside marriage is nothing today, in fact, sadly encouraged by society, in Joseph's time and Jewish customs this was paramount to stoning the woman. But Joseph was righteous in the most holy sense and chose, after God sent His angel, to follow through with his promise to his bride-to-be and did everything in his power to protect her and her reputation. How many men would do that today? Furthermore, how many men would do that when coming to the realization that, though they might marry, would never consummate their vows in the marriage bed, but remain forever chaste in obedience to God's Holy Will? We doubt there are a handful today. That was the caliber of man Joseph was. As the "Model of Single Men and Married Men" Joseph's example should be imitated by more, not necessarily celibate if married, but gentle and loving with no roving eye toward another; for the single man, saving himself for the right woman whom God would place in his life. Joseph is the "Guardian of Virgins" and virgins mean both unmarried men and women.
Many, many in the public limelight today could take a severe lesson from Joseph's virtues, in particular those who stand as "role models" for our youth, such men as today's movie stars, music icons and sports superstars; men who hold important, influential positions in society. Inevitably, Bill Clinton comes immediately to mind. Before our liberal Democrat friends start complaining that we're spouting politics again, consider that the travesty of the immoral escapades of this man, who holds the highest office in the land, is an aberation to God and to Joseph, and should be the same for every American. But sadly, the "in thing" is to wink, and spout the pc line, "what's the harm if it doesn't hurt anybody" or "who cares what he does in his private life, as long as the economy is good." How low we have sunk as a nation, a country dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Even though this amoral man denies it or rationalizes it all away with one lie after another, he exudes a cocky flamboyance that flaunts the possibilities. Believe it or not, folks, he loves the attention to his sexual prowess as if he were still a college stud sowing his oats. That is truly sad in the face of younger generations struggling with the moral compass that has seemed to go askew in today's society and mores. That is why it is so important to lean on Joseph, the "Protector of children and teens" for his fatherly love provided the sturdy mast of the Holy Family's ship, while Mary provided the sails that billowed in holiness day in and day out. With so many teens in trouble or troubled, parents and friends need to turn to Joseph as "Solace of the Afflicted" and "Comforter of the Troubled" for he can sustain them in their many trials and temptations if only they ask. Remember, Joseph is also considered "Rescuer of Sinners" which includes everyone of us. Call on him for he is the "Safeguard of Families," God's chosen guardian for His Only-begotten Son and the Blessed Mother who the Almighty has given to us as protector of all Christian homes. Tap into his intercessory power!
For those ill with something, remember Joseph is the foster father of the Divine Physician, so he should know a thing or two about sustaining the sick and obtaining relief for anyone who is sick and calls on his care for Joseph is the "Hope of the Sick." Joseph was not a wealthy man, he made his living by the sweat of his brow through carpentry work, providing what he could for his family and the family accepted everything gratefully, sharing with others when needed. That is another reason Joseph is also known as "Consolation of the Poor" for he not only provided for the needs of Jesus and Mary, but others as well, and continues today to help the needy of the entire world if they but call on him. Few realize Joseph is also known as "Patron of Priests and Seminarians" for he was the foster father of Jesus, the First Priest Who was also the Priest-Victim. His virtues of chastity, obedience, poverty, prudence, - the list goes on - are the ideal for every man of the cloth preparing to take vows. If only more priests and to-be-priests relied on exemplifying Joseph's attributes, the world and our Church would be that much better.
Finally, the one title so many devote to Joseph is "Patron of a Happy Death" for he died in the arms of Mary and Jesus the young Man. Holy Mother Church has for centuries entreated us to call on him for intercession for the dying, when we take our last breath. Who better to be standing at our bedside than the good, holy Joseph who silently will extend his firm hand to guide us to the Heavenly portals if we but exemplify his virtues.
One of the best prayers, ejaculations the Church calls them, is the short but effective "Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you. Save souls." So short, and yet so powerful. While Mary was the Heart of the Holy Family, Joseph was the Head and Jesus, the Body. All members worked in unison. By the example of the Holy Family we can go to school on how they did it in striving to bring harmony into our own families; not easy in today's modernistic culture. But by calling on them often, we can better equate our own hardships to the Holy Family's travails and offer them up in order to gain rewarding graces from above. With all the titles good Saint Joseph has been given, we doubt anyone has been left off his "care list."
On his wonderful feast day we can come to the conclusion that good St. Joseph is all things to all men and by following the example of this silent giant we can eradicate sin in our lives and bring grace alive through the example of this holy, fatherly saint whose intercession is attributed to killing vice with the swift sword of virtue. And why not? Afterall, he's the "Silent Assassin!"
Iíve been asked if I could e-mail the examination of conscience booklet which I have been recommending, but it is too long for me to do so. But I share with you a shortened form and suggestions on how to make a good confession.
Before I go to confession I always pray:
I usually add a prayer to the Holy Spirit to help me know and confess my sins in a manner befitting His child.
There are five steps to making a good confession (after praying for light and grace). They are:
In an examination, one should check over the Ten Commandments of God; the Six Commandments of the Church; the Christian Virtues and the duties of oneís state in life. The following is taken from a leaflet which enjoys the imprimatur of John R. Roach, D.D., Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Next week I shall write about sacrilegious Communions. If you would like a more thorough and inexpensive examination of conscience booklet, you can e-mail me at Srmarylucy@aol.com.
God bless you!
I see these demons, hideous, ugly, monstrous beast-like beings of varying sizes and purposes. Some demons scream, other spit, other dance obscenely, while all move with incredible speed going from one to another of the assembled Sanhedrin, and they stir these men into a higher and higher hate-filled frenzy.
Yet not one demon will approach Jesus Who stand bound, His head bowed in humility, which only incites the men to vent their hatred. Yes, the demons press them forward and the men willingly respond.
Caiphas, having achieved his victory, strides from the chamber as if he had just saved all of Israel from irreparable harm. The moment he is gone, the demons push various scribes and elders forward.
Our Dear Lord is treated in the most inhuman manner. The insults fly from every mouth and each one is a wound to the Sacred Heart, His Sacred Ears, even to His Mind, which is wounded over and over by the most vile remarks man is capable of.
Those who are charged to guard Him are assisting in His torture. I see demons sitting upon their shoulders, clamoring for them to yank Jesus first one way and then another. With each jerk of the ropes Jesus meets with human spittle, a hard fist crashing against His innocent flesh, a slap which is of such strength there remains the imprint of a hand upon our Lordís holy face.
These men, these so-called leaders and learned men of the Temple see only the wreck of the man who proclaimed Himself "Son of God." They cannot see beyond their own naked fury, nor is there any stillness in their being which might enable them to "see" Who truly stands in their midst.
At length, after Jesus has fallen, twisted to and fro by the ropes, the doors swing open and a contingent of Temple guards marches in.
Jesus is pulled to His feet. His hair is tangled and partially blocks His vision.
"He is to be taken to Pilate," the head of the Temple Guard announces.
"Yes," shouts the assembly. "Let justice be done!"
And our Dear Lord, still silent, humble but in great pain, is forced from the room. The Temple guards deliberately move so quickly that Jesus, already weak, is dragged along the rough floors while demonic, hysterical laughter echoes in the hall of the Sanhedrin!
Hospitality has not passed out of the world today, but to a large extent it has become corporate or organized. Institutions are set up to care for the traveler or the needy, as the care becomes less personal and the responsibility less individual. A few decades ago no one in a horse and buggy along a country road would refuse to stop and pick up someone walking. Today few automobiles stop to give lifts to those on the hightway, mostly because too many hitchhikers have made hospitality impossible by their inhospital conduct. Despite this, it is wrong to think the world is not fit to be trusted and that everyone is a rogue until he promes himself to be otherwise.
Granted the changing ways, the necessity of the virtue of hospitality still remains. Nor is it satisfied by indentifying hospitality with the offer of a highball. The essence of hospitality is sympathy and kindness; it is selfishness which makes us think that the opportunities for hospitality are past.
The age of discovery is not yet over and the greatest discovery yet remains to be made by every individual, namely, there are other people in the world besides oneself. As a former Prince of Wales once said: "Number Ten Downing Street can never be a substitute for the good neighbor"; neither can the Community Chest nor Social Welfare Agency. Immediate personal contact, courageous embracing of the worries and burdens involved in full personal and intimate relationships - these are the bloodstream of a healthy society.
On the Last Day, Our Blessed Lord said that He will judge us by our attitude to hospitality: "When did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and not car for You?" (Matthew 25: 44). Hospitality, therefore, not only has the duties of which we are aware, but also the more terrible awareness that it is Christ Who is the Stranger. In all our dealings, we are dealing with the Lord Himself, though we know it not. Maybe if we could see our wars aright, in between two trenches of the enemies, or between a plane in the sky and the target beneath, there is Christ's Body being shot full of holes. What men do to one another, they do to Him, whether the act be of kindness or bitterness.
The bold knight of the Round Table traveled far over mountain and desert in search of the Holy Grail, the Cup of Life from which the Savior drank the night of the Last Supper. His journeys proved fruitless. Depressed in spirit and fatigued in body, he returned to Arthur's hall. On the way he saw a poor man writhing in the ditch. Moved with compassion, he dismounted, gave a cup of water to the suffering man, and the cup glowed with fire as if it were alive with the joys of the new Covenant of Love. The Knight found the Holy Grail, not in deeds of prowess, but in hospitality to the needy.
Wells are made sweeter for the drawing. Those from which no one draws water for beast and fellow human being become polluted. Riches too become more peaceful when used as fuel for charity. The poor cannot reward us for hospitality; therefore God will have to do so. It was these He asked us to invite to our dinners, and it is interesting to note that He always called them, not meals but "banquets."