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Monday, May 1, 2006
St. Joseph the Worker
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): May 1

Christ the Lord allowed Himself to be considered the son of a carpenter: come, let us adore Him, Alleluia -- Invitiatory Antiphon for Saint Joseph the Worker

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1956. On this date we also again recall Jesus' two natures - He was both Human and Divine. He was one person, a divine person, but he had two natures.

Today we recall St. Joseph the Worker and remember that St. Joseph trained Jesus as a carpenter. We too must become holy and remember to offer up our prayers, works, joys and sufferings each day in a Morning Offering Prayer.

What we know of St. Joseph comes from the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke. And what the scriptures tell us is that St. Joseph was a silent servant of God. St. Joseph owned little possessions but he was a descendant of David and full of the grace of God. There is not one recorded sentence spoken by St. Joseph, but the Gospels are clear that he acted kindly towards Mary and Jesus. He cared for them when Herod sought to kill Our Lord, and after the threat passed, he quietly passed away. For that reason, he is frequently recognized as the patron of a peaceful death. In the words of Pope Leo XIII: "Workman and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares."

According to tradition, St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, watches over and guards the Church. Numerous saints also had devotions to St. Joseph including Saint Bernard, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Gertrude, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Alphonsus and Saint Teresa of Avila.

Why have a devotion to St. Joseph?

“To the other Saints it appears that the Lord may have granted power to succor us on particular occassions; but to this Saint, as experience proves, He has granted power to help us on all occassions. Our Lord would teach us that, as he was pleased to be subject to Joseph upon the earth, so He is now pleased to grant whatever this Saint asks for in heaven. Others whom I have recommended to have recourse to Joseph, have known this from experience. I never knew any one who was particularly devout to him, that did not continually advance more and more in virtue. For the love of God, let him who believes not this make his own trial. And I do not know how any one can think of the Queen of Angels, at the time when she labored so much in the infancy and childhood of Jesus, and not return thanks to Joseph for the assistance which he rendered both to the Mother and to the Son" (St. Teresa of Avila)

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Prayer to Saint Joseph

To thee, O Blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we seek with confidence thy patronage also. By that affection wherewith thou wast united to the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God; by the fatherly love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we humbly beseech thee to look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased for us by His Blood, and to help us in our need by thy powerful intercession.

Defend, O thou most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen offspring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, O thou our most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, so that imitating thy example and strengtheded by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in heaven. Amen.

1 comments:

del_button December 11, 2007 at 1:39 PM
hue jass said...

Death
This is the last we hear of St. Joseph in the sacred writings, and we may well suppose that Jesus's foster-father died before the beginning of Savior's public life. In several circumstances, indeed, the Gospels speak of the latter's mother and brothers (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; John 7:3), but never do they speak of His father in connection with the rest of the family; they tell us only that Our Lord, during His public life, was referred to as the son of Joseph (John 1:45; 6:42; Luke 4:22) the carpenter (Matthew 13:55). Would Jesus, moreover, when about die on the Cross, have entrusted His mother to John's care, had St. Joseph been still alive?


DEVOTION TO SAINT JOSEPH
Joseph was "a just man". This praise bestowed by the Holy Ghost, and the privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus and the Spouse of the Virgin Mother, are the foundations of the honour paid to St. Joseph by the Church. So well-grounded are these foundations that it is not a little surprising that the cult of St. Joseph was so slow in winning recognition. Foremost among the causes of this is the fact that "during the first centuries of the Church's existence, it was only the martyrs who enjoyed veneration" (Kellner). Far from being ignored or passed over in silence during the early Christian ages, St. Joseph's prerogatives were occasionally descanted upon by the Fathers; even such eulogies as cannot be attributed to the writers among whose works they found admittance bear witness that the ideas and devotion therein expressed were familiar, not only to the theologians and preachers, and must have been readily welcomed by the people. The earliest traces of public recognition of the sanctity of St. Joseph are to be found in the East. His feast, if we may trust the assertions of Papebroch, was kept by the Copts as early as the beginning of the fourth century. Nicephorus Callistus tells likewise -- on what authority we do not know -- that in the great basilica erected at Bethlehem by St. Helena, there was a gorgeous oratory dedicated to the honour of our saint. Certain it is, at all events, that the feast of "Joseph the Carpenter" is entered, on 20 July, in one of the old Coptic Calendars in our possession, as also in a Synazarium of the eighth and nineth century published by Cardinal Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Coll., IV, 15 sqq.). Greek menologies of a later date at least mention St. Joseph on 25 or 26 December, and a twofold commemoration of him along with other saints was made on the two Sundays next before and after Christmas.
In the West the name of the foster-father of Our Lord (Nutritor Domini) appears in local martyrologies of the ninth and tenth centuries, and we find in 1129, for the first time, a church dedicated to his honour at Bologna. The devotion, then merely private, as it seems, gained a great impetus owing to the influence and zeal of such saintly persons as St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gertrude (d. 1310), and St. Bridget of Sweden (d. 1373). According to Benedict XIV (De Serv. Dei beatif., I, iv, n. 11; xx, n. 17), "the general opinion of the learned is that the Fathers of Carmel were the first to import from the East into the West the laudable practice of giving the fullest cultus to St. Joseph". His feast, introduced towards the end shortly afterwards, into the Dominican Calendar, gradually gained a foothold in various dioceses of Western Europe. Among the most zealous promoters of the devotion at that epoch, St. Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419), Peter d'Ailly (d. 1420), St. Bernadine of Siena (d. 1444), and Jehan Charlier Gerson (d. 1429) deserve an especial mention. Gerson, who had, in 1400, composed an Office of the Espousals of Joseph particularly at the Council of Constance (1414), in promoting the public recognition of the cult of St. Joseph. Only under the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471-84), were the efforts of these holy men rewarded by Roman Calendar (19 March). From that time the devotion acquired greater and greater popularity, the dignity of the feast keeping pace with this steady growth. At first only a festum simplex, it was soon elevated to a double rite by Innocent VIII (1484-92), declared by Gregory XV, in 1621, a festival of obligation, at the instance of the Emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and of King Charles II of Spain, and raised to the rank of a double of the second class by Clement XI (1700-21). Further, Benedict XIII, in 1726, inserted the name into the Litany of the Saints.
One festival in the year, however, was not deemed enough to satisfy the piety of the people. The feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, so strenuously advocated by Gerson, and permitted first by Paul III to the Franciscans, then to other religious orders and individual dioceses, was, in 1725, granted to all countries that solicited it, a proper Office, compiled by the Dominican Pierto Aurato, being assigned, and the day appointed being 23 January. Nor was this all, for the reformed Order of Carmelites, into which St. Teresa had infused her great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, chose him, in 1621, for their patron, and in 1689, were allowed to celebrate the feast of his Patronage on the third Sunday after Easter. This feast, soon adopted throughout the Spanish Kingdom, was later on extended to all states and dioceses which asked for the privilege. No devotion, perhaps, has grown so universal, none seems to have appealed so forcibly to the heart of the Christian people, and particularly of the labouring classes, during the nineteenth century, as that of St. Joseph.
This wonderful and unprecedented increase of popularity called for a new lustre to be added to the cult of the saint. Accordingly, one of the first acts of the pontificate of Pius IX, himself singularly devoted to St. Joseph, was to extend to the whole Church the feast of the Patronage (1847), and in December, 1870, according to the wishes of the bishops and of all the faithful, he solemnly declared the Holy Patriarch Joseph, patron of the Catholic Church, and enjoined that his feast (19 March) should henceforth be celebrated as a double of the first class (but without octave, on account of Lent). Following the footsteps of their predecessor, Leo XIII and Pius X have shown an equal desire to add their own jewel to the crown of St. Joseph: the former, by permitting on certain days the reading of the votive Office of the saint; and the latter by approving, on 18 March, 1909, a litany in honour of him whose name he had received in baptism.
Patronage Profile

against doubt, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, China, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, engineers, families, fathers, happy death, holy death, house hunters, Korea, laborers, Mexico, New France, people in doubt, Peru, pioneers, protector of the Church, social justice, travellers, Universal Church, Vatican II, Viet Nam, workers, working people


We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).


There is not one recorded sentence spoken by St. Joseph, but the Gospels are clear that he acted kindly towards Mary and Jesus.

According to tradition, St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, watches over and guards the Church. Numerous saints also had devotions to St. Joseph including Saint Bernard, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Gertrude, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Alphonsus and Saint Teresa of Avila.

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