S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Saintly Gentleman

Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph had many titles:
- Most Chaste Spouse of Mary
- Patron of the Universal Church
- Patron of a Happy Death
- Guardian & Protector of Virgins
Throughout the history of Catholicism, the devotion to St. Joseph had been very much alive. Though we know very little of St. Joseph if we base it on Sacred Scriptures (he was indeed a very silent man!), but he remains an important figure in the life of Christ. It was he who reared Jesus to become a good and devout Jew (with Mary, of course), he taught Jesus the skillful trade of carpentry, and he formed Jesus to become a true gentleman.
I personally have a touching experience of St. Joseph when I did my 30 days of Spiritual Exercises as a Jesuit Novice. It was during the Second Week of the Exercises, the part wherein our attention is focused on the hidden life and public ministry of Jesus that I got to appreciate the role of St. Joseph in Jesus' life, and ultimately, in my life as a Christian as well. I realized that if there was any man in this world who got so close, so intimate to the person of Jesus, if there was any man who was able to press his chest to that of Christ, if there was any man who spent a lot of time with Jesus, it must be St. Joseph. Being the foster father of the Lord and the protector of the holy family, St. Joseph knew Christ so well.
So as we celebrate this great Solemnity, let us ask St. Joseph to bring us closer to the person of Jesus. That in the final analysis, as we honor him, may we aquire his attributes -- poverty, simplicity, and chastity.
I found a very nice prayer to st. Joseph and I wish to share it with you...

Oh, St. Joseph,
whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,
before the throne of God,
I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, 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.
Oh, 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 departed souls - pray for me.

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,
pray for us.


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