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St Joseph, Martyr of grandeur Header

 

To even begin to comprehend the nature of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we must bear in mind two awe-inspiring facts. St. Joseph is the virgin-husband of Our Lady and the guardian-father of Our Lord.

The husband must be proportional to the wife. Saint Joseph's spouse is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most perfect of all creatures, and masterpiece of the Creator's handiwork. In her incomparable person, we find the sum of all the virtues of all the angels, and saints, indeed all creation until the end of time. Even these poor considerations, of course, fail to convey adequately the sublime perfection of the Most Holy Mother of God.

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Statue - St Joseph
From among all men, God chose one man worthy to love and honor the Mother of His Only-Begotten Son as her husband He was a husband proportional to his wife in love of God, purity, wisdom, justice-in every virtue. Saint Joseph was that man.

However there remains something even more incomprehensible. The father must be proportional to his son, and, as we have noted, the Son for Whom God sought an earthly father was none other than His Own.

There could be but one man fit for such an awesome responsibility, the man God created for precisely this vocation and whose soul He crowned with every virtue. That man, too, was Saint Joseph. 

Saint Joseph is proportional to the Blessed Mother and her Divine Son. What greater homage could we render him? It is beyond our power to imagine the grandeur of Saint Joseph's exaltation.

Words cannot express the depth of his penetration of the most holy soul of Our Lady and the degree of his intimacy with the Incarnate Word. 

Saint Anthony of Padua is commonly depicted holding the Child Jesus. Because the Divine Child rested in his arms for a few moments, we deem Saint Anthony particularly blessed. Yet how many times did Saint Joseph hold the Christ Child in his arms? 

St Joseph StatueSaint Joseph's were the pure lips that taught Jesus and answered His questions.  Consider Saint Joseph's carpenter shop in Nazareth, where a son learns the trade of his father.

If you can conceive of a man with the purity, humility, and wisdom to govern the Holy Family as its lord, you may begin to appreciate the sublime virtue of Saint Joseph. But how did Saint Joseph's contemporaries react in the face of this grandeur? Saint Luke provides clear testimony. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

These last words reveal a bitter truth. In their petty selfishness, men find it difficult to accept that which is great-much less that which is divine. We may think that men like to deal with important matters. Indeed some men do enjoy such things, but in a superficial and selfish manner. What attracts men is not so much grandeur as mediocrity, a mixture of good and evil in which evil predominates.

So we can understand why the innkeepers of Bethlehem were unwilling to make room for the Holy Family. Saint Joseph and Mary showed them the most tender kindness. Their majesty was unmistakable, even in their poverty.

However distinction is only acceptable when it is accompanied by wealth, for the latter pardons the former. Moreover, greed incites flattery, which takes the place of respect. Thus, when a poor man of great distinction knocks at the door, there is no room. It would have taken but five minutes to arrange ample accommodation for mediocre rich men, but there was no room in the inn for Saint Joseph or for his wife with Child. And even had they known that the Child was the promised Messiah, they still would not have received them. As Donoso Cortes aptly reminds us, "The human spirit hungers for absurdity and sin."

The Child Jesus resembled Our Lady. She was the prefigure of the Redeemer. Saint Joseph also looked like Him, but there was no room in the inn for the Holy Family. Thus history records the first refusal of the Hebrew people. Our Lord knocks at the doors-at the hearts-of men through the paternal intercession of Saint Joseph and He is refused. 

Saint Joseph, prince of the House of David, the royal family from which would come the Hope of the Nations-knocks at the door and is rejected. But in this rejection lies his glory.  Taking another step toward martyrdom, he leads his august spouse to a poor stable, where the Lord of the Universe will be born. 

To this glory would be added many others: the glory of being considered a person of little worth; the glory of taking upon himself the humiliation, ignominy, and opprobrium that was to fall upon Our Lord; or the glory of being scorned by men for the grandeur of his soul. Even to this day; that same glory leads us to implore:

"Saint Joseph, Martyr of Grandeur, pray for us!"


 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 25, 2020

“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace...

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May 25

 

“I will take away
not the grace but the feeling of grace.
Though I will seem to leave you
I will be closer to you.”

Our Lord to St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Gregory VII

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cri...

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Pope St. Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII was born Hildebrand in Tuscany, Italy. Little else is known of his early life. Hailed, historically, as one of the greatest of the Church's pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all time, his name, Hildebrand, meant “bright flame”. Those who hated him, which were many, interpreted the name as “brand of Hell”.

Hildebrand was a Benedictine monk, for a time living in Cluny, from whence he certainly gleaned the monastery’s ideal of societal reform.

As a cleric, he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI, and a few years later, under Leo IX was made Cardinal Deacon. A man of outstanding energy and insight, Hildebrand became a power in Rome. It is greatly due to him that the practice of electing popes through a college of cardinals was established.

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cried out for the holy genius who had helped steer the Church for twenty years, “Hildebrand for Pope! Holy Peter wants Hildebrand, the Archdeacon!” Once before the holy monk had eluded the tiara but this time a proper college of cardinals, seconding the popular cry, induced him to accept an honor duly his.

Hildebrand assumed the name Gregory VII, and threw his energy and zeal into a continued reform, especially fighting simony (the sale of ecclesiastical posts) and clerical incontinence.

He confronted Emperor Henry IV head- on about his practice of choosing men for ecclesiastical positions. On meeting with dogged resistance, the pontiff finally had recourse to excommunication which drastically curtailed the proud monarch’s power, ultimately bringing Henry on foot to the Pope at the Castle of Canossa. Because of Henry’s rebellious obstinacy, Pope Gregory saw fit to leave him out in the cold for three days before receiving and reinstating the royal penitent.

But Henry failed to make any true personal reform and alienated his princes who elected another ruler. Still, he later rallied and went as far as electing another Pope, a Clement III, calling down upon himself another sentence of excommunication. He also attacked and entered the Eternal City in 1084, which forced Pope Gregory into exile. Henry had his protégée “pope” crown him Emperor. Ultimately repelled by an army fighting for the true pope, the Emperor Henry left Rome, but complications sent Gregory VII again into exile, this time to die.

His last words before his death were a summary of how he had lived, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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