APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION REDEMPTORIS CUSTOS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II ON THE PERSON AND MISSION OF SAINT JOSEPH IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST AND OF THE CHURCH
To Bishops To Priests and Deacons To Men and Women Religious And to all the Lay Faithful
- “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife” (cf. Mt 1 :24).
Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing,(1) he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.
On the occasion of the centenary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries,(2) and in line with the veneration given to St. Joseph over the centuries, I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers, and sisters, some reflections concerning him “into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures.”(3) I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner.
In this way the whole Christian people not only will turn to St. Joseph with greater fervor and invoke his patronage with trust, but also will always keep before their eyes his humble, mature way of serving and of “taking part” in the plan of salvation.(4)
I am convinced that by reflection upon the way that Mary’s spouse shared in the divine mystery, the Church – on the road towards the future with all of humanity – will be enabled to discover ever anew her own identity within this redemptive plan, which is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation.
This is precisely the mystery in which Joseph of Nazareth “shared” like no other human being except Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. He shared in it with her; he was involved in the same salvific event; he was the guardian of the same love, through the power of which the eternal Father “destined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:5). Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The video above supplying music and images to the prayer to Saint Joseph seemed very appropriate for a Labor Day Weekend. There was a reason why God chose as His guardian and the husband of His mother a humble carpenter, instead of some great and powerful king. God does not see as we see. We judge too often by outward appearance while God judges by the soul and character. A simple concept one would think, but one that is hard to live by as we too often judge people by their jobs or clothes or any of the other superficial differences between us that loom so large on this earth and which are less than nothing in eternity.
On Labor Day it is good to recall Saint Joseph the Worker. When God decided to partake in our humanity, He could have had anyone for His foster father, and He chose a humble carpenter, a man who worked with his hands. Why?
The Bible gives us no indication that Saint Joseph was intelligent, brave or resourceful. He may have been all these things, but the Bible does not tell us. We know that he was of the House of David, but judging from all indications in the Bible he lived in humble circumstances. What made Joseph stand out to God other than the fact of his heritage?
Kindness I think, simple human kindness. This was graphically demonstrated at the very beginning when Saint Joseph first is mentioned in the Gospel of Saint Matthew 1:18 and 19:
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
The King’s Men is an organization for Men to (re)discover what it means to be a man, a real man, a Catholic man as well as a manly Catholic.
As men we lead and protect the family.
We need to be active in the life of the Church.
We need to learn more about our Catholic faith and much, much more.
In today’s society and culture the role of men have been degraded, feminized, or ridiculed. Our roles as men have been degraded to eliminate ‘gender bias’ by militant secularist humanists. We have been feminized to the point of denying our natural gifts of being a leader, provider, and protector. And we have been ridiculed by being attacked as misogynists.
This has taken such a toll on our role as men, we have forgotten what it means to be a husband, father, and a leader in the Church.
Part 1 of 4:
In my brief life on earth I have not experienced such high unemployment amongst my family and friends this year than ever before. As each week passes I hear of another friend or acquaintance who has lost his or her job.
This is the worst recession I have seen and I don’t see any signs that it will let up for the next 9-12 months. So I find it appropriate that a simple request to all our readers to make time this evening prior to going to bed and include those that are unemployed, especially those with families and dependents in your prayers.
With extra time on our hands the unemployed can remain steadfastly busy by working on their faith through prayer and service. For when work does come around there will not be time for such activities.
The following prayer is a traditional Catholic prayer that I have used from time to time due to the nature of my work of being an independent contractor and one that helps to put life in proper perspective and order:
Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support.
Lord, I am worn out
By my inability to find work.
Guide my steps to a righteous path;
Give me the patience
To find opportunities with a future.
Calm my worries and fears
As my financial responsibilities mount.
Strengthen my resolve;
Embolden my heart to open doors;
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections.
Help me believe in me.
Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth.
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Saint Joseph has been especially helpful for me and I strongly recommend him for those seeking employment:
Dear Saint Joseph, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support my family. Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care. Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God.
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.
Pope Saint Pius X
Ted Kennedy was a devoted father.
Many years ago, before my complete embrace of our Catholic faith, I used to read a lot on Ted Kennedy due to my fascination of his political career and of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. There were many good and bad things I encountered, though what stood out above all was his devotion to his children.
One of the great things for me in finding Christ’s Church is the abundance of examples Catholics have for living a holy life. The saints show us Christian life: what to expect from it and how to live it. When I came into the Church three years ago this coming Easter, my wife and I chose St. Joseph as my patron. As a new husband, it seemed a natural if somewhat uninspired, choice. I also was not very familiar with any other saints and at least new Joseph from the Christmas story. However, as I learned more Church history and began to familiarize myself with the lives of the saint, I must sadly confess that I began to wonder if some other less well-known or more “exotic” saint would have been a “cooler” choice. It wasn’t until the birth of my son that I really began to understand how significant and beautiful is St. Joseph. Through what has proven to be some of the toughest years in mine and my wife’s lives, I have felt his gentle but strong working man’s hand on my shoulder. In a very real sense Our Lady’s Most Chaste Spouse has been with me every step of the way. I don’t think I truly understood marriage and family life until I discovered Saint Joseph and his place in the Holy Family. Through my Baptist heritage I was obviously aware of Joseph but mostly as a backdrop in the Nativity story. Neither Joseph nor Mary were the subject of any particular devotion and once Christmas was over they were literally and figuratively put back in the attic.
I especially look to him and ask for his intercession as I struggle to provide for my family during this recession. For several reasons but mostly economic ones, my wife and I recently returned to my hometown after living on the East Coast for many years. The economy here, while not great, has faired much better than many other parts of the country and it is nice to have my parents nearby so they get to spoil their new grandson. These days I often think of St. Joseph leading his young wife and child into the unknown of Egypt. How difficult must that have been? At least I am familiar with the place the Lord has led us. I may be wrong, but I do not think Joseph was in any way familiar with the land of the pharaohs, regardless, he trusted God absolutely and relocated. We see that even in what must have seen the bleakest of times, God provided for him so that he could provide for the Blessed Mother and the Infant Christ. I feel an especial love for Saint Joseph on this day as I look upon this love and trust in God. Herod’s attempt to slaughter the Christ Child was an attempt by Satan to destroy our Hope before most of the world even knew He existed. In a sense, Joseph with the Holy Family was fleeing despair. In similar fashion, we must always follow God’s will for us and not our own, even if we are unsure where He is leading us. Let us ask for the intercession of Blessed Saint Joseph for all the needs of our family, for the protection of our loved ones and the protection of the Church founded by Christ.
EWTN.com has a great page on Saint Joseph on this page.