Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Joseph, Guardian of Christ

Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio, Rome
Altar of St. Joseph
So much has been said about St. Joseph, protector and guardian of the Virgin and her Son, the Eternal Word.  Scripture mentions St. Joseph, fifteen times, attributing to him the title of the a “just man” (Matt. 1:19), which flows from his relationship with Christ and His Mother.   

While St Joseph has no words attributed to him, his silence speaks volumes.

Through the silence of St. Joseph, we can hear the echo of Mary's instructions to the servants at the wedding of Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)  St. Joseph trusted the appearance of the angel who told him in a dream not to be afraid to take Mary to be his wife, (cf. Matt. 1:20-21)  and to take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt. (Matt. 2: 13-15) By his silent self giving and contemplation in the role that was assigned to him, he shows us the perfect path to holiness: following the will of God. 

In 1870, on December 8th, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and asked his guidance not only upon the Vicar of Christ on earth, but also as protector and guide of all families and members of the Church, who make up Christ's mystical body.

“St. Joseph is the protector par excellence of the family, along with the other two of whom he was the incomparable guardian. The simple mention of Jesus, Mary and Joseph reminds us that there [in the Holy Family] we find all human history and there we find also the salvation, the grandeur, the beauty, the splendor of the Catholic Church.”
( Homily, Pope John XXIII)

Pope John XXIII earned the title of “St. Joseph's Pope", because of his great devotion.  Having contemplated taking “Joseph” as his name when elected to the Pontificate and only deferring  due to a lack of precedent, he nevertheless showed his devotion by naming St. Joseph patron of the Second Vatican Council and adding St. Joseph's name to the Canon of the Mass. (December 8, 1962, ninety-two years after St. Joseph was proclaimed the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX.)

On this feast of St. Joseph, let us imitate his example by striving to do the will of God. To sanctify our family life after his example, as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ.   
St. Joseph patron of the universal Church, and family life, pray for us!

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