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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 April 19, 2021

He asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise....

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April 19

 

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life. 
A man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom. 
A thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. 
 
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul 
purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption. 
 

But in the Divine plan it was a thief 
who was the escort of the King of kings 
into Paradise.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alphege of Canterbury

Alphege hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing...

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St. Alphege of Canterbury

As a youth, Alphege became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, England, afterwards an anchorite and later an abbot in a monastery in Bath. At thirty, at the insistence of St. Dunstan and to his great consternation, he was elected Bishop of Winchester. As bishop, he maintained the same austerity of life as when a monk. During his episcopate he was so generous toward the poor that there were no beggars left in the diocese of Winchester.

Alphege served twenty-two years as bishop of this see and was then translated to the see of Canterbury at the death of Archbishop Aelfric.

During this period, England suffered from the ravages of the Danes who joined forces with the rebel Earl Edric, marched on Kent and laid siege to Canterbury. When the city was betrayed, there was a terrible massacre, men and women, old and young, dying by the sword.

The Archbishop hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing through the crowd begged the Danes to cease the carnage. He was immediately seized, roughly handled, and imprisoned.

A mysterious and deadly plague broke out among the Danes, and, despite the fact that the holy prelate had healed many of their own with his prayers and by giving them blessed bread, the Danes demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. As the Archbishop protested that the country was too poor to pay such a price, he was brutally assassinated.

St. Alphege was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death. In 1023, the martyr's body was translated with great ceremony to Canterbury accompanied by the Danish King Canute. Although he did not die directly in defense of the Faith, St. Alphege is considered a martyr of justice.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

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

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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