Friday, August 19, 2011

ST JOSEPH [first century]

Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
He has two feastdays, his main one is on 19th March and on 1st May we celebrate him as St Joseph the worker.
Our facts about St Joseph comes from the New Testament.
Matt.[1:18-25] "Mary was betrothed to Joseph but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally.  He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins". So Joseph did what the angel said and took Mary home as his wife.

Joseph was in the stable in Bethlehem when
 Jesus was born.  What a joy for this holy man to take into his arms this tiny trembling little baby! To hear his first faint cry.  To this saint was given charge of the King of the Universe and His holy Mother!  Joseph must have wished with all his heart for better lodgings for the little one and his mother, but God chose to be born in extreme poverty in a stable!

We next hear of Joseph when he is again visited by an angel in a dream.  Matt. [2:13-15] "Get up take the child and his mother with you and escape into Egypt and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him".  So Joseph got up and taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead.

When Jesus was 12 years old he went up to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover with Joseph and Mary but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing, it took Mary and Joseph 3 days to find him. What heartache and grief did this holy couple go through!  They searched for their greatest treasure Jesus, finally they found him in the temple, sitting among the doctors listening to them, and asking them questions and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his answers.  They were overcome when they saw him and his mother said to him "My child why have you done this to us?  See how worried your father and I have been looking for you.  "Why were you looking for me?   Did you not know that I must be busy with My Father's business?  But they did not understand what he meant.  Jesus then went with them to Nazareth.

It was Joseph who guided the boy Jesus's first attempts at carpentry. It would have been his dear foster father who helped with the first things he made who encouraged him when he was learning.

Joseph it is believed, died before Jesus started his public life.  He would have died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, that is why he is the patron of a happy death.
Devotion to St Joseph has increased down the years, especially owing to the zeal of such saints as St Bernard, St Gertrude, St Bridget of Sweden.  St Teresa of Avila dedicated the mother-house of her reformed Carmelite convent at Avila to St Joseph and had great devotion to this great man.  St Ignatius of Loyola also had great devotion to St Joseph.
On December 8th 1870, Pope Pius 1X declared St Joseph "Patron of the Universal Church".  His name was added to the Canon of the mass by Blessed John XX111 in 1962.  Pope Leo X111 wrote a great Encyclical QUAMQUAM PLURIES [on devotion to St Joseph] on 15th August 1889.
He is also the patron saint of Fathers, of manual workers, and of social justice.

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