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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : SPECIAL TUES. MARCH 19, 2013 - SHARE


2013












POPE FRANCIS INAUGURATION MASS - FULL TEXT AND VIDEO

No comments:  (Vatican Radio REPORT) Homily of the Holy Father at the Inauguration of his Papal Ministry 19 March 2013:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.



 
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.

In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).

How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!

Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!

In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.

To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

AMERICA : USA : CARDINAL DOLAN - FULL TEXT LETTER ON INAUGURATION OF POPE FRANCIS


USCCB REPORT: Offers support, fidelity on behalf of bishops and Catholics in the United States
Pope's message of mercy and forgiveness encourages the new evangelization
Election has brought renewed sense of unity, hope and love among Catholics
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), congratulated Pope Francis on the occasion of the Inauguration Mass for his pontificate. He expressed the support and fidelity of the U.S. bishops, on behalf of more than 70 million Catholics throughout the 195 dioceses and eparchies in the country.
"Since your election as Roman Pontiff on March 13, the Church in our country has felt a renewed sense of unity, hope and love of Jesus Christ and His Church. Your messages of mercy and forgiveness spur us on to continue the faithful work of the new evangelization in our country and our world," Cardinal Dolan said.
The inauguration Mass took place this morning, March 19, in St. Peter's Square in Rome. "The inauguration of your Petrine ministry, occurring as it does on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, inspires us with the profound awareness that we stand as one before God and before the world united with you as our beloved Shepherd," Cardinal Dolan said.
He also noted the historical importance of the election of a bishop from the Americas to the See of Peter; and reaffirmed his prayers for strength and wisdom as Pope Francis begins his ministry to the Church as the Vicar of Christ.
The full text of the cardinal's letter follows:
LETTER OF CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN ON THE INAUGURATION OF PONTIFICATE OF POPE FRANCIS
MARCH 19, 2013
FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH
Most Holy Father,
On the joyful occasion of the Mass to inaugurate your ministry as Bishop of Rome, I wish to convey to you the deep affection, prayerful support and sincere pledge of fidelity of the Bishops of the United States of America and the more than 70 million Catholic faithful throughout the 195 dioceses and eparchies across our nation.
Since your election as Roman Pontiff on March 13, the Church in our country has felt a renewed sense of unity, hope and love of Jesus Christ and His Church. Your messages of mercy and forgiveness spur us on to continue the faithful work of thenew evangelization in our country and our world. The inauguration of your Petrine ministry, occurring as it does on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, inspires us with the profound awareness that we stand as one before God and before the world united with you as our beloved Shepherd.
The election to the See of Peter of a bishop from the Americas fills us with special happiness as we sense a special bond and closeness with you. We pray for you, Holy Father, for strength, wisdom and much joy as you begin your ministry to the Church as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of Saint Peter.

AUSTRALIA : CARDINAL PELL AT INAUGURATION MASS OF POPE


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
19 Mar 2013
180 cardinals and church leaders, including Cardinal Pell will concelebrate today's Inaugural Mass for Pope Francis
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell will attend the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francis, the world's 266th pontiff at St Peter's Basilica in Rome today where more than one million pilgrims are expected to crowd into St Peter's Square and the surrounding streets to celebrate the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Speaking from Rome to radio host, Alan Jones on 2GB this morning, Cardinal Pell described today's inauguration of the new Bishop of Rome and the Church of Rome, the successor of St Peter, and the beginning of the new Petrine Ministry, as an historic event.  He went on to predict that what the world had seen so far of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit, the first non-European pontiff in more than 1200 years and the first pope to come from South America  was "just the start of the story."
"The fact he is from South America means a tremendous amount," he said pointing out that half the Catholics in the world today are from Latin America. 
Although the new Holy Father was elected less than a week ago, Cardinal Pell said Pope Francis had already demonstrated that he had a sure popular touch and was able to preach in a way people could easily understand and to which they could relate.
"I was having a cup of coffee in Rome yesterday when two waiters spoke to me about Pope Francis and after hearing his first homily, wanted to know if he was really like he appeared to be. I was able to tell them 'yes' and that 'what you see is what you get,'" the Cardinal said adding that he had known Pope Francis for 10 or 15 years.
Cardinal Pell predicts inauguration of Pope Francis is just the start of the story
"We have worked together on committees and councils. I am certainly not a close friend but we know one another and I have great admiration for him."
With his advocacy of the poor and oppressed, his letter to Argentineans telling them not to come to Rome for his Inauguration Mass but instead to donate the money they would have spent on a trip "in some gesture of charity to the needy," together with his humility and the simple lifestyle he adopted as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, choosing to live in a small city apartment, use public transport and cook for himself, Pope Francis has broken new ground.
Last Sunday when he appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, a banner waved by some members of the 150,000-strong crowd proclaimed: "Pope Francis You are the Springtime of the Church."
"I hope this is the case," Cardinal Pell said this morning and praised the new pontiff not only as a champion for the poor and marginalised but as a man who could make decisions, particularly hard decisions and stick by them.
Pope Francis greets Argentine President Cristina Kirchner in a private meeting at the Vatican
"Far and away from the most important tasks he faces there are some things here in Rome that need cleaning up, and I think he is the man to make some progress on that score," His Eminence believes.
The fact the new Pope's parents were born in Italy before emigrating to Argentina where he was born, has  won him much warm hearted support in Rome, the Cardinal said and was further endorsed by his decision to take the name of Italy's patron saint: St Francis of Assisi.
"The Pope is first of all Bishop of Rome and first leader of the community here (Rome) and obviously has to look after his own people to start with, and his links to Italy have been welcomed and celebrated by the Italians," he explained.
Today's Inauguration will be attended by more than one million pilgrims including a large contingent from Latin America together with many of the world leaders, statesmen, dignitaries, politicians, royalty and delegations from other Christian denominations as well as those of other faiths.
Pope Francis is the world's 266th Pope and the first Jesuit and first Pontiff from the Americas
Among those who will attend the Inaugural Mass in St Peter's Square will be Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Duke of Gloucester representing Queen Elizabeth who is still recovering from a virus, Joe Biden, Vice President of the US representing American President Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, President of France. Six reigning sovereigns including Prince Albert of Monaco and King Albert II of Belgium will also attend, along with 31 heads of state, 11 heads of government, 16 Jewish representatives and 33 delegations representing Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities from Asia, Europe and the Americas. In addition Catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin II will attend, so too will Metropolitan Hilarion of the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Fykse Tveit and for the first time since the Great Schism of the Church into Eastern and Western Confessions in 1054, the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I will be at the inauguration of a new Holy Father. John McCarthy, Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See will also attend.
But of all those who are travelling to Rome for the Inauguration of Pope Francis the most controversial figure is Zimbabwe despot, 89-year-old Robert Mugabe.
"The man has enormous front and enormous cheek," Cardinal Pell said this morning remembering how Mugabe also insisted on attending the funeral of Blessed John Paul II. "His (Mugabe's) record at home is quite appalling and I think it quite incongruous that he will be present today."
Almost as controversial is Argentine President Cristina de Kirchner using a private audience with Pope Francis yesterday to ask him to intervene for the return of the Falkland Islands by the British to Argentina. De Kirchner as well as her late husband who was also President, have long been at loggerheads, not over the politics of who should have jurisdiction over the Falklands but instead over the government's legalisation of abortion, same sex marriage and adoption of children by same sex couples.
The new Pope was an outspoken opponent of these laws and in accordance with Church doctrine remains firmly against same sex marriage, abortion and children being raised by same sex couples.
Prince Albert of Monaco among the six ruling sovereigns to attend Pope Francis' Inauguration
Today's Inauguration Ceremony will be streamed live on Xt3.com including the lead up to this important event with live coverage of St Peter's Square begining from mid morning today.
The Inauguration of Pope Francis can be seen on Sky News from 7.30 pm tonight.
The Pope will leave Domus Santa Maria where he has been staying for St Peter's Square at around 9 am Roman time (7 pm EST). Once at the Square he will move through the throng of pilgrims in an open jeep or a Popemobile. At 9.15 am (7.15 pm EST) he will enter the Sacristy of St Peter's Basilica via the Pieta side with the Mass planned for 9.30 am (7.30 pm EST).
Once inside the Basilica, the Pope will pray beside St Peter's tomb under the high altar as trumpets announce the "Tu es Petrus." The pontiff will venerate the tomb with the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Easter Rite Catholic Churches. He will then be presented with the Papal Pallium, Fisherman's Ring and Book of the Gospels which had been placed on the tomb the previous evening.
Pope Francis will then return to the main floor of the Basilica from where the procession of cardinals, superior generals of the Jesuits, the Order of Friars Minor and other leaders will make their way from the Basilica and through the entrance into the Square.
The Mass in St Peter's Square will be concelebrated by all 140 cardinals currently in Rome, including Cardinal Pell together with the Patriarchs, the Major Easter Rite Archbishops, the secretary of the College of Cardinals, the two Superior Generals from the order of Friars Minor and the President and Vice President of the Jesuits.
In all 180 will concelebrate the Mass.
As today, 19 March is also the Feast Day of St Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and patron saint of the Universal Church, the Solemnity of St Joseph Mass will be celebrated.
John McCarthy, Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See will be at today's Inauguration
For those watching on television or the live streaming on Xt3.com, the left side of the Sagrato (the porch of the Basilica) is where 250 bishops and archbishops will be seated along with ecclesiastics, and delegations from other Churches and Christian confessions. On the right-hand side of St Peter's Square will be the delegations from various countries, heads of state, ministers and royalty. On the St Peter's statue side of the piazza is where delegations of Muslims, Jews and other religious will be seated along with 1200 priests and seminarians from across the world. The diplomatic corps including Australia's ambassador to the Holy See John McCarthy will be seated on the St Paul's Statue side of St Peter's Square with other civil authorities and representatives.
In the rest of the Square it will be standing room for more than 300,000 pilgrims without tickets with many hundreds of thousands more watching the ceremony on big screens from streets surrounding the Square.
Watch the Inauguration of Pope Francis this evening when the entire two hour ceremony will be streamed live on xt3.com. Streaming from St Peter's Square in the lead up to the Inauguration Ceremony began this morning so go to xt3.com and be part of the excitement as crowds gather in the square from 1 am Italian time, 11 am our time. The ceremony can also be seen tonight on Sky News from 7.30 pm.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

EUROPE : RIP FRANZISKA JAEGERSTAETTER - PAX CHRISTI - AGE 100

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT

 
Franziska Jagerstatter dies aged 100 |  Franziska Jaegerstaetter, Pax Christi, Blessed Franz  Jaegerstaetter
 Just two weeks after celebrating her 100 birthday Franziska Jaegerstaetter died peacefully, on 16 March, surrounded by her family in St Radegund, Austria.
Pax Christi heard that, though weak and in bed, Franziska had much enjoyed the birthday greetings and cards. A message from Pax Christi UK was read out to her. She received congratulations from the Austrian President and from Cardinal Christoph Sch├Ânborn.
Pax Christi also sent a message which was read out in Linz cathedral at the celebration there on Sunday 3 March.
On 28 February Franz was honoured at the barracks in Enns where he had announced his refusal 70 years ago. A memorial tablet was blessed by Christian Werner, the Military Bishop. Members of Pax Christi Austria commented that it was evident that the governor of Upper Austria, Josef P├╝hringer, and the commanders of the barracks were not only fully aware of Franz's decision but also declared their complete agreement with any objection and refusal to comply with inhuman orders or commands, even in the army of a democratic state.
Pax Christi are so grateful for the lives of Franz and Franziska, their witness will continue to influence us and many others. The 21 May is the feast day of Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter and Pax Christi hope that the day will be marked around the country.
Read more about Franziska here: http://www.paxchristi.org.uk/documents/Franziska%20.pdf
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

ASIA : CHINA : ILICIT ORDINATION BY BISHOP YINGLIN

UCAN NEWS REPORT

Bishop performs 'sacrilegious' act, even as China sends a goodwill message
ucanews.com reporter, Kunming
China
2013-03-19 16:30:01

Catholic Church News Image of
Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin ordained Paul Yue and Joseph Bu as deacons last December (file photo)
Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, who is not recognized by the Holy See, ordained two priests in Yunnan province today, raising new questions about the troubled relationship between the China Church and the Vatican.
A priest of Kunming who concelebrated the Mass told ucanews.com they had planned the ordination for the solemnity of St. Joseph – inadvertently coinciding with Pope Francis’ installation – several months ago.
“It was impossible to change the date because many relatives and friends have expected and prepared for this joyful occasion,” the priest said.
“I hope the outside world would not misunderstand. We ordain priests simply for the need of the local Church.”
During the ordination Mass, Bishop Ma led the congregation to pray for God’s blessing for the new pope so he could lead the Church to achieve unity and to flourish.
However, Bishop Ma’s illegitimate status created confusion among some Church observers.
One such observer, who requested anonymity, said it was “strange” that the Beijing government would send a goodwill message to the new pope while allowing Bishop Ma to proceed “at this important moment.” The observer called the ordinations “a sacrilegious act which splits up the Church.”
Some faithful see Bishop Ma’s act as confrontational.
“Is Ma signaling to the new pope that he and the China Church would hold fast to the independent Church principle?” one of them said, wondering if the Holy See would excommunicate Bishop Ma, as he has repeatedly violated Church law.
The ordinations, of Yi-ethnic Father Paul Yue Bangshuang from Dali diocese and Jingpo-ethnic Father Joseph Bu Shuncai from Zhaotong apostolic prefecture, took place at a small church in Ruili city, on the border with Myanmar.
The new priests graduated from seminaries in Hebei and Shaanxi provinces, respectively, and were ordained deacons by Bishop Ma last December.
Three thousand Catholics witnessed the ordination of the second ethnic Jingpo priest in China. Six priests and some laypeople from Myanmar, all ethnic Jingpo, crossed the border to join the ceremony.
This is the third time Bishop Ma has ordained priests – two in April 2008 and six in March 2012 – since 2006, when he was ordained as a bishop without papal mandate.
At the time, Rome published a strong statement against China’s practice of “self-ordination” but did not declare any canonical sanctions against Bishop Ma.
In 2010, Bishop Ma was elected president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Church in China and vice chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Neither organization is recognized by the Vatican.
This month, Bishop Ma was re-nominated as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultation Conference, the government’s top advisory body.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

2013

NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH - MIRACULOUS PRAYER




NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH
On March 19 it will be the feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.
The Novena Prayer to St. Joseph begins today.
Say for nine consecutive mornings for anything you may desire. It has seldom been known to fail.
*Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so 
strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I
place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful
intercession and obtain for me from your
Divine Son all spiritual blessings through
Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged
here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the Loving of
Fathers.
Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you
and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not
approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head
for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I
draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray
 for us.       Amen





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TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. MARCH 19, 2013 - ST. JOSEPH


Luke 2: 41 - 51

41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.42And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom;43and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,44but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances;45and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;47and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.48And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously."49And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"50And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.51And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 19 : ST. JOSEPH


St. Joseph
SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS
Feast: March 19


Information:
Feast Day:March 19
Died:1st century
Patron of:against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...
The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being , as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.
In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"
"O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.
We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he  alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.
After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them.
Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest  grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!
As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.
The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. Joseph, which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to promote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life in twelve poems, called Josephina. He enlarges on all the circumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth chapter of her life she writes thus: "I chose the glorious St. Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singularly to his intercession. I do not remember ever to have asked of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew anyone who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly in virtue; for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, constancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches celebrate his festival on the 20th of July; the western church on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV in 1621, and Urban VIII in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation.
The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph presents to us the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their poor cottage! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably attached to his sacred person, always employed and living only for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him! O heavenly life! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss! O divine conversation! We may imitate them, and share some degree of this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, and imitating his example and virtues; and in our studying to walk continually in the divine presence, finding God everywhere, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spend with God, or for his honor.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjoseph.asp#ixzz1pYqBySwA
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