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St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 19 Mar

St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 19 Mar

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Nothing is known of St Joseph except what is said of him in the Gospels. He was a carpenter; he accepted the will of God; and he supported Mary and brought up Jesus. From the human character of his son we can see that he was a good and responsible father. Although he is not officially a patron saint of anything in particular (though he is a patron of the Church as a whole), he is widely venerated as a patron of artisans who honourably do good work with the gifts God has given them, and of workers in general.

Pope Francis’ Homily on Feast of St Joseph – 19 Mar 2020

The Gospel (Matthew 1:16.18-21.24) tells us that Joseph was “just,” namely, a man of faith, who lived the faithA man who could be numbered in the list of all those people of faith that we remembered today in the Office of Readings (Cf. Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11); those people that lived the faith as foundation of what is hoped for, as guarantee of what is not seen, and the proof of what is not seen.

Joseph is a man of faith: therefore, he was “just.” Not only because he believed but also because he lived this faith — a “just” man. He was chosen to educate a man who was true Man but who was also God: a man-God was needed to educate such a man, but there wasn’t one. The Lord chose a “just” <man>, a man of faith; a man capable of being man and also capable of speaking with God, of entering the mystery of God.  And this was Joseph’s life: to live his profession, his life as man and to enter in the mystery; a man capable of speaking with the mystery, of conversing with the mystery of God.  He wasn’t a dreamer; he entered in the mystery, with the same nature with which he carried out his craft, with the precision of his craft: he was capable of adjusting an angle milli-metrically on the wood, he knew how to do it; he was capable of lowering, of reducing a millimetre of wood, of the surface of a <piece> of wood.  As just, he was precise, but he was also capable of entering in the mystery that he couldn’t control.

This is Joseph’s holiness: to carry on his life, his craft with justice, with professionalism and, at the moment, to enter in the mystery. When the Gospel speaks to us of Joseph’s dreams, it makes us understand this: he enters in the mystery.

On this Solemnity of Saint Joseph, I think of the Church today — of our faithful, our Bishops, our priests, our consecrated men and women, the Popes: are they capable of entering in the mystery? Or do they need to regulate themselves according to the prescriptions that defend them from what they cannot control? When the Church loses the possibility of entering in the mystery, she loses the capacity to adore. A prayer of adoration can only happen when one enters in the mystery of God.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace that the Church may be able to live in the concreteness of daily life and also in the “concreteness” — in quotation marks — of the mystery. If she can’t do it, she will be half a Church; she will be a pious association, carried forward by prescriptions but without the sense of adoration. To enter in the mystery isn’t to dream; to enter in the mystery is precisely this: to adore. To enter in the mystery is to do today what we will do in the future, when we come into the presence of God: adore.

May the Lord grant this grace to the Church.

Before ending the Mass, the Pope exhorted to Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, given the coronavirus pandemic, which, in Italy, has caused the suspension of Masses with the participation of the faithful, to avoid all contagion. Pope Francis ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.

Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:

I invite all those that are distant and follow the Mass on television, to make a Spiritual Communion.

I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.

[ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ full homily at Santa Marta]
O dearest Saint Joseph,
I consecrate myself to your honour
and give myself to you,
that you may always be my father,
my protector and my guide
in the way of salvation.
Obtain for me a greater purity of heart
and fervent love of the interior life.
After your example may I do all my actions
for the greater glory of God,
in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
O Blessed Saint Joseph,
pray for me,
that I may share in the peace
and joy of your holy death.


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