Thursday, March 19, 2015

I love St. Joseph.


I do. We don't know too much about him, and much of what we do know about him were legends made up centuries after his life. For the record, Joseph was not an old man who'd been married before when he met Mary, okay? In some art he's depicted as being quite elderly, but in some art Moses apparently has horns. Don't believe everything you see in art.

We do know St. Joseph was just, no small thing in any age; he was obedient to God; he loved Mary and sought to protect her, even when he had reason to suspect the worst of her pregnancy; he guarded and loved his little family enough to flee to Egypt to protect them, a hard journey to a place that was not exactly the Catskills in their heyday to the Jewish people. He was faithful in dire circumstances, and even in dull circumstances. He was a hard worker and provided for his family---there was no workers' comp, unemployment insurance, or disability back then. We may not know much, but everything we know is good.

He ranks behind only Mary among the saints. Catholic Online says:

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
He's still a busy guy.

St. Joseph's feast day is today. The Italians love him, but in the U.S. his day gets shoved off the stage by that Irish feller two days earlier. But I always want to take the time to thank St. Joseph.

Years ago I was having a horrible problem, a really deadly one, and I found a flyer from the Josephites, a Catholic group founded in 1871 to minister to the African American community. The pamphlet had a 30-day prayer to St. Joseph to ask for his intercession. I was desperate enough to do it. Within a month of completing it I had the exact answer to my prayer.

It was awful. It was the last thing I would have wanted. It was nothing, in fact, that I wanted. But it was the only thing that would have worked.

And St. Joseph is still a worker.

I wanted an easy answer. Well, St. Joseph never had an easy day in his life. What else should I expect?

When I tell people about this I warn them to be careful with that prayer; it's loaded.

Thanks. St. Joseph.
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