Monday, 20 March 2017

Saint Joseph


On the left side of St Vincent church, right in front by the Altar, just by the Sacristy door, there’s a large statue of Our Lady. On the right side of the altar, hanging on the wall, there’s a picture of St Vincent, the Patron Saint of the church.

Mother Superior found in the Convent, in an old storeroom, a large statue of St Joseph and the baby Jesus. It was exactly the same size as the statue of Our Lady.

She suggested to Father Ignatius that the statue be restored and put on the right of the Altar, and for the picture of St Vincent to be moved elsewhere in the Church.

On the appointed day the beautifully restored statue of St Joseph was put in its rightful place on the right side of the church and Father Ignatius led a short prayer meeting for all involved. A few nuns from the convent were there, as well as the restorer and a few helpers, and Mrs Davenport the priests’ housekeeper.

After leading the prayers Father Ignatius said a few words.

“I’m so glad that Mother Superior suggested we put this statue here to honor St Joseph; and I thank her for her kindness and generosity in donating the statue which was found in the convent.

“I’d like us to think for a while about St Joseph as an individual.

“Here we have a man, often depicted in pictures and statues as being a little advanced in age, we don’t know really how old he was when he met Mary … but she always looks much younger doesn’t she?

“Anyway … here we have a man intending to marry the young lady he loves and no doubt start a family which he will look after by way of his job as a humble carpenter.

“When one day he finds out she is pregnant. I don’t know about you … but I’d feel really hurt and cheated if it happened to me. How could she? And I trusted her so?

“Aren’t these the thoughts that would cross your minds … Peter, Ken and Mark?”

He looked at the three young men in the little prayer group and they smiled coyly.

“And I’d bet if it happened to you you’d run a mile in the opposite direction … wouldn’t you?” he asked them.

They did not reply.

“Oh … but there’s more …” said the priest, “not only did Joseph’s girlfriend promise him that she did not cheat on him … no, wait for it. She tells him that she is carrying the Son of God. Yes … she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit and she’s carrying the Son of God.

“Now in those days it would have been a great scandal to have a baby if you’re not married. You would have been ostracized by your family for a start for bringing shame upon them.

“Chances are you would have been stoned to death too …

“But to say that you’re carrying the Son of God from a Virgin pregnancy would have been blasphemy of the highest order. Either that, or people would have thought you’d lost your mind … simply gone mad and left to suffer the consequences.

“Yet, despite all these risks to her good name and indeed to her safety Mary had the courage and the Faith to trust in God and say ‘Yes’ when the Angel visited her. We should always be grateful for her saying ‘Yes’.

“Can you imagine? An Angel appeared to her … if it was me I’d probably fall off my chair with fright at the sight of such a visitation.”

They all laughed.

“And can you imagine poor old Joseph? His head must have been really spinning in a daze … and without the benefit of a Guinness or two!

“First she tells him she’s pregnant, then she says it’s a Virgin birth and the baby is the Son of God.

“Over to you three young men … what would you do in such circumstances?”

He paused for a second or two and did not give them time to reply.

“But the Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream … we don’t know if it was the same Angel Gabriel, but never mind. And like Mary, Joseph too has great Faith and he believes what he is told. He stays with Mary and raises the young infant as any good father would. And for this too we should be always grateful.

“I am very pleased to have the statue of St Joseph and the baby Jesus here and that of Our Lady on the other side of the Altar over there. The Holy Family on either side of the Altar reminding us of Faith in God and parental responsibility.

“I would like now to read you a short prayer to St Joseph. This prayer is said to be over 1900 years old. It was found in the fiftieth year of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the 1500's it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. It is a novena to be prayed for nine consecutive mornings for anything you may desire. It has seldom been known to fail.

“O 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. O 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 most Loving of Fathers. O 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.”

16 comments:

  1. Such beautiful thoughts about Joseph and Mary that we usually reserve for Advent, but they are so appropriate at this time of Lent also! What faith they had, to believe what God told them, and to follow hard after Him. Oh, that my faith would grow and obey so quickly! --Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you Bettie G. It is so nice to see you visiting here. We look forwards to your many returns.

      Yes indeed. Mary and Joseph had great faith in believing what the angel and God told them.

      God bless you.

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  2. I love those Fr. Ignatius stories. Going back to the point I made in your last post: See, God asked St. Joseph to sacrifice his apparent happiness to raise a child he never fathered. Perhaps he had to endure some level of humiliation from the people who suspected he wasn't the child's father. And my goodness, he was called to sacrifice any sexual relations with his wife for the rest of their lives. My wouldn't you say that he was called to do something that would make him unhappy. So don't think you know more than God Victor when you say God is asking us to do or live in ways the current culture thinks will make us unhappy.

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    1. You make some very good points Manny. I did not know that Mary and Joseph never had any sexual relationships. There's nothing about that in the Bible and I know it is assumed by many. Some believe that when Jesus refers to His brothers and sisters (remember when He was told His brothers and mother are waiting for Him), it means He really had siblings by Mary and Joseph.

      I certainly don't know more than God, Manny. I just hope that He does forgive me in my confusion between what the Bible says and what our Church teaches.

      God bless you and your family, Manny.

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    2. Oh my gosh Victor, I thought you knew Catholic theology. In fact this goes beyond Catholic. Almost all Christians believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. This goes back to the early centuries. Here:

      "Catholic, Anglican, Assyrian, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, as did the Protestant leaders Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Wesley and their respective movements; John Calvin believed that it was possible that Mary remained a virgin but believed the scriptural evidence was inconclusive.[3] Those who hold this belief reject the claim that Jesus had biological siblings and maintain that these brothers and sisters received this designation because of their close association with the nuclear family of Jesus, and are actually either his cousins or children of Joseph from a previous marriage."
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothers_of_Jesus

      Even the original Protestants believed in Mary's perpetual virginity. It's only the modern day Protestants that for some reason have drifted off in error. Read a little further in the Wikipedia entry and you will see that what comes to us translated as brethren can mean cousins or family members of equal rank.

      No, Joseph and Mary never had sex, and were quite happy about it.

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    3. Thank you Manny. You are of course right. There has been this belief, (doctrine and theology), that Mary remained a Virgin for life. The thing is, like many of the mysteries in Christianity, it is a belief. Something people believe and have pronounced as being so. I don't think it is ever mentioned in the Bible. I may be wrong.

      There are a number of things mentioned in the Bible by the Gospel writers and by St Paul and others. Like the Virgin Birth for instance, the announcement by the Angel Gabriel, Christ's death and Resurrection. But this is not specifically mentioned as far as I know. I'll check again.

      There are some things in our Catholic faith which the Church (the Pope) has pronounced upon and we are to believe them. They are not in the Bible. Twice a Pope has spoken ex-cathedra.

      In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

      About 100 years later, by promulgating the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, on 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. That is she was raised to Heaven and not buries in the ground.

      Both these beliefs are not in the Bible, and many non-Catholics don't believe in either dogmas. Does that mean we are right and they are wrong?

      That's what I am trying to say, Manny. Yes, as you point out, many believe that Mary remained a Virgin throughout her life. I am just wondering why this was not important enough to be mentioned by the Gospel writers.

      Thank you sincerely for your insight, Manny. God bless you.

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    4. Manny, I have found these references which add to the confusion amongst Catholics and protestants.

      Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55–56)

      “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. (Mark 6:3)

      The Apostle Paul also claimed that Jesus had at least one brother. Concerning his first trip to Jerusalem after his conversion, Paul wrote, “But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19).

      Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1:12–14)

      To claim Mary was a perpetual virgin even after Christ was born is to deny the words of the Apostle Matthew, who wrote, “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:24–25, emphasis added). "Know" means having sexual relationship.

      In the Good News Bible it says: "But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named Him Jesus." Matthew 1:25.

      See: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/is-the-perpetual-virginity-of-mary-a-biblical-view/

      That's what I find confusing.

      God bless.

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    5. Victor, you're a Protestant! Only modern day Protestants believe that, and it amazes me that you and they think they just suddenly discovered those words. As if no one ever read the Bible until now. As if some of the greatest minds in Christianity, St. Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, even those early Protestant reformers never read their Bible. Did you wonder why all those people and almost all the Christian denominations believe in Mary's perpetual virginity? Well you can start with this: https://www.catholic.com/tract/mary-ever-virgin
      or if you want a long read, Jimmy Aiken, former Protestant, is one of the best Catholic apologists:
      http://jimmyakin.com/the-perpetual-virginity-of-blessed-mary-against-helvidius

      Ask your priest. He will tell you. Or he should. If you put your reading into a Fr. Ignatius story, you will undermine the Catholicism of your story and people will not believe your character.

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  3. Welcome again, Manny.

    My friend, I can assure you I am not a protestant. I am a Catholic doing his best to understand Catholic teachings. At no point did I say that I believe that Jesus had brothers and sisters or that Mary and Joseph had relationships. All I said, and quoted, is what is in the Bible and what some people believe.

    I make sure that none of my Fr Ignatius stories carry anything that may be against the Catholic Church's teachings. As a good and thorough reader you would have picked me up if I ever did. I try, as best I can, not to give too much of my own views in my Fr Ignatius stories. I may sometimes fail in this.

    In all honesty, Manny. There are many things in our Catholic Faith which is taken as belief without Bible proof or backing. That's why it is called faith. I wish sometimes the Church and its leaders were more clear in their teachings.

    God bless you always.

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    1. Oh I know you're Catholic! I was just teasing.

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    2. Many thanx Manny. God bless you and your family.

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  4. What a beautiful post! I often think of Joseph and the role he played in the beautiful Gospel story. I wish we knew more about his life after Jesus was 12 years old in the temple. I have often wondered, but can only assume he had passed away sometime between then and the time of Jesus' crucifixion, since there is no mention of him being there. At any rate, his example is such a shining light for us all. Thank you for all you do, Victor. You are a blessing, and may God bless you, in return, my friend.

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    1. As you say, Cheryl, we know very little about Joseph after Christ was 12 years old. What an example of obedience and fatherly love he was.

      Thank you for your kind words, Cheryl.

      God bless you and your family.

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    1. Victor, after having paid Manny a visit and reading his 'Chuck Berry' post, the least I could do was to listen to my gut feeling and see what you had to say about 'Saint Joseph' during 'LENT'

      Long story short, there's so many different versions nowadays about Mary, Joseph and Jesus... "The Holy Family." I like to believe that Catholics don't need to insist on having an answer for everything about GOD'S WORDS... Sentences like... "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" should be enough... I think.

      Longer story shorter, After my mother and father lost my brother who was about six months old and then I was the next one born in 1946... What I'm trying to say is that mom and dad did the best they could and never stopped believing in "The Holy Family"... Joseph was a young man who loved and took care of his blessed family. During my parents older years mom could always be seen knitting and if you took a look at what she was knitting, you would be able to see her Rosary which she said always quietly... Before dad died of cancer, every night about seven or so, he would be on his knees and if any of his children came in the house at the time, we got on our knees also without saying a word...

      Before I go off on a tangent, I'll close by saying that I don't read the Bible and the only verse that I think I know by heart is John 3:16 which use to say in so many words... God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son and who so ever believed in Him would have everlasting life... I'm sure that any questions that I have unanswered will be dealt with during Eternity.

      YAR TURN sinner vic! Forget "IT" Victor. LOL

      WHO'S LAUGHING?

      GOD BLESS.

      Forgot to re-read... as if that makes a difference to the hackers...:)

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    2. Thank you Victor. Our Faith is just that; our Faith. Something that we believe in and we are comfortable in our belief. Something that through the grace of God sustains us in life and leads us to Him eventually.

      God bless you and your family.

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