Go To Joseph

Authored By: Billy Stainsby

GO TO JOSEPH

A SAINT WHOSE TIME HAS COME

by Billy Stainsby

There is nothing more powerful than the intercession of a in heaven whose time has come. Never before has the help of the patron-protector St. Joseph been so essential, as in this hour of the Church. In a time of ever-increasing spiritual battle and faced with the spread of impurity and the attempts by radical feminism to undermine the family and the dignity of fatherhood, we need to go to Joseph.

It has always been the plan of God to overcome the mighty by means of the small and humble. Thus Joseph most just, most chaste, most prudent, most strong, most obedient and most faithful to grace, protects the Church, the family of God as he once protected and headed the Holy Family.

History records the powerful intercession of St. Joseph at a very painful moment in the Church's history. In the early fifteenth century the Church was plunged into a grave crisis with the Great Schism in the east and heresy widespread in the West, not to mention three Popes claiming the See of Peter at the same time. At the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1416, the Chancellor of the University of Paris stood up and proposed devotion to St. Joseph to those earnestly seeking to heal the deep wounds afflicting the Church. Canon Sheehan records that Gerson "argued that St. Joseph was the guardian of Christ, and he whom Christ obeyed on earth still retains an authority of affection over Christ in heaven; and thus his wishes, like the wishes of Mary, are commands, and his intercession is all-powerful." These words, says Canon Sheehan, were received as the words of one who had a mission from heaven, and, as devotion to St. Joseph spread in the Church, the troubles of the Church, one by one, disappeared. In less than a year, perfect peace was restored.

The role of St. Joseph is no less essential for the family of God today, in both the lay and religious calling. In particular, St. Joseph illuminates both marriage and the monastic life as a vocation combining prayer and work, befitting a priestly household. As St. Peter writes, 'Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ' (1 Pet 2:5). Both family life and monastic life flourish through stability, by sinking their roots in one place, under one roof; both require a lifestyle which grows through dependence on one another; both are nourished through faithfulness to small duties, hidden sacrifices and loving kindness. Both are based on labour, where work is the expression of love for neighbour - that is, those closest to us. Both are routine: marriage and monastic life relive the hiddenness of Nazareth, repeat the same activities and gestures day in and day out. However, in God's plan, foresight and faithfulness to small things out of love for God and neighbour, release all the graces needed to belong to Him and each other. These sentiments are summed up in what the Rule of Benedict refers to as "Ora et Labora": Pray and Labour.

Let us pray: "St. Joseph, by the power of the Holy Spirit you were constituted the most powerful protector in the holy Church, were set as the holy steward over all Christian households and religious communities in the Church. Take my heart also under your care as the least of God's dwellings, so that this house might become a guardian of peace, a temple of God and a tabernacle for our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of men. Keep me pure and hold afar from me all intrusive pleasure, so that no stain remain clinging to my soul, and so that you, St. Joseph, might find in me a cause for joy. Amen.

This article appeared in the May 5, 1995 issue of "The Irish Family", P.O. Box 7, G.P.O., Mullingar. Co. Westmeath, IRELAND.