The Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Today's narrative and prayer are adapted excerpts from "Lives of the Saints, Illustrated."
Cross section of 'Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus' by Guido Reni, circa 1635.
Saint Joseph, the pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of our Blessed Lord, was descended from the royal house of David. He is a "just man" of the New Testament, the lowly village carpenter of Nazareth, who among all the men of the world was the one chosen by God to be the husband and protector of the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. To his faithful, loving care was entrusted the childhood and youth of the Redeemer of the world.
After the Mother of God, not one of the children of men was ever so gifted and adorned with natural and supernatural virtues as was Saint Joseph, her spouse. In purity of heart, chastity of life, humility, patience, fortitude, gentleness, and manliness of character, he reveals the perfect type of mode of the true Christian.
Poor and obscure in this world's possession and honors, he was rich in grace and merit and eminent before God in the nobility and beauty of holiness. Because Saint Joseph was the representative of the Eternal Father on earth, the divinely appointed head of the
Holy Family, which was the beginning of the great Family of God, the Church of Christ,
on December 8, 1870, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the foster-father of Jesus as Patron of the Universal Church. Since then, his feast has been celebrated on March 19 as one of high rank. In some places, it is observed as a holy day
Saint Joseph watches over and protects the Church militant from his throne of glory in heaven, and no one who calls on him in need ever calls in vain. He is the model of the perfect Christian life and the patron of a happy death. His patronage extends over the Mystical Body of Christ, over the Christian family, the Christian school, and all individuals who in their need appeal to his charity and powerful intercession, especially in the hour of death; for he who, when dying, received the affectionate ministry of his foster-Son, Jesus, and his Virgin spouse, Mary, may well be trusted to obtain for us the mercy of God and the grace of a peaceful and holy death.
Prayer: Almighty God, You entrusted to the faithful care of Joseph the beginnings of the mysteries of man's salvation. Through his intercession, may Your Church always be faithful in her service to fulfill Your designs. Amen.