September | Just
Comfort of the Troubled
Joseph was no stranger to troubles. He was deeply disturbed to discover Mary pregnant. He endured anxiety throughout the journey to Bethlehem, made difficult with Mary ready to give birth. He experienced distress in his desperate futile search for a room in an inn where Son of God could be born. Fear gripped his heart at news of the death-threat against Jesus. He knew the worry of an uncertain future ignited by the frantic escape under the cover of darkness to a far-off unknown land. A shadow of unease fell at Simeon’s prophecy that Jesus would be a sign contradicted and that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart.
Were there perhaps times of sorrow at not being able to provide more for Jesus and Mary? He knew the tediousness of work. He knew the ups and downs of living peaceably with friends and neighbors. Did he feel a failure as father and guardian when Jesus was lost for three days in Jerusalem? Joseph suffered with Jesus who surely shared intimately the news of his future passion and death. Aging... illness… the moment of death. He rejoiced at the nearness of his eternal reward, yet suffered in his heart that he would not be able to console Jesus during His passion, nor be a support to Mary beneath the cross.
St. Joseph is “Comfort of the Troubled.” It’s not only because he himself experienced difficulties and suffering. And there’s a lesson here. It’s because Joseph bore all with a faithful heart of unfailing love and trust. It’s because he persevered through all by uniting himself with Jesus and His sufferings. When we unite our trials and sufferings, whether great or small, to Jesus and His passion, they are transformed by His grace to the benefit of ourselves and others. They become redemptive.
St. Joseph is called “just.” Justice is giving others their due. What does enduring troubles have to do with justice? Maybe a bit out of the ordinary for a consideration of “justice,” but in this context, perhaps Joseph reveals his justice to God by the steadfastness of his faith in our Father’s love and compassion for the child he had created, no matters the circumstances, no matter the pain. Perhaps Joseph reveals the due he gives to God by his self-surrendering trust in our Redeemer’s abundant saving grace in every circumstance and through every pain. Perhaps Joseph reveals the due he gives to God by his reliance on the Spirit’s guidance and providential care, regardless of circumstance and in spite of pain.
St. Joseph is our model when troubled. He is our comfort in difficulties. He understands. He is listening. We only need to call out to him. “St. Joseph, Comfort of the Troubled, mold our hearts in justice to be like your own: full of unwavering faith and hope in and love of God - no matter what. St. Joseph, help me see what your example means for me?”
St. Joseph was not simply the Guardian of Christ; he was the faithful Guardian of Christ. St. Joseph shows us what it means to be faithful to our vocation in life. Joseph was faithful to every point of the Mosaic Law. He was faithful to his vows to Mary, to his obligations as a father. He attended to all the duties toward God, toward his family, toward neighbor, and toward society. St. Joseph’s unwavering faithfulness was unselfish. He cheerfully gave of himself in service to Jesus and Mary, no matter the cost. Often enough the living out of his fidelity was heroic.
Fidelity, especially in uncertain and difficult times, is the measure of true love. It is the proof of true strength. Joseph guarded Jesus by means of his fidelity.
And more, St. Joseph was the obedient and faithful Guardian of Christ. Joseph’s obedience covered every aspect of his life: his marriage to Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, fleeing to Egypt, living in Nazareth. Every moment was consecrated to the Lord: work, rest, sleep… Joseph didn’t put limits on his obedience; he never said, “No more!” St. Joseph recognized the true meaning and beauty of obedience. He knew that obedience is a means to freedom, not something that limits it. It is a gateway to authentic and lasting happiness, a guardian against danger, a remedy for egoism, and a defense against the enemy of our soul. St. Joseph was obedient to God. And he was obedient to all others who had authority over him. He understood that they stood in the place of God; therefore, he took their orders as being from Him. St. Joseph’s degree of obedience was not measured by the intelligence, possession of virtue, or perfection of the person with authority. It rested on faith, his trust in God and divine providence. When he came face-to-face with worrisome situations, with divine plans that differed from his own, even in the face of his own humility, he trusted and faithfully obeyed. Joseph guarded Jesus with his obedience.
How do I guard Christ in my soul? Am I faithful to my responsibilities? Do I put limits on my obedience because I think I know better? St. Joseph, teach me to guard the divine life within my soul by my obedience and fidelity.
Votive Mass | September 1st
October | Patience
Hope of the Sick
Patience is a virtue. Yes, indeed. Imagine how he felt. Just betrothed, his wife goes off to visit her cousin Elizabeth - for 3 months! He finds out about his wife’s surprise pregnancy. How long before the angel’s clarifying visit? Herod’s rampage, an urgent flight into the wilderness, a foreign land, language, and culture. Would there be work for a refugee carpenter with a wife and newborn? Three days searching the streets of Jerusalem for his lost child. Would he sell enough wooden plows and tables before winter? And at the end, surrounded by Jesus and Mary, he lies on his sickbed. In all his trials Joseph waited, Joseph trusted. Joseph was patient.
Patience is the capacity to accept or endure something negative which is beyond our control – some sort of delay, trouble, provocation, opposition, suffering or trail - without letting it control our behavior, without getting angry, annoyed, or upset, and instead remaining peaceful, calm, and kind. Patience rides into battle to face difficulties and challenges. It can be a battle! It can be difficult to keep hope and peace of heart.
Saint Joseph is an example of how a disciple of Jesus responds to negative circumstances: with patience. Patience to stand firm in faith, to wait, and to trust in Divine Providence. In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him (Rm 8:28). Patiently trusting Divine Providence doesn’t guarantee things will change, nor is it a promise of freedom for anxieties and things beyond our control. However, patience under trial makes our faith in God and His loving care for us grow to maturity (Jas 1:2-4).
Patience is particularly needed when we suffering illness, or care for those who are sick. Sickness can wear us down. It can frustrate us. It can frighten us. In times of sickness, where do we turn? We can turn to Joseph. He is always there to help, no matter what we experience as part of the human condition or our own weakness. Joseph knows what it’s like to face things beyond our control. He knows the anxiety that comes with it. Joseph understands the temptation to give in to anger, frustration, and impatience. Ask him to help you bear sickness, and every other trial, with humility and faith – and patience!
Is there a circumstance in my life right now that I need to meet with renewed patience? How can I imitate Saint Joseph? Saint Joseph, Pattern of Patience, and Hope of the Sick, intercede for us!
Votive Mass | October 6th
A Consecration to St Joseph
Ideally, families and groups could organize themselves to make the consecration together. Fr. Calloway’s book includes material for six weeks of group meetings leading up to the consecration. On the final day a simple ceremony could be planned where the group recites the consecration prayer together led by their pastor or parochial vicar following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
To make a 33-day consecration, we recommend that you use the new book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC.
The chart below lists suggested dates for making the consecration during the Year of St. Joseph
|START DATE||FEAST DAY||CONSECRATION DAY|
|February 15, 2021||Solemnity of St. Joseph||March 19, 2021|
|March 30, 2021||St. Joseph the Worker||May 1, 2021|
|April 11, 2021||Our Lady of Fatima||May 13, 2021|
|July 20, 2021||Our Lady of Knock||August 21, 2021|
|September 30, 2021||All Saints||November 1, 2021|
|November 25, 2021||Holy Family||December 27, 2021|