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Saturday, March 19, 2016 Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Jeremiah, Chapter 26, Verse 21
When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and princes heard his words, the king sought to have him killed. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt.

Both Jeremiah and Uriah spoke of the destruction of Israel. Jeremiah stood his ground and said kill me my blood is in your hands. Uriah fled was captured and killed; Jeremiah lived. Face your fears! This is what Christ meant when he said we must become like little children again to enter the Kingdom of God. That is we approach the pressures of life with all its troubles, fears and problems as an opportunity for belief. “Having moved through our fears we can begin to reach our hand into the gift of the fountain of God’s grace.[1]

Today might be a good day to plan to take your children or grandchildren fishing. According to Maude Farris-Luse, the oldest recorded living human being, fishing and mustard plasters were the secret to her longevity. Treat every day as a gift from God; each one is unique and unlike any other as it unfolds realize what happens today will only happen once in the entire history of the universe.

Incense[2]

Catholic tradition engages the whole person; all the senses and has been called at times the religion of “bells and smells.” God created us as a unity of body and soul, and we return ourselves entirely to him in worship. We worship him is spirit and truth and in our worship we present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Thus, the Churches worship engages all that we are both body and senses. We contemplate during worship the mysteries of God using our total selves; our hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smells. We ring bells to herald the Lord’s appearance and we burn incense before his altar. Our worship is good and true but it is also beautiful.

The Mass is a reenactment of the death of our Lord. It is thought-provoking to contemplate that Pilates notice above Christ’s head, was printed in three languages Hebrew, Latin and Greek. These three cultures in a sense represented the characteristics of God. The Hebrew’s were Gods people and represented the good of man and brought the idea that the person was created by God and is more valuable than the universe. Latin the language of the Romans brought the idea that truth is the highest value and the Greeks culture brought the idea of beauty being the greatest value. In Christ’s death is represented all three values. That a good God died for man; true to the end; and His shame was turned by love to beauty.

Via the Masses worldwide we live out the words of the prophet Malachi 1:11, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is great among the nations; Incense offerings are made to my name everywhere, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.”

The offering of incense was an essential duty of the priests of the Old Covenant, and the ancient law took special care to prescribe its fragrances, vessels, and rites. Jesus’ kinsman Zechariah was performing his priestly duty, burning incense in the Temple, when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. This was the hour of incense. Incense was the most emblematic form of worship; it was an outward sign of the inner mystery that is true prayer. Incense is so closely associated with worship that, it became the very image of infidelity to burn incense to idols. To burn incense was and still is a richly symbolic act of worship.

Saint Joseph[3]  “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home." (Mt. 1:20)
 
ST. JOSEPH was descended from the kingly line of David, and was a kinsman of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Matt. i. 1-16). The Gospel gives him the praise of being just (Matt. i. 19), that is, a man distinguished for all virtues. And surely, as he was chosen from all other men by God to be the foster-father of His Son, he undoubtedly excelled, in virtues and sanctity, all saints then living. Of his youth nothing certain is known to us, and of his later life we know only what the Gospel relates. He was a carpenter (Matt. xiii. 55), and lived at Nazareth, in Galilee (Luke ii. 4). Being espoused to Mary, he was inclined, upon learning that she was with child, to put her away privately, not wishing to expose her to public reproach but being instructed by an angel, he took her to himself, in obedience to the command of God, went with her to Bethlehem, and afterwards, with Mary and the new-born child, fled, without timidity, to Egypt (Matt. ii. 13). At the command of the angel he returned thence, and again dwelt in Nazareth (Matt. ii. 23). From this place they went every year to the feast at Jerusalem, where it happened that Jesus, then twelve years old, remained behind them in the temple, and was anxiously sought for by them. More than this is not told us. At the time of the marriage at Cana it would seem that he was no longer living, since there is no mention made of him. Though little is said of him, that little is rich in profitable instruction. How worthy to be admired and imitated is his example his chastity, his tenderness towards Mary, his forbearing to pronounce a judgment in regard to her condition when he could not explain it, his quick and unreserved obedience towards God and the commands of authority, his love for Jesus, and his care for both the mother and the child. On account of his sanctity God has specially distinguished him by miracles, and the Church honors him in a particular manner. In the Litany of the Saints he is named among the patriarchs, and the feast of his patronage is celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. Venerate, therefore, St. Joseph choose him for your protector in life and in death, and make yourself worthy of his protection by following his example.

Instruction

To encourage us to veneration for St. Joseph St. Teresa wrote “I do not remember to have asked St. Joseph for anything which he did not grant me. The great favors which God has granted me through him, and the many dangers of soul and body from which he has freed me, truly deserve admiration. It seems that God has granted to other saints the grace of assisting, in particular needs, those who invoke their intercession; but this glorious saint assists in all needs. The Lord seems thereby to indicate that, as He was subject to Joseph on earth, so now He grants him whatever he asks for. The same thing has been experienced by persons whom I have advised to recommend themselves to him.” “I would gladly advise every one,” says St. Alphonsus, to have a great devotion towards this saint, since I have experienced what graces he can obtain from God. For several years I have asked him, on his feast, for some particular grace, and every time my petition has been granted. As we all have to die, we should have a particular devotion towards St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death for all Catholic Christians consider him to be an intercessor for the dying, and that he assists, at the hour of death, those who venerate him; and this for three reasons 1. Because Jesus loves him, not only as a friend, but as a father, on which account his intercession is more powerful than that of any other saint. 2. Because St. Joseph obtained special power against the evil spirits who tempt us at the hour of death. 3. The assistance which Jesus and Mary gave to Joseph at the hour of his own death procured for him the right to obtain a holy and easy death for his dependents. If in their dying hour they invoke his aid, not only will he assist them, but he will obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary. “Ought not these words of a great saint encourage you to venerate St. Joseph every day? Should not the hope of dying one day under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, move you to devotion to the foster-father of Jesus?”

Prayer to St. Joseph.

O most chaste Joseph, who, by thy purity and other exalted virtues, wast worthy to be chosen for the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, I beseech thee, by the great graces of which thou wast made partaker, that thou wouldst, by thy intercession, obtain for all parents grace to rear their children piously; for all married persons who are distressed and afflicted through poverty and tribulations consolation and encouragement; for all unmarried persons who have devoted their chastity to God the grace of perseverance; and, finally, for all the dying the grace to come, after a happy death, to thy fosterchild, Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, world without end. Amen.














[1] J. Brian Bransfield, Living the Beatitudes-A Journey of Life in Christ.
[2] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 23. Incense.
[3] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896


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