Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Solemnity OF ST. JOSEPH-spring begins
Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 19-20:
19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
Even righteous people become afraid at times but Mark Shea a catholic writer points out that Joseph being a devote Jew may have had Holy fear as the basis of his being afraid.
“Modernity assumes it was because he thought her guilty of adultery, but the typical view in antiquity understood the text to mean he was afraid of her sanctity — as a pious Jew would be afraid to touch the Ark of the Covenant. After all, think of what Mary told him about the angel's words: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."
We should follow the example of Joseph and be not afraid to take Mary into our home!
I know one small way I have taken Mary in my home is to silently say a Hail Mary when I wash my hands to eat-praying,
“Mary help me not to wash your son’s blood from my hands as Pilot did. Help me to have no innocent blood on my hands. Let me not wash off responsibility for others.”
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Prayer. MAY heavenly propitiation increase Thy people subject to Thee, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and make them ever servants of Thy commandments.
EPISTLE. Jer. vii. 1-7.
In those days the word of the Lord came to me, saying Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, and proclaim there this word, and say: Hear ye the word of the Lord, all ye men of Juda, that enter in at these gates, to adore the Lord. Thus, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Make your ways and your doings good: and I will dwell with you in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying: The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, it is the temple of the Lord. For if you will order well your ways, and your doings: if you will execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, and walk not after strange gods to your own hurt, I will dwell with you in this place: in the land which I gave to your fathers from the beginning and forever, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. Luke iv. 38-44.
At that time Jesus, rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought Him for her. And standing over her, He commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers’ diseases brought them to Him. But He laying His hands on every one of them, healed them. And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them He suffered them not to speak, for they knew that He was Christ. And when it was day, going out He went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought Him, and came unto Him: and they stayed Him that He should not depart from them. To whom He said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefor am I sent. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
Read: The Seven Penitential Psalms, Day Three:
(During times when we wish to express repentance, and especially during Lent, it is customary to pray the seven penitential psalms. The penitential designation of these psalms’ dates back to the seventh century. Prayerfully reciting these psalms will help us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for God’s forgiveness.) Today we will focus on Psalm 38.
Reflect: Read this reflection on Psalm 38—Prayer of an Afflicted Sinner.
Pray: “LORD, do not punish me in your anger, in your wrath do not chastise me!” (Ps 38:2)
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.
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 everyone,” 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.
Meditate on the humility of Saint Joseph this day; ask his assistance and special protection.
Things to Do:
· A table overflowing with good Italian food honoring St. Joseph is a traditional Sicilian custom. The feast of San Giuseppe began in the Middle Ages when Sicily was suffering from a severe drought and the desperate people begged St. Joseph for rain. When they received rainy weather in response, they held a huge "feste" in Saint Joseph's honor. Even today, Sicilians go to Mass before their St. Joseph's day dinner and then process to their festive tables, decked out in flowers, breads, and all sorts of Italian foods. The priest blesses the food, and everyone shouts, "Viva la tavola di San Giuse!" (which your children will readily do with great gusto). After the meal is done, everyone present is given something to take home, in the generous spirit of this day. Try some of our delicious recipes linked here. We especially recommend the traditional Minestrone. Italian sausage is always a favorite, as well. And you should have bread of all kinds — this recipe for Italian Decorative Breads can provide the traditional shape of your choice (St. Joseph's staff, his beard, etc). Also a traditional must with children is St. Joseph's Sfinge, (Cream Puffs). Plan a St. Joseph's potluck for this day with other Catholic families — invite a parish priest and ask his blessing over the food before you begin the meal. If you do not have the time or resources to do this, plan a smaller affair with your own family, complete with prayers to St. Joseph, a little procession with candles for the older children and your favorite hymns, and then the father of the family ought to say a special blessing over the food before you begin.
· Check out this wonderful site that explains the St. Joseph Altar more in detail, includes recipes, history, and allows virtual offerings.
· For further reading:
1. Saint Joseph Altars by Kerri McCaffety (Photographer).
2. A Table for Saint Joseph: Celebrating March 19th with Devotions, Authentic Italian Recipes, and Timeless Traditions by Mary Anne Scanlan Grasso.
3. The Saint Joseph's Day Table Cookbook by Mary Ann Giordano.
4. Read the section of Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy on St. Joseph.
5. Read Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on Devotion to St. Joseph.
6. Interested in history? Read this article on the history of devotions to St. Joseph, Finding St. Joseph, by Sandra Miesel.
· Here is a link to several meditations on St. Joseph — choose the one that is perfect for you and your family!
· Here are some ideas for teaching children about St. Joseph.
· Young girls ought to pray to St. Joseph for their future spouse.
St Joseph Facts & Quotes
· Joseph is noted in the Bible for being a direct descendant of King David in the Old Testament, which gives him a royal lineage (Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38).
· St. Joseph actually has two feast days in the Roman Catholic Church. The March 19 date celebrates him as husband of Mary. He is revered again on May 1 as a worker. In the Orthodox tradition, Joseph is revered during the Great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord in September.
· St Joseph is the patron saint of the dying and of carpenters.
St Joseph Top Events and Things to Do
· Practice carpentry skills to build something. Jesus is known as the son of a carpenter, or builder. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters
· Investigate your lineage. Genealogy can sometimes yield interesting information about where we came from. Maybe you come from royal lineage, too!
· Joseph raised a child that was not his own. Thank a man who has served as a father for someone else's children.
· Enjoy Italian food in St. Joseph's honor. He is one of the most beloved saints in Italian-American communities.
· Visit an Italian Bakery and pick up some delicious St Joseph's bread (Pane di San Giuseppe). St. Joseph's Bread is typically made with egg and has a thicker crust. It is often marked or shaped in a cross.
Spring traditionally marks the end of winter and the beginning of a season that signifies longer days and warmer temperatures. The first day of Spring is also known as the Vernal Equinox. This marks the day that the Sun's path is directly over the equator. This day also contains equal amount of daytime and night time. This day typically occurs each year on March 20, and on March 21 on some years.
The First Day of Spring is also called the Vernal Equinox.
· The Vernal Equinox is the day of the year where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark in the Northern Hemisphere.
· On the vernal equinox, the Sun crosses the equator into the Northern Hemisphere. This has the effect of making the days longer in the Northern Hemisphere until the Summer Solstice occurs.
· The Egyptian Great Sphinx points directly at the Sun on this day.
Vernal Equinox-Spring Begins Top Events and Things to Do
· Visit a nursery and purchase seeds or plants.
· Start your spring cleaning.
· Plan your flower beds and garden.
· Put away winter clothes and prepare summer clothes.
The ordinary activity of the Enemy is to seek the ruin of souls through various kinds of temptation. These passages offer counsel about how to turn away from evil so that you can overcome temptation and pass the tests that God allows for your strengthening.
· Because He Himself suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. We may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 2: 17– 18; 4: 14– 16
· My son, if you come forward to serve the LORD, remain in justice and in fear, and prepare yourself for temptation. Sir 2: 1
· [Jesus prayed:] “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the Evil One.” Jn 17: 15 RSVCE
· Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God; for God is no tempter to evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed by his own passion. Then when passion has conceived, it brings forth sin; but when sin has matured, it begets death. Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not err. Jas 1: 12– 16
· The fear of men lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe. Pr 29: 25
· The Lord knows how to deliver the God-fearing from temptation. 2 Pt 2: 9
· Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things. Phil 4: 6– 9
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.