Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys
Over the centuries there grew many different devotions to St. Joseph, expressing a deep filial love for the foster-father of Jesus. Among them was the powerful Seven Sunday’s devotion.
Whatever the origins may be, a devotion was developed where the seven sorrows and seven joys of Joseph became the focus of meditation on the seven Sundays preceding his feast on March 19. The first Sunday of these meditations is typically either the last Sunday of January or the first Sunday of February.
Below are the following joys and sorrows of St. Joseph, along with their respective passages in scripture. One approach to these Sundays is to read each passage and consider how Joseph would have felt in the situation. This is a form of lectio divina or “divine reading,” where you are able to put yourself into the scene and see Joseph’s expressions during each episode.
When praying the Seven Sunday’s devotion, it is customary to pray for a specific intention, asking St. Joseph’s powerful intercession for your needs.
(Matthew 1:19) The Doubt of St. Joseph
Joy (Matthew 1:20) The Message of the Angel
(Luke 2:7) The Poverty of Jesus’ Birth
Joy (Luke 2:10-11) The Birth of the Savior
(Luke 2:21) The Circumcision
Joy (Matthew 1:25) The Holy Name of Jesus
(Luke 2:34) The Prophecy of Simeon
Joy (Luke 2:38) The Effects of the Redemption
(Matthew 2:14) The Flight into Egypt
Joy (Isaiah 19:1) The Overthrow of the Idols of Egypt
(Matthew 2:22) The Return from Egypt
Joy (Luke 2:39) Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth
(Luke 2:45) The Loss of the Child Jesus
Joy (Luke 2:46) The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
SAINT JOHN BOSCO
Now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became FEARFUL and thought, “Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us and now most certainly will pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!”
Joseph’s reaction to his brothers was complete confidence in God. “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people” (v. ) When we are fearful, we are showing a lack of confidence in God.
God asks us to boldly go where no man has gone before…for a man must be heroic to live always in faith, hope, and love. Joseph believed and had confidence in a God he could not see. We are the receivers of this confidence and blessed are we that we can see God the Father through His son Jesus. Jesus asks us to believe in His love. His love calls for love. How do you give Jesus love for love? Be great in your faith; before all and above all, by your confidence in Him. Therefore, we must have confidence, not in spite of our miseries, but because of them, since it is misery which attracts mercy. We must be as confident as the good thief at the crucifixion. The good thief also teaches us humility and confidence. A whole life of crimes, a whole life of sin: a few minutes before dying, one word of humility and confidence, and he is saved. Be confident that God will save you: How many young people have lost the Faith, not from having fallen, but from not having been helped, with love, to pick themselves up again as many times as was necessary. Jesus needs nothing but your humility and your confidence to work marvels of purification and sanctification in you. It is this confidence which works all miracles.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
blessed the seventh day and made it holy" (Gn 2:3)
13. The Sabbath precept, which in the
first Covenant prepares for the Sunday of the new and eternal Covenant, is
therefore rooted in the depths of God's plan. This is why, unlike many other
precepts, it is set not within the context of strictly cultic stipulations but
within the Decalogue, the "ten words" which represent the very
pillars of the moral life inscribed on the human heart. In setting this
commandment within the context of the basic structure of ethics, Israel and
then the Church declare that they consider it not just a matter of community
religious discipline but a defining and indelible expression of our
relationship with God, announced and expounded by biblical revelation. This is
the perspective within which Christians need to rediscover this precept today.
Although the precept may merge naturally with the human need for rest, it is
faith alone which gives access to its deeper meaning and ensures that it will
not become banal and trivialized.
Three weeks prior to Ash Wednesday, on the day before Septuagesima Sunday, a touching ceremony is held. A choir assembles, chants the divine office and, afterwards, sings a bittersweet hymn bidding farewell to the word
"Alleluia": We do not now deserve to sing the Alleluia forever; Guilt forces us to dismiss you, O Alleluia. For the time approaches in which we must weep for our sins.
So important was Lent to both Eastern and Western Christians that they actually had a separate season to prepare for it. Thus, the day after Septuagesima Sunday, they would begin a period of voluntary fasting that would grow more severe as it approached the full and obligatory fast of Lent. The amount of food would be reduced, and the consumption of certain items, such as butter, milk, eggs, and cheese, would gradually be abandoned. Starting on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, this self-imposed asceticism would culminate in abstinence from meat.
Thus, the name for this seven-day period before Ash Wednesday is "Carnival," from the Latin carne levarium, meaning "removal of meat." Finally, within the week of Carnival, the last three days (the three days prior to Lent) would be reserved for going to confession. This period was known as "Shrovetide," from the old English word "to shrive," or to have one's sins forgiven through absolution.
As mentioned elsewhere, it was customary for some Christians to voluntarily begin fasting in preparation for the Great Fast of Lent. Their fasts would become progressively more ascetic, culminating in the abstinence of meat beginning on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. The name for this period, which ends the day before Ash Wednesday, is "Carnival," from the Latin carne levarium, meaning "removal of meat."
Goffine’s 1896 Devout Instructions
WHY is this Sunday traditionally called Septuagesima?
The word means seventy. According to the First Council of Orleans, in the year A.D. 545, many pious ecclesiastics and lay persons of the primitive Church used to fast seventy days before Easter, and their fast was called, therefore, Septuagesima, a name which was afterwards retained to distinguish this Sunday from others. The same was the case with the three following Sundays; many Christians beginning their fast sixty days before Easter, whence the name Sexagesima; others fifty days, whence Quinquagesima; others forty days, whence Quadragesima.
Why did the first Christians fast seventy days?
Alcuin and Amakrius say that the captivity of the Jews in Babylon first suggested it; for as the Jews were obliged to do penance seventy years, that they might thereby merit to return into the promised land, so Christians sought to regain the grace of God by fasting for seventy days.
Why does the Church, from this
Sunday until Easter, omit all joyful chants, as the Te Deum, Alleluia, Gloria
To remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors, and to exhort him to penance. To incite us to sorrow for our sins, and to show us the necessity of repentance, the Church at the Introit in the name of all nations unites her prayers with David, saying, “The sorrows of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me, and in my affliction, I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy temple. I will love Thee! O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.”
Graciously hear the prayers of Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered, for the glory of Thy name.
EPISTLE, i. Cor. ix. 24 x. 5.
Brethren: Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So, run that you may obtain. And everyone that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things, and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: and did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ), but with the most of them God was not well pleased.
NOTE--Reflect, O Christian, what we poor sinners ought to be willing to do to gain heaven when the great apostle suffered so much to obtain eternal life.
O Jesus, assist me, that with Thy holy grace I may follow the example of St. Paul, and endeavor to deny myself, to chastise my body, and, by continual exercise of every virtue, to obtain perfection and everlasting life. Amen.
GOSPEL. Matt. xx. 1-16.
At that time Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market-place idle, and he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again, he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour: and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the laborers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. When therefore they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more; and they also received every man a penny. And receiving it, they murmured against the master of the house, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil because I am good? So, shall the last be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few chosen.
In these parables what is to be understood by the master of a family, the vineyard, the laborers, and the penny?
The master of a family is God, Who calls all men as laborers to His vineyard of the true religion, or Church, and to receive the promised penny, which is the divine grace and eternal salvation.
How and when does God call men?
By the instruction of parents and teachers, by preachers and confessors, by spiritual books, edifying conversation, good examples and inspirations; in early youth, in manhood, and in old age which stages of human life are also signified by the different hours of the day.
Who are the laborers in the vineyard?
Those who work, combat, and suffer for God and His honor, for their own salvation and that of others, particularly spiritual teachers.
How should we work in the vineyard of the Lord?
As in a vineyard men must dig, destroy the weeds, cut off what is useless and bad, manure, plant, and bind, in like manner must we, in the spiritual vineyard of our souls, destroy the weeds of vice by rooting out sinful inclinations and their causes, and by real penance.
In other words:
1. We must hate every sin.
2. We must produce in ourselves a fervent desire to destroy vice.
3. We must earnestly beg God’s grace, without which we can do nothing.
4. We must attend zealously at instructions, sermons, and catechism.
5. We must often go to confession and communion, and follow our confessor’s directions.
6. Every morning we must make firm resolutions, and every night an examination of conscience.
7. We must read in some spiritual book, treating of the predominant sin which we have to root out.
8. We must venerate some saint who in life committed the same sin, as, for instance, Mary Magdalen, who from being a great sinner became a great penitent.
9. We must fast, give alms, and do other good works.
Why did the last man, as mentioned in the gospel, receive as much as those who came first?
Because God does not reward men according to the time of their labor, but according to the zeal, love, fidelity, and humility with which they have concurred with His grace (Wis. iv. 7, 8, 11; n. Cor. ix. 6).
What is meant by “many are called, but few chosen?”
It is as if Our Savior should say, do not wonder that the last shall be first, and the first last, for many will not be received at all. From among the Jews and gentiles He has called many, but few only have followed Him, and of these again only few can be the chosen. How many Christians are there who do not accept His calling, or who fail to live according to their vocation, neither cooperating with His grace nor trying forcibly to enter the kingdom of heaven!
O most merciful and benign Lord, Who, without any merit of our own, hast called us, Thy unworthy servants, out of mere mercy, into Thy vineyard the Church and commanded us to work therein, grant us grace, we beseech Thee, never to be idle, but as faithful servants to be always doing Thy holy will. Whatever we have heretofore left undone, we will in future endeavor to do with persevering zeal, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Things to Do
· Read the more detailed, corresponding passage in Matthew 5:3-12 on the Beatitudes. Choose a beatitude to focus on for the rest of this month. Write it in conspicuous places throughout your house — desk, home altar, fridge, bathroom mirror. Think of some small practical ways to put this beatitude into action in your daily life. For some ideas on how to live the poverty and detachment prescribed by the first beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit), read this interview with spiritual director and writer Fr. Dubay.
St. John Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, and of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, "Apostle of Youth." He had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. Don Bosco decided to go ahead fearlessly with his educational mission stating,” “Timid souls refrained from making any kind of fresh start for fear of the coming storm.”
Things to Do
- St. John Bosco at a young age learned how to juggle and do other tricks to attract children to him. This provided opportunities for him to give catechesis to these children. Think of different activities that you could do to attract children—perhaps juggling, putting on puppet shows, storybook time—and use that opportunity to teach a virtue, catechism lesson, or just to be a good example. Good clean fun or a wholesome activity is a lesson in itself in a world where there is so much corruption.
- If you feel brave, try cooking the stuffed raw peppers suggested for today. Mama Margaret probably cooked Peperoni farciti à la Piemontaise (peppers stuffed with boiled rice), a speciality from Turin, for St. John Bosco's boys.
- Read this article from Catholic Culture's library, Don Bosco, Seeker of Souls.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Soil under our feet goes unnoticed, though this first foot of soil is where most living organisms’ dwell. The health of the fragile skin of our earth is of utmost importance. Humility comes from the Latin word for soil, "humus." From and unto dust is the humbling message to each of us. Soil is rich and fertile but also prone to erosion and pollution.
Overview of February
The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This year the first 16 days of February fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. The remaining days of February are the beginning of Lent. The liturgical color changes to purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.
Though the shortest month of the year, February is rich in Liturgical activity. It contains a feast (Presentation of our Lord) that bridges two other seasons (Christmas and Easter)! In addition, the faithful may receive in February two of the four major public sacramentals that the Church confers during the liturgical year: blessed candles and the blessing of throats.
The Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd harkens back to the Christmas mystery of Light except that now, Christ, the helpless babe, is “the Light of Revelation to the Gentiles who will save his people from their sins.” Candles, symbolizing Christ our Light, will be carried in procession this day, as will be the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Liturgy.
"The Light of Revelation" shines more brightly with each successive Sunday of Ordinary Time, until its magnificence – exposing our sinfulness and need for conversion – propels us into the penitential Season of Lent. We prepare to accept the cross of blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday (February 17) and plunge ourselves into anticipating the major exercises of Lent – fasting, prayer, almsgiving – laying our thoughts and prayers on the heart of our Mother Mary. She, who offered her Son in the temple and on the Cross, will teach us how to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow after her Son.
Take a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride (All Month)
Enjoy a gorgeous winter wonderland in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas. National Elk Refuge is closed to vehicle traffic but not to horse-drawn sleighs. The open-air rides offer a unique and amazing way to see elk, bison, eagles, foxes and other wildlife species. Yellowstone and the Jackson Hole area offer a variety of other family activities including snow tubing, skiing, snowmobiles and a year-round roller coaster.
 Fr. Jean C. J. D’Elbee, I Believe in Love.