Thursday 29th September 2016

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Reconnecting With Mary… St. Joseph And The Holy Family

February 5, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

The previous article looked the role of St. Joseph during the birth of Jesus, and now we will look at further events in his life and how devotion to him gradually arose in the Church.
Joseph had an important role to play following the visit of the Wise Men, and the hurried departure of the Holy Family to avoid the wrath of King Herod. Once again, an angel appeared to him in a dream and instructed him to flee to Egypt with Mary and the Child, because Herod wanted to kill him.
Joseph arose that same night in obedience to this command and the Holy Family departed for Egypt, where they stayed until Herod was dead.
Joseph was told about this event through another dream in which God’s angel told him to take Jesus and Mary back to his own country. But on their return, following another dream, they went to live in Nazareth in Galilee (Matt. 2).
We hear nothing about the everyday life of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and must assume that St. Joseph’s life henceforth was entirely focused on providing for Mary and Jesus, living a simple life with them, and supporting them by means of his work as a carpenter while remaining faithful to the religious practices of his ancestors.
The last time Joseph is mentioned in the Bible, though not by name, occurs during the narration of the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple when he was twelve, after He had been lost for three days. But once again the focus of this account is on Mary, although she does refer to St. Joseph touchingly as Jesus’ father (Luke 2:41-52).
We are not told anything about Joseph’s death, but presumably this happened before the beginning of the public life of Christ, since further on in the Gospels we hear of Jesus’ mother and brothers (Matt. 12:46), but never of Joseph, although Jesus was known as the son of Joseph (John 1:45). And it is certain that if Joseph had still been alive at the time of the crucifixion, then Jesus would have entrusted Mary to him while on the cross, rather than to St. John. We do not know where he was buried and no cultus has been attached to any bodily relics of his.
Given the fact that St. Joseph surely died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, and surrounded by their love, he has come to be recognized as the patron of a happy death.
If we now turn to devotion to St. Joseph, then we can start by saying that it is ultimately based on the scriptural affirmation that he was a “just man” (Matt. 1:19). This is high praise in itself, but on reflection, it must be the case that Joseph’s holiness was of a truly astonishing nature. That is, he must have been second only to our Lady in terms of sanctity, and yet devotion to him developed only quite slowly in the Church.
If we consider that he was given the immense privilege of protecting Mary and the Baby Jesus — the Incarnate God-man — from Herod’s rage after the visit of the Magi, then we can see that this privilege — which was not without grave concerns and great responsibilities — was an incalculable one. And then further consider his role in providing for them as the Child grew to maturity.
St. Joseph was also the human model of fatherhood which Jesus grew up with, the person on whom he would pattern his own life, in a human sense, and who would provide him with his first ideas of human fatherhood, and thus of the Fatherhood of God. He must also have been the perfect husband to Mary, totally attentive to her, and completely devoted to her welfare.
To be chosen to be the foster-father of the God-man, and the spouse of the Virginal Mother of God, are signs of an incredibly exalted vocation, and we can get a glimpse of this if we consider his position in relation to the Holy Trinity. Our Lady’s relationship to the Trinity, as Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, is absolutely unique. No other creature comes even remotely close to her in terms of sanctity, and it is this status which has traditionally seen her as being more exalted than all the angels and saints put together.
With St. Joseph, we are obviously on a much lower plane, but even so, the extraordinary responsibilities he was given clearly put him in a separate and very eminent category with regard to the rest of humanity.
In the light of such reflections, it is clear that St. Joseph’s sanctity was of an astounding nature, and that the devotion to him which has developed in the Church in recent centuries is in no way exaggerated.

A Universal Feast Day

Despite all this, it is understandable why the cult of St. Joseph was relatively slow to develop in the early Church, and indeed for a long time after that. The early centuries were times of fierce persecution, and it was usually only the martyrs who were venerated. In addition, the theological focus during that period was on clarifying the trinitarian nature of God, and on trying to understand the mystery of how Jesus could be both God and Man. And there was a focus, too, on the role of our Lady as the Theotokos, or God-bearer.
Even so, St. Joseph was mentioned by some of the Church Fathers, and from what they said it seems clear that there was some devotion to him present in the Eastern Church.
In the West, though, it developed quite late, and it was only in the 13th century that a church was first dedicated to him, at Bologna. But it was mainly through the influence of figures such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gertrude, and St. Bridget of Sweden, along with the work of some religious orders, such as the Carmelites and the Dominicans, that devotion to him began to develop more widely.
By the early 15th century a feast day in honor of St. Joseph was celebrated in various dioceses in Western Europe, and his cult was strongly promoted by influential figures such as St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Bernardine of Siena, while Pope Sixtus IV (reigned 1471-1484) approved a universal feast day for him in the Roman calendar, on March 19.
As the cult of St. Joseph grew, succeeding Popes elevated the status of his feast progressively, and other feasts associated with him, such as his espousals to our Lady, were also introduced. Under the influence of St. Teresa of Avila, the reformed Carmelite Order chose him as their patron in 1621.
The next article will look at the growth of more recent devotion to St. Joseph in the Church, and how it has particularly had the support of the Popes from the time of Pius IX in the 19th century.

+    +    +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Donald Trump Names Rick Santorum and Other Top Pro-Life Catholics as Key Advisers

Fresh from announcing a list of pro-life leaders who are advising him on issues that matter to pro-life voters, Donald Trump has named a group of pro-life Catholic leaders as additional key advisers, including pro-life former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.…Continue Reading

Argentine bishop threatened with prosecution for condemning ‘culture of fornication’

September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic archbishop of the Argentinean city of La Plata is under investigation by the country’s “discrimination” police for condemning the modern acceptance of sexual promiscuity and “unnatural” unions, according to local media sources. Archbishop…Continue Reading

First minor killed by euthanasia in Belgium after child euthanasia legalized

BELGIUM, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday the country’s first instance of child euthanasia, which became legal in 2014. Belgian media suggested the minor killed via lethal injection was 17. Some media also suggested the…Continue Reading

Donald Trump commits to defunding abortion, Planned Parenthood if elected

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump has pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion in the United States and to defund the nation’s leading abortion provider. In a new, personally signed letter, Mr. Trump attacked “Hillary Clinton’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues motu proprio harmonizing Canon Law codes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Thursday, in which he brings the basic legal instruments that govern the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome more closely into accord with one another…Continue Reading

Another “Catholic” Politician trying to redefine the Catholic Faith . . . Devout Catholic™ Kaine breaks with his church on gay marriage, with media blessing

Tim Kaine has officially joined the ranks of Devout Catholic™. How do we know? Because he says he’s Catholic, yet criticizes the church. The Democratic vice presidential nominee played weekend prophet and theologian when he told activists in the Human…Continue Reading

Bishop Morlino’s Move to Ad Orientem Masses in Madison

This past weekend the Most Reverend Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin made an announcement of great liturgical importance. Going forward His Excellency will be offering all of his Masses at the Cathedral ad orientem. Make no…Continue Reading

Longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly dead at 92

phillis

Phyllis Schlafly, the iconic pro-family activist who rose to fame in the 1970s when she campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at age 92, according to the Eagle Forum, the conservative organization she founded. Schlafly had been an…Continue Reading

Soros’ Catholic useful idiots

By Robert A. Sirico – – Tuesday, August 30, 2016 A most remarkable set of documents was coughed up recently by WikiLeaks. George Soros‘ Open Society Policy Center, it turns out, made donations to two faith-based organizations to the tune…Continue Reading

Pope Francis “gratified” by UN goals that demand “universal access to sexual and reproductive health”

Pope Francis has said that he is “gratified” by UN goals that call on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health” by 2030. The term “sexual and reproductive health”, as generally defined, includes access to contraception, including abortifacient methods, and,…Continue Reading

Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years

September 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In recent years, the Catholic Church has been going through one of her most severe crises as a result of the priestly abuse of youth. The primary victims have been adolescent males.1  This worldwide scandal was…Continue Reading

Catholics protest at Tim Kaine’s parish: If priest won’t ‘instruct parishioners’ on Church teaching, we will

RICHMOND, Virginia, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Roughly a dozen pro-life activists protested Sunday outside of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine’s Catholic parish. “Sen. Kaine has failed in his duty as a Catholic public servant to…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Benedict XVI Admits Qualms of Conscience about Vatican II

After the German publisher Droemer Verlag first released it on 9 September 2016, much has already been deeply discussed and variously reported about Benedict XVI’s new interview-book, Benedikt XVI. Letzte Gespräche (Benedict XVI – Last Conversations) which so far has only been published in the German language. It has been shown, for example, how the former pope supports whole-heartedly Pope Francis’ papacy and how he still defends his decision to leave his Petrine office, not…Continue Reading

">We May Not Have A Church To Go To . . .

Paul Likoudis (RIP)

Calling hours will at Vedder And Scott Funeral home on Tuesday September 27th from 4pm to 7pm. 122 N Genesee Street Montour Falls NY 14865 A Mass of Christian Burial Will Be held at 11am on Wednesday September 28 with a reception to be held immediately following at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church. 905 N. Decatur Street Watkins Glen NY 14891 Dear Friends, Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due…Continue Reading

500 Catholic scholars lash back at Humanae Vitae critics

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2016 / 03:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nearly 50 years after the “prophetic” papal document Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching against contraception continues to promote the human good, said a group of Catholic thinkers on Tuesday. “We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness,” said hundreds of Catholic scholars in a Sept. 20 document. “Humanae Vitae speaks against the distorted…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Tim Kaine: “I Believe Women Should Be Able to” Have an Abortion

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Democratic Vice Presidential pick Tim Kaine, attempted to make his pitch to Millennials by saying that they agree with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform on the big issues. One of the big issues is obviously abortion. Part of what he said was: “Do you believe women should be able to make their own health care decisions, or don’t you? Millennials do, Hillary Clinton and I do, Donald Trump doesn’t.”…Continue Reading

Obama: God-Given Rights “Was A Radical Idea”

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY President Barack Obama affirmed this week that the Declaration of Independence recognizes that “individual human beings” have “God-given rights.” Yet, he insisted this was a “radical idea” at the time of the founding. Were he right — which he is not — history would see it as one radical idea Obama…Continue Reading

Never Trump? . . . The Case Against “Sitting Out” The Presidential Election

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: To receive an electronic copy of this four-part article with footnotes, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “When you have a binary choice, you must make a decision. It’s frankly irresponsible to stay on the sidelines right now, given where the republic is heading” — Marjorie Dannenfelser,…Continue Reading

Bibi Backs Trump — On Putin

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated. Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed. John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and…Continue Reading

Sex On The Brain

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Malcolm Muggeridge, who, in his later years, had some sensible things to say about human sexuality, lamented that people “have sex on the brain, and that’s an unhealthy place for it to be.” What he meant by this remark was based on his observation that sex, which is a natural…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… The Bridge Between Abortion And Euthanasia

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, “Euthanasia,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Speaking at a conference of the Hemlock Society — an organization whose primary…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Role Of The Sacred Liturgy In Developing A Catholic Conscience

By FRANCIS CARDINAL ARINZE Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, delivered this lecture at The Church Teaches Forum in Louisville, Ky., July 16, 2016. (The lecture is reprinted here with permission; all rights reserved. We are presenting it in two parts because of…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Is Faith Necessary For Salvation?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM For most of us who are cradle Catholics, it is not difficult to believe, since we received the theological virtue of faith in Baptism and grew up with it. Our parents and/or teachers taught us all about the Bible stories, the catechism, the sacraments. We learned to pray the Creed from an early age, and…Continue Reading

The Necessity Of Baptism

By DON FIER The Church’s immemorial tradition of baptizing infants demonstrates in a particular way one of the great truths of our Catholic faith — that every human person is in need of salvation. Born into this world afflicted with original sin, “a sin which is the death of the soul” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 403), even…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Following up on a recent question about how much money the U.S. bishops get from the federal government, an article in LifeSiteNews reported that the Obama Administration is pouring hundreds of million of dollars into Catholic institutions and charities. “We’ve got the most virulently anti-life administration in the history of the United States,” said international child rights advocate…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Of Capistrano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Texas there is an old building that is part of the Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service near San Antonio, Texas. This restored mission was founded in 1731 on the San Antonio River by the Franciscans and named after the soldier saint, St. John of Capistrano. In San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Franciscans…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska

By CAROLE BRESLIN Some people look back on their lives and see how differently things turned out from what they had planned. A professor once told his business students that very few students work in the field they studied in college. If someone had told the young Bernardina Maria Jablonska that she would be the superior of a religious order…Continue Reading