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St. Joseph

March 19, 2021 Frontpage No Comments


The ninth article of the Creed states two things we believe in: first the Catholic Church and second the communion of saints. It’s sad to me that so many modern Catholics neglect the saints, who love us and want to help us. The true stories showing the power of the intercession of the saints are innumerable, and perhaps one of the most powerful saints is St. Joseph . . . the forgotten saint of the Gospels. I’d like to tell you a couple of true stories about him.
A great musician of seventeenth-century Austria was a man named Paul Merten. He and his teenage daughter, Josephine, suffered greatly because of a depression that was brought on by continued war with the Turks. Often the two would retire at night cold and hungry.
One day, feeling pity for her father’s suffering, Josephine asked the celebrated musician, “Father, will you let me go find work? Then I’ll be able to help you. I’ll ask my patron, St. Joseph, to help me find a job.”
“Do you really believe the poor carpenter has such power in Heaven as to get you a job in times as hard as these?”
With all the confidence in the world, Josephine replied, “I’ll write him a letter, tie it to my dove’s neck and let him deliver it to St. Joseph.”
Amused by his daughter’s confidence in St. Joseph, he watched as she sat at his desk and penned the letter. It read: “O dear St. Joseph, have pity on us in our great need. We have neither work nor anything to eat. Beg Jesus to help me find work, because my father is suffering from hunger. Your faithful child, Josephine Merten, daughter of the musician of Laimgrube.”
Josephine folded the letter, tied it to the neck of her dove, and then sent it on its way from the window.
The following day there was a knock at the door. The stranger there asked Paul Merten if Josephine Merten lived there. “Yes, sir, she does. I’m her father.”
When the man was invited into the house, he explained his visit. “My name is Joseph Hirte. I’m a jeweler and live just a few blocks from here. I have a special devotion to St. Joseph, and this morning I received a message from him telling me to answer in his name the letter sent to him by your daughter. I’m inclined to believe that my patron, St. Joseph, would be pleased if I could be of some help, so I came to see you.”
Surprised by this turn of events, Paul Merten explained the letter his daughter had written. He was even more surprised when Mr. Hirte offered Josephine a job in his store and asked Paul to be his instructor in voice, since he sang in the cathedral choir. He even paid Paul in advance.
Then Hirte explained how the dove had flown into his open window, where he took and read the letter. He was moved by Josephine’s confidence in their mutual patron and decided to reward it at once. Some years later, Hirte took Josephine as his wife. In gratitude to her patron, Josephine had a remarkably beautiful image of St. Joseph placed over the door of the house where she and her father had lived in poverty.
This next story takes place in St. Louis, Mo. During a bitter winter of the Great Depression in the 1930s, a convent of nuns had run out of coal for their furnace. It was already below freezing outside, and the temperature threatened to plummet as a colder front moved in. They had no money for coal, and the coal man told Mother Superior he couldn’t extend credit — that he’d extended more credit to people than he could really afford to do already.
Mother Superior gathered the other sisters and explained the situation. They together knelt before the statue of St. Joseph and began praying. “Dear St. Joseph, we are without coal and heat, and it’s getting colder by the minute. Some of our Sisters are already ill. We need your powerful help and intercession. You protected and provided for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus without fail. We beg you now to provide for us.”
Within the hour there was a knock at the door. It was the coal man. He told Mother Superior a bearded stranger came to him and bought a truckload of coal, telling him to deliver it to the convent. While the coal man delivered the coal, Mother Superior and the sisters returned to the statue of their great patron and joyfully offered prayers of thanksgiving.
So many are the documented miracles of St. Joseph that entire books have been written containing nothing but stories of his powerful intercession. Of course, countless miraculous events have occurred through the intercession of all the saints, and God continues to work miracles through their intercession today. Contrary to the cynical assertions of many Christians, this is still the age of miracles, no less today than ever, and the saints are our most powerful allies when we need help. Even I have been the beneficiary of the saints’ intercession a few times in my life, and you can experience their help too.
Asking the saints for protection and help is really no different from asking a trusted friend or relative. The only difference between your friends or relatives and the saints is that the saints have been freed from their earthly bodies and now live with God . . . and the saints have the added advantage of being perfected and praying their perfect prayers directly before the throne of the King of Heaven.
My patrons and favorite saints are St. Lawrence, St. Bartholomew, St. John Bosco, St. Anthony, and a certain priest I knew who went to be with Jesus and Mary way back in 1992. I speak to them each and every day. When I talk to them, it is one of the times when I don’t use formulated prayers, but rather speak to them as if they are seated right next to me . . . which they are!
The communion of saints also includes your guardian angel, and I converse with mine daily. Actually, I speak to my guardian angel frequently throughout the day. He never fails to help me when I need him. Indeed, none of the saints fail me. They don’t necessarily help me at the time when I think they should answer, but they always answer on time…in God’s good timing.
When was the last time you spoke to your guardian angel or your patron or favorite saints? Don’t ignore them. They are as present to you as the person sitting next to you right now. They want nothing more than to be asked for their help. Even when you don’t need help solving a problem, you can still ask for their aid.
Every day I ask my guardian angel to remind me of things I need to do in the overall plan God has for me each day. Being a typical ungrateful earthbound human, I often forget to thank God for some of the good things He does for me, so I’ve begun daily to ask my angel to remind me to thank Him. I also ask all my patron and favorite saints to help me with this work every day, and you can believe me when I tell you this work is much more than simply writing these articles for you. In fact, it’s a full time job.
So the intercession of the saints and my angel is absolutely necessary for Joe Sixpack to be there for you and your pastor who loves you so much that he has me writing these for you.
If you have a question or comment you can reach out to me through the “Ask Joe” page of JoeSixpackAnswers.com, or you can email me at Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com.
Hey, how would you like to see things like this article every week in your parish bulletin as an insert? You or your pastor can learn more about how to do that by emailing me at Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com.

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