Saturday, June 22, 2013

Honoring St. Joseph: An Example for Childlovers

In a recent decree, Pope Francis has instructed that the name of St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, be added to the Eucharistic prayer at Mass. This should remind us, and particularly us as male childlovers, of the role of St. Joseph in the history of salvation. 

The Holy Father describes St. Joseph as: "[standing] as an exemplary model of the kindness and humility that the Christian faith raises to a great destiny, and demonstrates the ordinary and simple virtues necessary for men to be good and genuine followers of Christ. Through these virtues, this Just Man, caring most lovingly for the Mother of God and happily dedicating himself to the upbringing of Jesus Christ, was placed as guardian over God the Father's most precious treasures" (link). 

Consider that in ancient times, paternal care of children was "always" by adoption, since they had no means to test who the child's father was. They would place the infant on the floor, and if the woman's husband picked the child up, that was his sign that he was assuming the responsibility to "become" the child's father. St. Joseph had been informed by the angel that the son his spouse was carrying was not his, and he still gladly "adopted" the boy, which was unheard of in those days for men to do, and would've marked him, along with Mary, as "unclean" in the eyes of the Law. Despite this sure persecution and inspired by divine faith, St. Joseph chose to do the Godly thing and "become" the Holy Child's father. He demonstrated his love with his care and protection, and especially when he carried these "treasures of God" away to Egypt to escape the coming "massacre of the innocents" (the death of all the boy babies) soon to be carried out by King Herod the Great (Matthew 2:16-18). 

Consider now what we as childlovers are called to do as we "adopt" the love of our young friends and endure the trials of this current age that are waged against us and our love for the life of purity. In honoring St. Joseph in such a way, we should take note as Christian men and as childlovers the role we play for children and others and the responsibility we bear in family life, whenever we have charge over children, or whenever we are around children as we make our pilgrimage through life. May we, like St. Joseph who "happily dedicated himself" to the upbringing of his "adopted son" (the Son of God), also happily dedicate ourselves to the nurturing and protection of our sons and daughters, our "young friends," whether they be our own or those we've "spiritually adopted" in love. 

Though the Christ Child was indeed the Father's most precious treasures, by incarnating and then growing as a mere child as all of do at least once in our lives, He has shown us just how precious every child is. By entrusting the Holy Infant to the care and protection of St. Joseph and his Blessed Spouse, God provided the example by which we are to live as we go about caring for and protecting the children of the world. 

Pray to St. Joseph, the most loving of fathers, for our good as childlovers and for the good of our young friends, that we may live by his God-given example, and that Our Father may guide and protect all of us, His children: 
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.
Say this for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask for.

Grace and peace be with you. 

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