Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 18, 2009

For the Feast of St. Joseph Part 2

My last post was a little cut off, so I decided to follow up my meditation with something a little bit deeper. There is a particular point that I wanted to revisit about St. Joseph, namely his role as guardian of the Holy Family. Have you ever heard of the devotion to Our Lady of America? The devotion is based upon the visions of Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil) in the Convent of the Precious Blood Sisters at Rome City, Indiana during the late 1950's. The crux of her message was to reveal the recognition of The Indwelling Most Holy Trinity in the Christian Family, with The Holy Family (Jesus, Mary & Joseph) as a model. Our Lady specifically asked Sister Mary Ephrem to pray for purity and promised manifold spiritual miracles to our country through our practice of purity. You can read the whole of the messages here.

Just as a side note, the visions have been canonically approved by the late Archbishop Leibold of Cincinnati and other bishops in the United States, but we are not of course, obliged to accept private revelations. I, however, find this devotion particularly beautiful and full of hope. But I seem to be digressing -- let me get to the point.

Sister Mary Ephrem had visions not only of the Blessed Virgin, but also of Christ and St. Joseph. She describes her vision of Joseph as:
His appearance, though quite youthful, gave at the same time the impression of rare maturity combined with great strength. He seemed a bit taller than medium height. The lines of his face appeared strong and purposeful, softened somewhat by a gentle serenity. I also saw his most pure heart at this time, Moreover, I saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovering above his head.

What I find even more beautiful are the words St. Joseph spoke to the Sister Mary Ephrem about himself and his role as guardian of Christ. He tells her:
It is true my daughter, that immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin. I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men. My pure heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God. Immediately, at the moment when my soul was cleansed from original sin, grace was infused into it in such abundance that, excluding my holy spouse, I surpassed the holiness of the highest angel in the angelic choir. My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men. The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them.
Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, coredemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I co-operated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.

We hear so much of Mary's Immaculate heart and her sorrows, but how often do we stop to consider her holy spouse, Joseph? Although the above quotations given from a private revelation, how far-fetched is this? We see in Scripture that Joseph protected Jesus and Mary when Herod sought to slaughter him. And this is the man that God Himself chose to give such honor as to guard His only Son. Yes, St. Joseph is a righteous and mighty man indeed.

For his upcoming feast, let us ask him to pray for us, to pray for our purity and that of our husbands. Let us ask him to preserve our husbands, to protect them, and to bring them safely to us. Even if we've not met our husband yet, St. Joseph will, through the grace of God, watch over him for us and spiritually prepare us to meet. May all of my sisters go to Joseph with their prayers and may he protect us all!

Here is a common novena prayed to Joseph.
Icon of St. Joseph found here.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails