“And she was a queen most womanly—
But she was a queen of men.” –G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
This year, when setting up your Nativity set, do take a closer look at St. Joseph.
St. Joseph, the chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and adoptive father of Jesus Christ, shines in the Gospels as a rock of strength, unwavering amidst the vicissitudes of life that pummeled the Holy Family. Yes, he did worry about matters, but always sought the will of God; and, once he knew the course he should take, took it. We owe him a debt of gratitude for saving the life of Our Savior, and for his outstanding (understatement) obedience and service to Our Lady.
In 1870, St. Joseph was named the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX in the following declaration:
As almighty God appointed Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, over all the land of Egypt to save grain for the people, so when the fullness of time had come and He was about to send to earth His only-begotten Son, the Savior of the world, He chose another Joseph, of whom the first had been the type, and He made him the lord and chief of His household and possessions, the guardian of His choicest treasures.
Indeed, he had as his spouse the Immaculate Virgin Mary, of whom was born by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord, who deigned to be reputed in the sight of men as the son of Joseph, and was subject to him.
Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection, and kissed. He most diligently reared Him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life.
Because of this sublime dignity which God conferred on his most faithful servant, the Church has always most highly honored and praised blessed Joseph next to his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, and has besought his intercession in times of trouble.
And now therefore, when in these most troublesome times the Church is beset by enemies on every side, and is weighed down by calamities so heavy that ungodly men assert that the gates of hell have at length prevailed against her, the venerable prelates of the whole Catholic world have presented to the Sovereign Pontiff their own petitions and those of the faithful committed to their charge, praying that he would deign to constitute St. Joseph Patron of the Church. And this time their prayer and desire was renewed by them even more earnestly at the Sacred Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (Vatican Council I, added by SF).
Accordingly, it has now pleased our Most Holy Sovereign, Pope Pius IX, in order to entrust himself and all the faithful to the Patriarch St. Joseph’s most powerful patronage, has chosen to comply with the prelates’ desire and has solemnly declared him Patron of the Catholic Church.
He has also ordered that his feast on March 19th by henceforth celebrated as a double of the first class, without any Octave, however, because of Lent. He arranged, moreover, that a declaration to this effect be promulgated through the present decree of The Sacred Congregation of Rites on this day sacred to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the most chaste Joseph’s Spouse. All things to the contrary notwithstanding. -Pope Pius IX, via the Sacred Congregation of Rites, December 8, 1870, source
The Patron of the Universal Church, St. Joseph, was also the first to demonstrate consecration to Jesus through Mary. Jason Brunelle developed this idea in his article titled, St. Joseph Epitomizes Perfect Consecration to Jesus Through Mary; he stated:
Consecration to Jesus through Mary has become very popular amongst orthodox Catholics attempting to grow spiritually and more perfectly conform their intellect and will to the divine intellect and will of Christ. As many know, Mary always points to her Son Jesus and repeats to us what she stated at the wedding of Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.” Moreover, according to the great Marian saint Louis de Montfort, Marian consecration is the quickest, easiest, perfect and most secure way of giving ourselves over to Jesus, who came to us through Mary. We most surely return to Christ using the same pathway He used in coming to us – Mary. Few will dispute the profound efficacy of Marian consecration in making strides in the spiritual life and most perfectly conforming ourselves to Christ through Mary. There is, however, an essential aspect of this devotion that has been somewhat neglected, and that would be the role of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is numbered among the greatest of the great saints precisely because of the intimacy of life that he shared with Jesus and Mary. Moreover, we can set Joseph up as the perfect example of one who is totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary, and this due to his spousal union with the Blessed Mother. Joseph, in his espousal of Mary, gave his heart to her and took her heart as his own. There was, then, an exchange or union of hearts. And is this not precisely what takes place through consecration to Mary? For when we make a solemn act of consecration to Mary, we are, in imitation of Joseph, taking Mary’s Heart and giving to her our own hearts with the goal of becoming wholly united with her, in order to love the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus with the pure, perfect and immaculate love of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Thus, Joseph was the first to consecrate himself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and through Mary, he was capable of loving Jesus with Mary’s perfect and immaculate love. It is precisely this, then, that made St. Joseph such a great saint, and led to him becoming the Patron of the universal Church. Let us, then, follow Joseph’s example by becoming one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order to most perfectly unite ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Furthermore, let us take Joseph as the patron of our total consecration to Jesus through Mary, and ask him to be the protector of Jesus and Mary in our souls. source
Yes, let us take St. Joseph as the patron of our total consecration to Jesus through Mary, and ask him to be the protector of Jesus and Mary in our souls (paraphrase from above article).
The Militia Immaculata, a.k.a, the MI, the apostolate founded by the Marian saint, Fr. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, published an article in 2014 by Fr. Patrick Greenough which also declares St. Joseph to be the patron of, and first person who practiced, Marian consecration. Fr. Greenough stated:
If St. Maximilian were alive today I think that he would make St. Joseph the spiritual patron of the Militia of the Immaculata for he embodies everything that a member of the MI should be.
He was the First to be Consecrated.
In a dream, an angel of The Lord appeared to him and told him ” Not to be afraid to take Mary into his home.” (Mt. 1:20)
Neither should we ever be afraid to take Mary into our hearts and home for she carries with her, the Word made Flesh, Our Lord and Savior.
Rather than ever be afraid, like Joseph we should embrace her with all the love in our hearts.
Joseph was spiritually betrothed to Mary.
All that he had and was;
All of his heart and soul he gave to her completely and totally.
Is this not what each member of the MI is called to do in our consecration?
Who has ever done it more completely and fully than Joseph?
Lastly, from Bethlehem, to Egypt, to Jerusalem, to Nazareth, Joseph carried Mary and Jesus with him, loving them, watching over them, pouring out his love and honor and devotion upon them.
This is how we are to Evangelize in the MI.
We too are to carry Mary and Jesus with us wherever we go in the workplace, shopping, our neighborhood and our home with all the love and honor and devotion we have in our hearts.
So that on the last day, when we take our last breath, Mary and Jesus will still be at our side because through our Consecration, like Joseph, we never left them and they never left us.
And we too will die in Peace surrounded by Our Lord and Mary to whom we have consecrated our heart and soul, our love and devotion, our whole life, death and eternity.
So at the end of every renewal of our Consecration to the Blessed Virgin, I recommend that we say, “St. Joseph, Pray for us!”
Because he was the first to be Consecrated and the model of how to be Consecrated heart and soul to Mary.
In St. Joseph,
Fr. Patrick Greenough
March 19, 2014, source
That is beautiful.
So, as we take a closer look at the scene in the stable, and remember the Nativity of Our Lord, let us reexamine that manly figure standing strong and constant behind Our Lady and Our Lord, St. Joseph.
St. Joseph, beloved Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.
Have a good day!
•Image: the Nativity window, St. Patrick’s Cathedral
•Further reading: St. Joseph, his appearance at the Marian apparitions of Fatima in 1917, etc: link