“Saint Joseph – Still A Devoted Foster-Father”
On Christmas Day, December 25, 2017, in my devotional reading* I read a quote from Pope Francis, “may Joseph give us the ability to dream great things.“ Pope Francis was inaugurated as Pope on March 19, 2013, the Feast of St. Joseph, and has a special devotion to St. Joseph, who is venerated as the holy Patron and Protector of the Universal Church. Saint Joseph is also venerated as Patron Saint of fathers, workers, employment, unborn children, immigrants, carpenters, realtors, travelers, against doubt and hesitation, and perhaps most commonly called upon to assist through his intercession with our Lord Jesus, at the moment of our deaths, for the blessing of a “happy death”.
For this reason Pope Francis says he keeps the statue of the sleeping Saint in his bedroom. And our Holy Father has also advised people to leave a “note“ under the image of the Saint for help whenever they have a problem.
In fact St. Joseph, as the faithful and righteous husband of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, and the guardian of the Child Jesus, Emanuel – God with us- living amidst men on this earth, Joseph is loved, honored and respected by all Christians. In the Catholic Church, St. Joseph is honored in his role as carpenter, on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, on May 1. In the Orthodox Church, St. Joseph is honored on the Sunday after Christmas as St. Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary and as the foster father of the Child Jesus.
Even though in all four Gospels, St. Joseph does not speak a single word, yet we have come to know and love him, because we know that he was chosen by God before all time in His Wisdom to prepare a worthy foster father for Himself. Jesus completely entrusted Himself to the care, love, and guidance of His earthly father, Saint Joseph, and was fully obedient to him while Joseph lived. While the Scriptures do not inform us of the time or manner in which St. Joseph passed from his earthly life to the Heavenly Father, Christians throughout the ages have believed, and with good reason, that Joseph died a happy and good death, as the foster father of the Incarnate Word, and God’s uniquely chosen son and beloved child, surrounded by his closest loved ones, Jesus and Mary, at his peaceful passing.
There is another pious tradition that developed through the centuries of the Church concerning St. Joseph’s patronage, of which I was unaware, until, when recently trying to sell my home, a devout friend told me about it.
Long before Pope Francis encouraged us to call on this powerful Saint for help whenever we have a problem, other Saints, such as Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Andre Bessette did just that. Saint Teresa of Avila encouraged the sisters of her convent to pray to Saint Joseph and to demonstrate their devotion to him by burying St. Joseph medals when they needed help, and in particular when they wanted to expand their convent and needed to acquire more land.
In the late 1800’s St. Andre turned to St. Joseph to help him sell a house by burying a statue of the Saint in the yard. He also wanted to buy a piece of land to build a new chapel. Like Saint Theresa he called on St. Joseph for assistance after burying St. Joseph medals and his petition was speedily answered.
When I mentioned my need to sell our home in Pennsylvania in order to move quickly to New Jersey to take care of my dying mother, a friend told me to bury a statue of St. Joseph headfirst in the front yard and call upon his intercession for a quick and successful sale of the house. I had never heard of such a practice.
But knowing that the good Lord hears our prayers, and trusting that Saint Joseph is with Jesus in Heaven, and so dear to His Heart, along with His Blessed Mother, I took a walk around the block of my mother’s home in New Jersey and prayed the Holy Rosary calling upon Joseph and Mary to assist me in my need. Before I began the prayers of the Rosary, however, I spoke directly to St. Joseph telling him that I had heard of his powerful intercession with Jesus and that I had been counseled to bury a statue of him in my front yard as an act of loving devotion to the foster father of our Lord and to express faith filled confidence in his speedy assistance to the Lord’s own brothers and sisters.
I told him I did not have a statue and I was not able to go to physically to Pennsylvania to make such an act at that time so therefore I would make the “pilgrimage” spiritually in my heart and mind. I did so and began my walk around the block praying the Rosary with the intention of Saint Joseph’s good help to sell my house quickly so I would not be burdened by preoccupation with this matter since I had already moved into my mothers house to focus all my attention in caring for her during her terminal cancer.
As I concluded my Rosary walk, and approached my mothers home, at just that moment, my husband drove into the driveway, and was speaking on his cell phone. I asked who called, and he told me that just then he had received a firm offer from a couple to buy our house in Pennsylvania for the price we had been asking! Hallelujah!
St Joseph, a mighty intercessor before the Lord and powerful patron of His Church!
Saint Joseph, who was the most devoted, attentive, caring and loving father to the Child Jesus while on earth, and now from Heaven, to all the Lord’s dear brothers and sisters!
*Little Blue Book, 2017
Diocese of Saginaw, MI