Newsletter #26

“Saint Joseph was so reserved and careful in his speech that not one word ever issued from his mouth that was not good and holy, nor did he ever indulge in unnecessary or less than charitable conversation. He was most patient and diligent in bearing fatigue; he practiced extreme poverty; he was most meek in bearing injuries; he was strong and constant against my enemies; he was the faithful witness of the wonders of Heaven, being dead to the flesh and the world, living only for God and for heavenly goods, which were the only things he desired. He was perfectly conformed to the Divine Will and so resigned to the dispositions of Heaven that he ever repeated: ‘May the Will of God ever be done in me!’ He rarely spoke with men, but continually with God, Whose Will he desired to perform. Wherefore, he now enjoys great glory in Heaven.” (Words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Bridget of Sweden).
What are the virtues of Saint Joseph that we can imitate? “Prince of the House of David” written almost a century ago can provide us with some fruitful meditations.
The Humility of Saint Joseph:
“The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God.” (Ecclesiasticus 3:20). How perfectly did Saint Joseph follow this exhortation of Sacred Scripture. Exalted as he was by God to the honor of Head of the Holy Family, he never allowed a shadow of vanity to darken the humility of his heart and mind. He chose an obscure profession for his life work, in a lowly Galilean town and even there he never became prominent or conspicuous. In the great crisis of his life, he remained quietly in the background. At Bethlehem and Jerusalem, in Egypt and in the Finding of the Boy Jesus, Saint Joseph makes no movement to gain the notice or applause of men. Toward God, he was devoted entirely to the Divine Will, offering to the Eternal Father his service and love and accepting from His hands every hardship and disappointment of life. In his dealings with others, he proved himself truly humble. Whether his contact included the rulers of Rome, or the people of Nazareth, his attitude remained the same. He could unravel the trappings of their personalities and find in each and every man the image of the God Whom he so faithfully served. His desire to remain unnoticed, hidden from the world never faltered. In patience and endurance, Saint Joseph accepted life’s crosses and merited the promise of the Eternal Judge: “He who humbles himself shall be exalted.”
The Justice of Saint Joseph:
Justice, as it is applied to the character of Saint Joseph, is not a single virtue, but rather the totality of virtue – that essential holiness which is comprised in entire conformity of man to God’s Will. The great Saint Jerome says of him: “Joseph is called just on account of having possessed all virtues in a perfect degree.” The Almighty Creator might have chosen any one from among the sons of men to act as His representative on earth, and having chosen him, the possible endowments with which God could have enriched him are limitless. Only one thing is necessary for us to know about Saint Joseph in order that we may understand the manner of man he was, and that is told us definitely in the Gospels. He was “just”. The Blessed Trinity could see in Saint Joseph a man in whom virtue had been developed until he was as perfect as it is possible for a mere human man to be when he has corresponded in every detail to the fullness of God’s grace and inspiration. Saint Joseph was not exempt from the frailties of human nature; he was not preserved miraculously from temptation, nor shielded from sorrow and trial. He was tested and tried as is every other man in his life upon earth. But Saint Joseph was holy. He made the most of God’s gifts. He lived with a purpose and that purpose was God’s Will. He was not like the men to whom life is selfishness and desire – a grasping for the evasive, unattainable joys of a world that flatters and deceives. He sought God first in everything. He used the trials, temptations and sorrows which overtook him as precious coins to purchase an increase of virtue and holiness. And when the long span of his years on earth drew to a close, he could face eternity with a serenity which has led the Church to invoke him as Patron of a Happy Death. Not the glory of his great mission on earth, nor the unspeakable privileges which were his, but rather the perfect conformity of his will to God makes him great in Heaven, and great in the Church – the just man before God and before men.
How was Saint Joseph ‘just’ before men? In the world, men are called great when they have achieved distinction through the practice of one particular quality or virtue in an eminent degree. There are in the pages of history the men whose valor has distinguished them in conflict; there are others whose wisdom has made them oracles in their own day and in the generations which followed them. There are the leaders whose courage drew the hearts of thousands and the few whose gentleness made them loved and remembered. It is because our minds are essentially limited in their outlook that we signalize one virtue in our judgment of men’s character. True holiness requires the perfect balance and right order of all virtues in a man. Prudence dominates him, just as humility must be the foundation on which the structure of his holiness is built. Wisdom without simplicity; courage without gentleness; chastity without charity do not constitute perfection. It is the blending of all into a well-ordered character, obedient to God’s Law, faithful to His inspirations and entirely conformable to His Will which makes a man justified before the Lord.
It is thus that Saint Joseph stands as model for all men of all ages who would “walk in justice in the way of God”. With the faith and obedience of Abraham, the patience of Jacob, the purity of his predecessor Joseph of Egypt, the wisdom of Solomon and the love of the great King David, he walks “the path of the just as a shining light” ever beckoning us to rise to the fullness of the stature which is ours if we but remain faithful to the graces God lavishes upon our souls.
The Gratitude of Saint Joseph:
Gratitude is essentially the virtue of a noble heart. It implies a sense of obligation for favors received and requires a man to acknowledge and remember the favor – to return thanks for it; and to prove substantially that he is worthy of the goodness shown to him by his benefactor. Even brute beasts show gratitude; the greater their domestication, the more noticeable and characteristic does their gratefulness become. In man, no virtue inclines him more to the consideration of others; it combats selfishness directly and decisively. Ingratitude in the soul breeds selfishness. It closes the mind and heart to the refining influence of charity. Spiritual writers have said that “In the general estimation of mankind, gratitude approaches nearer than any other virtue to justice”. If ingratitude is looked upon as a mark of ill-breeding and warped personality by even the devotees of our selfish world, how great must be the insult it offers to the Creator of the Universe when He receives it from man, his reasoning creature, the masterpiece of His Hands.
The heart of Saint Joseph was grateful because he understood so well the magnitude of God’s mercies to man and the utter dependence of man upon his Creator for “every best and perfect gift”. Versed as he was, undoubtedly, in the glorious history of his people, he must have felt from his early youth the obligation incumbent upon every faithful son of Israel to give thanks unceasing to the Lord Most High. Humble and noble of heart as he was, Saint Joseph made use of every gift, temporal and spiritual, to glorify the goodness and generosity of God.
The Silence of Saint Joseph:
All the great works of God have been executed in silence. In the beginning, “darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Solomon, the Wise Man of the Old Testament, erected his magnificent temple without sound of tool or clang of metal. “There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house when it was in building.” (3 Kings 6:7). Silently, and in deep seclusion is God’s work best accomplished.
Saint Joseph was a silent man throughout his whole life. Silence surrounds every circumstance in which he has taken part. In the Gospels, not one word of his is quoted. Throughout the Hidden Life of Christ in which Saint Joseph figured so largely as Foster-Father and Teacher, his silence was a complete and perfect elimination of himself. Effacing self in silence he was passed by; obscurity is seldom molested. Except when an angel led him to the foreground he kept apart from men, preserving the recollection and silence which strengthened him in perfection. He was silent about his Foster-Son, Whose Character and Divine Mission he knew so well; silent about Mary, the Lily of Israel, who had “found grace before God”. He was silent about himself – his family, his privileges, and the marvels of his life with Jesus and Mary. There was no sadness about the silence of Saint Joseph. It was neither vacuous nor useless. It was a positive, dynamic concentration of his mind and soul to the interests of God, a strong bending of his energies toward perfection. He was too preoccupied with God to find time or inclination to fritter away valuable hours in unnecessary talking and his heart was too entirely content with God to require any excessive distraction with men.
In the midst of the babble of our world, where every man seems to flatter himself that he has a message to give to all who will listen, it is good for us to consider the reasons for the silence of Saint Joseph. He was silent, first, that he might pray better. A great noise hinders us from distinctly hearing what is said to us. So, too, the confusion and dissipation of secular business and idle talk deafen the soul to divine inspiration. Only in solitude and recollection does God communicate Himself to us. He says, through His prophet Osee: “Behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart.” (Osee 2:14).
Saint Joseph was silent, secondly, because he knew that silence is one of the chief means to obtain perfection. “He that useth many words shall hurt his own soul.” (Ecclesiasticus 20:8). In silence, there is strength and rest for the soul ravaged by the onslaughts of temptation. She may gather her forces, survey her losses, and count her gains. The self-control and mortification necessary to maintain silence as a virtuous habit serve to lead man far on the road to perfection.
Thirdly, Saint Joseph was silent, that he might speak well. The virtue of silence does not consist in not speaking, but in speaking well when we ought to speak and in keeping silence when we should be silent. It is temperance of the tongue and requires that a man have prudence and judgment in its use. “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth and a door round my lips. Incline not my heart to evil words: to make excuses in sins.” (Psalm 140:3-4).
Moreover, we must admire the silence of Saint Joseph in his joys and sorrows. Whatever may be man’s devotion to silence through the routine of his daily life, seldom is he able to maintain that same prudent silence during excessive joy and sorrow. It is here, especially, that Saint Joseph proves himself a holy man and a model for our imitation. The sorrows of his life were intense, heartbreaking tests of love and fortitude; his joys were transcendent ecstasies that must have filled his heart to overflowing. A man of less virtue would have become loquacious. He would have been tempted to seek solace for his sorrow in conversations, in expressions of regret, in questioning the ways of Divine Providence. The need for companionship in joy would have compelled him to share “the secrets of the King” with his fellowmen. Saint Joseph was silent in sorrow and in joy. He made no capital of the divine mysteries in which he participated. He gave no hint of the marvels of his life to friends, neighbors or acquaintances. In silence, he studied Jesus and Mary, modelling the virtues of his life after theirs. In their company, he found happiness complete. Through each sorrow he gained greater strength and a deeper understanding of the ways of God. His joys were a foretaste of his eternal happiness. They were touched with the glory of divinity. Not one was a worldly, purely temporal experience. The last of his joys crowned the silent submission of his beautiful life by granting him the unutterable privilege of dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
The Joy of Saint Joseph:
Nature and life tend toward joy, except when both are dulled by the black shadow of sin. Joy is in the beauty of the universe, in the glory of the heavens, in the perfection and mystery of the earth. The changing seasons pile their beauty into the gorgeous pageantry of earth – spring with its freshening verdure leaping from the bare ground toward the sun; the blossoming profusion of summer; the fruitful maturity of autumn; the deep, white silence of winter, covering the earth with a mantle of snow, each crystal of which is a miracle of beauty in line and form. Only sin and self-love have marred the loveliness of earth and destroyed the joy which is its heritage from God. When man is free from sin and truly humble, he sees God and not himself in all that touches his life. Claiming no rights, no privileges for himself, and seeking only God’s glory, he finds joy where worldlings pass it by. True worship of God is more than either the fear of Him or the love of Him; it is an overpowering delight in Him, and this, precisely, is the essence of the joy of the saints.
Saint Joseph, who was “just” before God, and humble of heart, could know true joy as few men have been privileged to know it. The source of his joy was the Eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the All-Holy Trinity. Humble carpenter of Nazareth, he was before men; humble Guardian of Jesus, he was before God. There were great hardships in Saint Joseph’s life, long hours of obscure toil, heavy crosses and trials of his faith and his love. God never showered wordly honors, distinction, or great success upon him. Very often he was harassed by care and privation. In the “good things of life” he was poor almost to destitution, but in wealth of the spirit, he was rich with a holy sufficiency. Not only was he privileged to live in close, daily contact with the ravishing sweetness of the “Word-made-Flesh”, he was the divinely appointed Foster-Father. He could present to the Heavenly Father the only gift on the entire earth worthy of the Infinite Majesty of God. From the day of his espousals to the day of his death, he lived with Mary whom the Church honors as “Cause of our joy”. She who was the Immaculate, the unspotted creature of God was the companion of his days. She, who knew God better than has any other human soul, loved Saint Joseph next to God. She could find joy in every moment of life, although her Immaculate Heart anguished more than has any other human heart. Knowing her as he did, Saint Joseph shared her joy. Together, they glorified God in humility and self-forgetfulness, and because they never knew attachment to sin nor to self, their joy was the deepest, the holiest, and most beautiful joy which man, the creature, can find in the knowledge and love of his Creator.
The Love of God of Saint Joseph:
Saint Joseph, by virtue of his election as Foster-Father of Jesus, dwelt close to Divinity even here on earth. He was “the palm which graced the courts of the Lord; the cypress tree of Sion, ever rejoicing in the sight of the Holy of Holies”. Well might we expect that his heart should be filled with love while he dwelt with the Lord Incarnate.
But, the fullness of mature manhood was upon him before he was called to be Spouse of Mary and Guardian of her Child. There were the years of his youth before he saw the “Word made Flesh”, when his soul, being only human, must have known the distractions and allurements which have always harassed the hearts of men. Had he been less a lover of God during these years, would his heart have been tuned to spiritual things so that he could fit himself to the requirements of his great vocation? Saint Thomas says: “God gives to everyone the grace proportionate to that for which he is chosen,” but without great love for God in his heart, Saint Joseph could not have responded to the immeasurable graces God lavished upon him. The trials and sorrows which were destined to try him would have exhausted a meager, selfish love. He had to pass through refining fires of suffering and mortification to learn the lesson of the seed dying, that it may bud forth life; to see the light of divinity hidden, that its glory might enlighten a sinful world. Unless his love were “stronger than death”, he could not have remained faithful, sincerely confident that God alone was sufficient for him in time and in eternity. From the days of his youth to the last hour of his life, his love for God was the center and core of his existence. It made him “just” before Heaven and earth. It kept his will fixed on God; his mind clear and quick to discern good from evil, true from false. It kept his heart at peace throughout all his life to its last moment, when rich in the love of Jesus and Mary, he yielded his soul in death to the God Whom he had served so well.
The Prudence of Saint Joseph:
Prudence is defined as “the capacity of the intellect to apprehend the good things of eternity and the means of attaining to them”. The prudent man always looks to the final end. He can distinguish what is divine from what is human; he chooses and directs the best means to a good end. However, not all men called prudent (by the world) are really such in the eyes of God. There is a worldly, false, human prudence which impels a man to regulate the acts of his life according to the principles of the world; to choose that which is expedient, which is best calculated to improve his status before his fellowmen. It is this false prudence of which Saint Luke speaks when he states: “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”
The prudence of Saint Joseph was unworldly, completely spiritual, and inspired by his desire to please God in all things. He never acted under sudden impulse, with recklessness, rather than reason. He was too close to God to forget for an instant the end for which he labored. Consequently, he weighed the obstacles and balanced the consequences before undertaking any important work, and then having decided on the best course of action, he applied himself to it without anxiety as to the future, or fear of temporal loss. He was prudent, not only in action but also in thought. His choices always led most surely to God. He chose to remain poor in the goods of the world; to practice a profession without worldly honor; to live forgotten and unnoticed in obscure little Nazareth; not the choices of a worldly-minded man, assuredly, but of one to whom God was the first and only consideration.
Saint Thomas Aquinas calls prudence “the eyes of the soul”. If a man deprived of sight cannot find his way, nor make full use of his limbs, neither can a man without prudence find his way to eternal life nor practice virtue rightly. Every virtue performed without prudence becomes excess. No virtue is more important for the will, guided by reason, for without it the understanding becomes incapable of judging between good and evil, between virtue and excess. Self-deception is inevitable.
To the care and direction of Saint Joseph, a man human and subject to error as are all other men, God entrusted His Eternal Son and the Blessed Virgin Mary. How necessary was prudence to the man thus honored. Saint Joseph, more than all other men, was destined to represent the guidance of Providence. He was steward, divinely appointed, of Almighty God. He had to protect the Immaculate Virgin in a world gorged with sin; he had to guard the life of the Incarnate God in greed-lashed Galilee and in strange, idolatrous Egypt. He was a poor man in temporal goods, yet he had to provide sustenance for the Infinite God before Whom the universe is but a grain of sand.
The Resignation of Saint Joseph:
“Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience.” (Ecclesiasticus 2:4). In His Own prayer, Our Blessed Lord teaches us to say, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. The man who means what he says as he utters this prayer has the true spirit of resignation in his heart, but not until he is tried by trouble and affliction can he practice the virtue of resignation in its fullness. There is nothing aggressive about this virtue. It is a passive, yet very positive acceptance of all that God sends. Obviously, man does not require resignation in the days of pleasure and prosperity. When life moves serenely and his will is not tried by affliction, nor his heart by humiliation and failure, he cannot gauge the sincerity of his devotion to God’s Will. If when he has done all things to the best of his ability, and has asked God’s blessing on his work, he meets with failure and disappointment, it is in this circumstance that he may practice resignation. Nothing happens to us through all our lives without the will or the permission of God. When the motive of an act is holy, and the action itself has been done with sincere effort, the result remains entirely in God’s Hands. This was the spirit behind the resignation of Saint Joseph. Very often was he tried in his life. Surely his plans were upset by the command to journey to Bethlehem; the happiness he foresaw at Nazareth with Jesus and Mary was shattered by the angel’s message to fly by night into Egypt. The joy of the visit to Jerusalem with the Boy Jesus was swallowed up into the tortured agony of His Loss. In all of these circumstances Saint Joseph might have complained to the Lord had he been less resigned to God’s Will. His soul was like the magnetic needle that points with unfailing precision to the true north. He looked to God in all things; he was content to wait. While the storms of tribulation raged about him, his heart and mind stayed calm. Like his Foster-Son he could say in the midst of his suffering, “Father, not My will but Thine be done”.
The Poverty of Saint Joseph:
The nature of poverty implies privation and it is this essential character of it that makes it repugnant to the selfish, grasping heart of man. Actual poverty, that is the absence of the goods of the world, does not necessarily of itself make man pleasing to God. It is poverty of spirit, with or without actual poverty, which merits eternal reward. The Beatitudes expressly state “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). Deprived of the goods of earth, man may murmur in rebellious dissatisfaction against the Providence of God; he may become so absorbed in his struggle to implore his temporal condition that he loses sight of the spiritual goal for which he is bound to labor. This poverty yields him nothing for Heaven. It is without the spirit and motive which could make it meritorious. On the other hand, poverty of spirit may exist in the heart of a man not actually poor. Blessed with the goods of earth, riches of mind and body, he may look upon his gifts as loans from the eternal riches of God and upon himself as a faithful steward bound to use his wealth only to promote the interests and glory of God. He merits the kingdom of Heaven, if he remains faithful to the end of his life, but his way of life is not easy; the allurements of earth draw him as a loadstone, away from God. Christ himself declared “How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:23).
The poverty of the Holy Family was two-fold in character. It was actual and spiritual. But it was the spirit which enlivened and beautified the poverty of Saint Joseph’s life which made him beloved of the Lord. God was everything to him. The goods of the earth which he obtained through the hard labor of his hands meant nothing, except in so far as they could be used to procure sustenance and comfort for Jesus and Mary. God’s Will directed his disposition of all temporal goods. Even the gifts of his mind and body, he offered unreservedly to God. He felt no restive uneasiness because he was not called upon to proclaim the Messias; no ungoverned eagerness tempted him to publish the glories of his beloved Mary among the daughters of Jerusalem. He was well too convinced of man’s utter nothingness without God, and man’s unprofitable worthlessness though deluged with God’s gifts, to seek any distinction or wealth for himself which did not come directly from the Hand of God. Wise man as he was, he knew that poverty in spirit is easiest to human nature’s achievement, if the allurements of earth are not entwined too closely about the routine of a man’s daily life.
Poverty of spirit brings with it to man’s mind the consciousness that God gives and takes away at His Will. When man is deprived of temporal goods, suffering may follow inevitably, but if borne courageously without impatience or murmur, the soul is thereby enriched with peace and union with God. The poverty demanded of Saint Joseph was a stern, actual deprivation of “the good things of earth.” He never knew in his simple life the affluence and comfort of his forefathers. He lived as a poor working man constrained within the narrow limits of his resources, humble and despised among men. Yet he labored beside Infinite Wisdom. The Boy Who gathered wood shavings in Saint Joseph’s little workshop was He Whose Hands have sent the spheres of the universe thundering in their vast beauty along the grooves of space. To Him, the Son of God, and to Mary, Saint Joseph had no more to offer of earth’s wealth, than could be wrested by his unceasing labor from the obscure little town of Nazareth. No man but one truly poor in spirit could have borne this burden nobly, as Saint Joseph did. He lived at peace, content to accomplish God’s Will, suppressing any natural desire he may have felt to bring greater comfort and luxury through the work of his hands to the King and Queen of Heaven who dwelt in his home.
The Piety of Saint Joseph:
Piety is the virtue possessed by the man who “worships God in truth”. Until man acknowledges his own misery and the omnipotent greatness of God, he cannot begin to practice piety. With David must he exclaim: “My substance is as nothing before Thee!” (Psalm 38:6). The human heart with its vast hunger for truth, beauty and love, gropes blindly for satisfaction until it rests in God and there finds in the complete surrender of itself the fulfillment of its destiny and the reason for its existence. Piety makes a man forever concerned with the interests of the Almighty. Interiorly, he strives to become one with God. Within his soul, he worships God by acts of Faith, Hope and Charity. Adoring God as perfect Truth, man necessarily places hope in Him as the Source of all good, and as a consequence of believing and hoping in Him, loves Him truly and faithfully. The virtue of piety becomes, therefore, in the soul of man a dynamic force which initiates all his actions.
Saint Joseph never could have been called the “Just Man” of God unless he had excelled in the practice of interior and exterior piety. The intense worship of God which filled his heart was the foundation upon which was built the other virtues of his life. Long before the divine mysteries were made manifest to him; before he was Spouse of Mary and saw the Messias, a Child in her arms, he had proved his love for God by his perfect devotion to the Commandments. His piety was always sincere, true, and supernatural. Wholly occupied with God, he kept his soul attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost and allowed no voluntary act of his mind or heart to place any obstacle in the way of divine grace. With singleness of purpose and fullness of love, he sought to worship God in truth.
Because man is composed of soul and body, it is not sufficient that piety exist is his heart only; it must be manifest exteriorly as well. He is bound to render to God the homage of his body as well as that of his soul, for both are the work of His Hands and both must be subject to His Will. Without exterior piety, the interior soon dies, and it is a truth universally accepted that external worship answers a need what is inherent in every man’s nature. Man is so constituted that outward expression of inward feelings is necessary for him. The devotion and worship of God buried deep within his soul are usually expressed through his prayers, sacrifices, and other external evidences of his interior adoration. Conversely, the man whose piety is simply external – who prays without thought or attention, who courts observation in his religious practices and allows exaggeration or affection to mar the sincerity of his devotion – is offering insult rather than adoration to the Most High God. These pretenses of piety make religion contemptible and deter others who are sincere and right-minded, from taking upon themselves practices of devotion.
Saint Joseph, the “man after God’s Own Heart” expressed his piety exteriorly in deep sincerity, totally lacking in ostentation and exaggeration. His piety was as perfectly adapted to the duties of his life as a clear liquid is to the vessel which contains it. The prayers which he recited in the cool evenings at Nazareth were the prescribed prayers of the Law. His journeys to Jerusalem were undertaken at stated times to fulfill the obligations placed upon every faithful Jew. Though Saint Joseph must have loved the magnificence and beauty of the glorious Temple, where God was honored by His People, he did not neglect his duty to remain there, nor multiply the number of his visits there throughout the year. His services of Jesus and Mary bore no marks of false piety. It was constant, devoted and reasonable. The intensity of his love illumined it, but always as a steady flame, without any bursts of ill-regulated fervor. He who lived in the same house with the God of Ancient Beauty and the Queen of Angels and Men, had to give his attention and energy to his daily labor in a small, dull carpenter shop. When the Divine Child reached the age to labor, Saint Joseph taught Him as any other boy was taught by his father, and together they worked daily at a simple trade because God so willed. It is this piety of Saint Joseph, true, deep, and sincere, which won for him his place in the Heart of Christ and in the Church of Christ. “Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and power: because Thou hast created all things, and for Thy Will they were, and have been created.” (Apocalypse 4:11).
Saint Joseph’s Purity:
When the soul with all its faculties, all its acts, all its aspirations, is unstained by sin, it is bright with God’s grace and pure in His sight. Essentially, this is the virtue of purity – the virtue of which it is said in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” Purity of the intellect includes the thoughts, judgment, memory and imagination. Each must be dominated by God’s Presence, bent to the accomplishment of His Law. Purity in the will demands that its choices, affections and aspirations are in the accordance with the Supreme Will of God. If man is to live in purity of heart – the life of his higher nature which brings him closer to God – he must die to his lower animal nature, which is the life of the flesh. He must turn to God in spirit and in truth, giving himself completely to the dominion of grace, reserving nothing to himself for sin or selfish ambition.
The purity of heart which distinguished Saint Joseph makes him unique even among the saints. He is the last link of the Old Law binding it directly to the Person of the Messias. Among the holy patriarchs, Saint Joseph holds a place of honor combining in his pure soul the virtues which made them “the holy ones of God”. In the New Testament, the first mention of him in Saint Matthew’s Gospel calls him a “just man,” signifying a perfection and sanctity in all virtues. He was God-appointed companion and protector of Infinite Purity Incarnate and of Immaculate Mary conceived without sin. No office was like to his; the holiness it required was very great. His thoughts and judgment never deviated from the prescriptions of the Law of the Lord; the choices of his will, the affections and desires of his heart were drawn to God as surely as is steel to a magnet. How could pride, sensuality, sin in any form, find entrance into a soul absorbed so entirely by divine love? He was the purest of mere men because he was closest to God. Saint Joseph pray for us!

(Father Joseph Poisson)

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Fr JP Corona Friday 2nd Lent Elko NV March 13 2020

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