Meditation for the feast of St. Joseph – March 19

Meditation for the feast of St. Joseph – March 19

110.1   First Point

Because Saint Joseph  was  made  responsible by God for the care and  external guidance of Jesus  Christ, it was  important that he have the qualities and  virtues  necessary to fulfill worthily so holy  and  ex- alted  a ministry. The Gospel  tells us about  three,  all very  fitting for the responsibility entrusted to him: he was  just; he was  very  submissive to God’s orders,1  and he had a very  special solicitude for the education and the protection of Jesus  Christ.2

The first quality that the Gospel  attributes  to Saint Joseph  is that he is just. This is also the main  virtue  he needed in order to be able  to provide guidance to Jesus  Christ. Because our Lord is God and holy, it would not be fitting that the person  in charge of guiding him not be holy  and just before  God.

It is  even  entirely proper  that  Saint  Joseph  be,  after  the  Most Blessed Virgin,  one of the holiest  people to be found  in the world  at that time,  so that he might  have  some  conformity with  Jesus  Christ, who  was  entrusted to him and confided to his care.  The Gospel  also says  of him that he is just before  God, that is, holy  in every  way. We even  have  grounds to believe that Saint  Joseph, thanks  to a special privilege, was  entirely exempted from sin.

You also have  been  charged, very  much  like  Saint Joseph, with a holy  work,  a work  that is very  similar  to his and  requires that your piety  and  your  virtue  be  more  than  ordinary. Take  Saint  Joseph  as your  model,  for he  is your  patron,  and  strive  to be  worthy  of your ministry  and to excel  in virtue  by following the example of this great saint.

 

110.2   Second  Point

The  second   virtue  that  the  Gospel   points  out  to  us  in  Saint Joseph  is  his  holy  and  entire  submission to God’s  orders.  God  in- structed  him by an angel to remain  with the Blessed Virgin when  he was  questioning whether he ought  to leave  her;  at once  he banished the thought  of leaving her from his mind.  After the birth of the Child Jesus,  God warned Joseph  during  the night to take  the Child to Egypt to save  him from the persecution of Herod;  at once  he arose  and de- parted   to  bring  the  Child  and  his  virgin  mother   to  Egypt.3    After Herod’s  death,  God told  Joseph  to come  back  to Judea, and  he  re- turned  there  without  delay.4

Oh, how  admirable is this prompt  and  simple  obedience in this great  saint! He does  not hesitate a single  instant  to carry  out what  God desires of him! Do you  have  as much  at heart  to do God’s will  as this saint did?

If you  want  God to bestow many  graces on you,  both  for you and  for the  Christian  education of the  children you  have  to protect and to guide, you  must imitate  this saint  in his love  for and in his fi- delity  to obedience, which  of all the virtues  is the one most appropri- ate for you  in your  state and in your  work  and the one that will  bring you  the most grace.

 

110.3   Third Point

The Gospel  also makes us admire  in Saint Joseph  the care  he has for the  holy  Child  Jesus,  which  he  showed in the  promptness with which  he took him to Egypt5  when  God told him to do so; in the pre- caution  he took,  on leaving Egypt, not to take  him to Judea, for fear of Archelaus, who  then occupied the throne  of his father,  Herod,6  and in the sorrow  he felt at having lost Jesus  when  they  were  returning from Jerusalem, as the Most Blessed Virgin  testified  in these  words: Your father and I have  been  searching for you  in great  sorrow  and in great  affliction.7  Two  things  inspired the  great  solicitude that  Saint Joseph  felt for Jesus:  the commission that the eternal Father had given him and the tender  love  Saint Joseph  had for Jesus.

You must have  a similarly great  attention  and  affection  for pre- serving or procuring the innocence of the children entrusted to your guidance and  for keeping them away from whatever might  interfere with  their  education or prevent them  from  acquiring piety,  just  as Saint  Joseph  had  for all  that could  contribute to the  welfare of the Child Jesus.  For you  have  been  made  responsible for these  children, just as Saint Joseph  was  made  responsible by God for the Savior  of the world.  This is also the first care  you  ought  to have  in your  work  if you  wish  to imitate  Saint Joseph, who  had nothing  more at heart  than to provide for the needs of the Child Jesus.

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De La Salle  had a special love  for Saint Joseph, developed undoubt- edly  as part of his training  in the seminary of Saint Sulpice. The first seal  of the Institute,  of which  we  have  samples on obediences as ear- ly as 1707, depicts  Saint Joseph  with the Child Jesus,  and this special devotion to the Infant Jesus  and Saint Joseph  is mentioned in the Bull of Approbation. This  meditation explains  the  several reasons why such  a devotion was  considered by the Founder  as most appropriate for the  Brothers.  The  original morning  and  evening prayers of the Brothers  included a special prayer to Saint  Joseph, also  a litany  to Saint Joseph  after the midday recreation, before  returning to school. The Rule of 1705 states:  “At one o’clock  the Brothers  will  assemble in the oratory  to recite  the Litany of Saint Joseph, Patron and Protector of the Community, to ask for his spirit and his assistance in the Christian education of children”  (CL 25:100). Pratique du Réglement  Journalier, the original text for the order  of the Brothers’  day,  lists the feast of the Great Saint Joseph  as one  of the special days  for a holiday. On this day  in 1719, De La Salle  was  able  to say  his last Mass with the Broth- ers at Saint Yon, an event  that was  regarded as a special favor from Saint Joseph. The Founder  died  less than three  weeks later,  on April 7.

1.  Mt 1:19
4.  Mt 2:19–21
7.  Lk 2:48
2.  Mt 1:20–24
5.  Mt 2:14
3.  Mt 2:13–14
6.  Mt 2:22

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