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In Every Need, Go to Joseph
"Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you" — Gn 41:55.
As we mark the feast of St. Joseph on March 19, we share with you an excerpt from Dr. Mark Miravalle's Meet Your Spiritual Father: A Brief Introduction to St. Joseph on the power and importance of St. Joseph's loving intercession:
How great is St. Joseph? How powerful is his intercession? How important is it that we turn to him with our prayers? Let's listen to some testimonies from saints, popes, and miserable me.
First, we have the testimony of the Catholic Church's "Doctor of prayer," St. Teresa of Avila, regarding "the glorious St. Joseph":
I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to the glorious St Joseph, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which he has delivered me, both in body and in soul.
To other saints, the Lord seems to have given grace to help us in some of our necessities. But my experience is that St Joseph helps us in them all; also that the Lord wishes to teach us that, as he was himself subject on earth to St. Joseph, so in heaven he now does all that Joseph asks. This has also been the experience of other persons whom I have advised to commend themselves to the saint. ...
I only request, for the love of God, whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for he will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious patriarch and to be devout to him. ...
Now that's one amazing testimony! I'm particularly moved by that last line, that challenge St. Teresa puts to us "to test the truth" of what she says. I affirm with this great mystic and Doctor of the Church that anyone who turns to St. Joseph will not be disappointed.
Other Doctors of the Church point to St. Joseph's greatness. For example, St. Francis de Sales highlights his almost unsurpassed holiness: "Although it is true that Mary possessed every virtue in a higher degree than is attainable by any other pure creature, yet it is quite certain that the glorious St. Joseph was the being that approached most nearly to that perfection."
Also, so many popes have happily thrown in their own sublime praise of the "Just Man" of the New Testament. Blessed Pius IX declared him the "patron of the Universal Church," which is a title above and beyond that given to any other saint in history, except for Mary. Leo XIII confirms of St. Joseph that "there is no doubt he approached nearer than any other to that superabundant dignity of hers." Pius XI even speaks of his "all-powerful intercession" (through his relationship to Jesus and Mary) of the true head of the Holy Family:
As St. Joseph was truly the head or the master of that house [Nazareth], his intercession cannot be but all-powerful. For what could Jesus and Mary refuse to St. Joseph, as he was entirely devoted to them all his life, and to whom they truly owed the means of their earthly existence?"
The papal superlatives go on and on. (Indulge me as I mention a few more.) Saint John XXIII declared St. Joseph to be the patron of the Second Vatican Council and inserted his name into the Roman Canon of the Mass. And more recently, St. John Paul II confirmed the unique sanctity and dignity of St. Joseph in his Apostolic Letter Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer), where he identifies him as "the Just Man," a "perfection of charity" that leads to a harmonious blending of contemplation and action: "In Joseph, the apparent tension between the active and the contemplative life finds an ideal harmony that is only possible for those who possess the perfection of charity."
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has wasted no time in giving historic honor to St. Joseph. In one of his first acts as Holy Father, he decreed that the name of St. Joseph was to be inserted after the reference to the Virgin Mary into all four of the main Eucharistic prayers. Pope Francis's strong personal love for St. Joseph is likewise indicated by the saint's presence on his papal coat of arms in the form of a vine.
Finally, it's significant that the pope turns to St. Joseph frequently throughout his day and entrusts various intentions to him. He takes the saint's role as patron of the Universal Church to heart and puts him to work. How does he do it?
The Vatican Insider news dispatch released on May 1, 2014, reports that Pope Francis has placed a statuette of St. Joseph outside the door of his room in St. Martha's house where he presently resides. The Holy Father routinely places special petitions that he entrusts to St. Joseph, written on small scraps of paper, under the statuette. As the Swiss guards in attendance confirmed:
Francis has a great devotion for St. Joseph and even keeps a statuette of the saint in a marble-topped dark wooden chest of drawers just outside his room (Room 201) in St. Martha's house. The pope slips prayer requests he has written under the pedestal and the pieces of paper grow in number — "the holy Father really makes the saint work. ..."
Even the Mother of God offers testimony to the holiness of her husband and how it's imperative for the human family, in our present situation, to show proper honor to this greatest male saint. For example, during the Marian apparitions at Fatima, when 70,000 people witnessed the historic "solar miracle" (October 13, 1917) St. Joseph appeared and blessed the world with the Child Jesus as a sign of the importance of devotion to St. Joseph for the "Triumph of the Immaculate heart," promised by Our Lady of Fatima. Also, during the more recently reported revelations of Our Lady of America (revelations strongly supported by Cardinal Raymond Burke and worthy of our consideration as well), the Blessed Virgin refers to the holiness of St. Joseph as the fruit of his constant awareness of the indwelling Trinity. At the same apparition, St. Joseph himself speaks of his unique God-given privileges of grace and calls for a new devotion to his "pure heart" as well as to his "Fatherhood."
Lastly, and by far the least impressively, I want to offer my own humble testimony of gratitude to the magnificently powerful intercession of St. Joseph. At the greatest times and also the most trying times of my life, St. Joseph has been there as the "Mirror of patience," the "Terror of Demons," and the "Glory of home Life," making up for my failings through his most generous and powerful intercession. From guiding my doctoral dissertation, to finding our family home, to assisting in ubiquitous times of domestic needs, St. Joseph has always, always been there. For me, he is not only the holiest human after his wife but also an all-enduring, never tiring, forever-loving spiritual father and friend. For this, I could never offer him proper thanks and praise.
To read more, order Meet Your Spiritual Father (Product Code MYSF; Price $12.95) by visiting shopmercy.org or calling 1-800-462-7426. Visit here to order a museum-quality copy of the image of St. Joseph in the lead photo.