For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith!
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Behold the faithful and prudent servant
that the Lord has set over His family.1
Saint Joseph is the man chosen from among all others to act as father of the Child Jesus and spouse of the Virgin Immaculate. This incomparable mission contains all the titles of his greatness. Saint Joseph contributed to the fulfillment of the plan of Providence by concealing the secret of the Incarnation of the Son of God from the enemy of the human race. Because of the legal marriage that Joseph contracted with Mary, the ancient serpent was unaware of the fulfillment of the prediction of the prophet Isaiah: A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called God with us, Emmanuel.2 This vocation bears no resemblance to any other; it sets Saint Joseph in a class of his own. He watched over the Child and the Mother; he shielded Them from all danger, guided Them in a foreign land and brought Them back to Israel. Depositary of the confidence of God, he is the visible angel of the Holy Family. Before the throne of grace, how powerful must the faithful servant be to whom God gave custody of the treasures of Heaven and earth!
The angelic mission which Saint Joseph accomplished on behalf of the Holy Family is perpetuated in the Church; for the vocations of God are irrevocable, and what the Saints were on earth, they will be eternally in Heaven. Joseph will always be the representative of God, the instrument of Providence. He watches over the children of the Church as he watched over the cradle of Bethlehem; he preserves them from the snares of the enemy, provides for their spiritual and temporal needs, comforts them in the sorrows of exile and leads the pilgrims of this world into the heavenly homeland. Saint Joseph is above all the model and guide of interior souls. Let us go to him and ask for love of the hidden life, the science of prayer and devotion to God. We would not be giving great honor to Saint Joseph by our fervent homages if we did not seek to be deserving of his paternal protection.
Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne, Miettes évangéliques (Société Générale de Librairie Catholique: Paris, 1878), pp. 525-526. This French book is available from Editions Magnificat.
Saint Joseph, Patron of the Holy Church, be thou glorified,
and hasten the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven!
1 Cf. St. Luke 12:42-44.
2 Isaiah 7:14.