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A vicar of Munster (Westphalia), had gone to take his night’s rest, when the doorbell rang: it was a stranger, who invited him to go to a house to bring the last rites to an old woman. The priest got up immediately and went with the Blessed Sacrament to the house indicated. When he arrived there, he did not know what to think when he heard the son of the lady in question, who was a friend of his, say to him: “What is the meaning, Mr. Vicar, of this extraordinary visit at such an early hour; for we have no sick people? – And what,” replied the priest, “did you not send for me to administer to your mother? – No. She has just gone up to her rooms, and she was perfectly well. I really don’t know what this means.” The vicar thought he was the victim of a mystification. However, his friend changed his mind and said to him, “Who knows whether it is not the good Lord who has sent you, and whether my mother has not suddenly become ill.” Saying this, he went to his mother’s room and found her seriously indisposed. “Ah, my son,” she said to him, “how happy I am to see you! I did not have the strength to call for help. Send for the priest at once, so that I may confess.” The vicar went upstairs and administered to the patient. After giving her the Holy Viaticum, he asked her if she had had a particular devotion to some Saint, whose help she was asking for, to obtain from God the grace not to die without the sacraments. “I have always prayed to Saint Joseph,” she answered, “that he would obtain this favor for me.” The vicar then understood that it was this holy patriarch who had inspired her to take this step.
It was in the midst of an epidemic that was devouring a whole region, but which was raging more particularly against the poor. A charitable priest entered a low, damp stable where a victim of the contagion was suffering. What did he see? A dying old man lying in filthy rags. He was alone; a haystack served as his bed. Not a piece of furniture, not a chair: he had sold everything in the first days of his illness, to get a few drops of broth. An axe and two saws hung on the black, bare walls, and that was his entire fortune, along with his arms, when he could move them. But, then, he had not the strength to lift them. “Take courage, my friend,” said the confessor, “it is a great grace that the Lord is giving you today; you will soon leave this world where you have only sorrows. – I have taken Saint Joseph as my patron and model, and like him I have never complained about my fate. I knew neither hatred nor envy, my sleep was peaceful. I was tired during the day, but I rested at night. The tools you see gave me bread that I ate with delight. I was poor, to tell the truth, but Saint Joseph was as poor as I was, and I have been quite well off to this day. If I regain my health, which I don’t believe I will, I will go to the workhouse and continue to bless the hand of God, who has so far taken care of me.” The priest, astonished, did not know too well what to say to such a sick man. He recovered, however, and said to him, “My friend, since life has not been untoward to you, you must no less resolve to leave it, for one must submit to the will of God. – I have known how to live,” said the dying man in a firm voice, “I will know how to die. I thank God for having given me life and for making me pass through death to reach Him; I feel the moment, here it is. Farewell, Father!…”
This is how souls who have taken Saint Joseph as their patron and model live and die, full of serenity. Let us also be, during this month and always, the imitators of this great Saint.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.