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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Exclusive Representation of the Nativity Scene.
From Besançon, France, a young man wrote this letter on March 10, 1875:
Glory to Jesus, honor to Mary and eternal gratitude to the most glorious, most powerful, most good Saint Joseph! These, Father, are the first feelings of gratitude that come from a heart overflowing with joy and love.
Several years ago, thanks to the very special protection of Saint Joseph, I received university degrees; I had made to this Saint Patriarch all sorts of promises, one in particular that I had resolved to keep for the rest of my life. Once in possession of my degrees, I was faithful for some time; but little by little I forgot my resolutions and even the one from whom I had received the benefit. Carried away by a spirit of pride, vanity and self-conceit, I walked quickly in the ways of the world, and the higher I rose in the esteem of men, the further I fell from God. But God’s mercy, to save me, struck me like Saul on the road to Damascus! I was knocked to the ground and reduced to the most deplorable situation. Seeing myself thus abandoned, misfortune opened my eyes: I recognized my faults, I cast a glance towards God, whom I had offended so much, and I asked Him for forgiveness. But it was necessary to do penance: I prayed to Mary, the refuge of sinners: I invoked her under the name of Mother, and, although I was very unworthy, I felt consolation. Finally I remembered the protection that Saint Joseph had once granted me; I threw myself into his arms like the prodigal son, and I began again to practice my resolution, so long abandoned. Then I placed under his statue a bill in which I asked him for a grace, the most important of my life after that of eternal salvation. I was not deceived in my hopes, I obtained everything, and it is to thank as much as it is in me this great Saint that I write you these lines.
When one has received benefits from the Father of lights, through the mediation of Mary or Joseph, one must be grateful; this is one of the most effective means of obtaining new favors. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is like a burning wind that dries up the source of graces and leaves the poor sinner to his natural weakness. Happy if, returning to himself, he recognizes his wrongs towards his heavenly benefactor.