Here we have proof of Joseph's legal right over the Son of Mary. With Mary he shares the merit and honour of presenting the Infant Jesus to the Eternal Father. True, Jesus has no other Father than the One of Whom He will so often speak as "My Heavenly Father" or simply "My Father;" and yet Jesus belongs to Joseph. He who possesses the tree has a right to the fruit. The rights of Joseph over Mary ensure him equal rights over Jesus, and the Gospel shows us Joseph and Mary acting in concert, and both presenting the Infant Jesus. They carried Him: tulerunt; they presented Him: ut sisterent. It is not undesignedly that the sacred historian here employs the plural.
Let us learn to make good use of God's gifts. Joseph is associated with Mary in her rights over Jesus. Jesus belongs to Joseph even as He belongs to Mary. Like Mary and with Mary Joseph offers to God that which he has received from God. "According to the law: "secundum legem Moysi. . . . Now, not only the law of Moses, but the law of nature, the law of gratitude, and, I must add, the law of our own self-interest, all teach us the solemn obligation we are under of rendering God homage for the gifts received from Him.
Intelligence, will, health, strength, eye, ear, tongue, hand, soul and body, life, fortune, power, are all so many gifts, to be consecrated to the glory and service of God, of Him who is so liberal in the gifts bestowed on you now, and the glory with which He will reward the generosity of your offering.
Watchword—Offer to God all you are, all that you have.
13. Saint Joseph and France in the Seventeenth Century.
In 1661 Louis XIV., at the urgent entreaty of two queens, expressed by letters royal his desire that the Feast of Saint Joseph should be declared a Day of Obligation. The Bishops by their mandates, and the High Courts by their decrees, deferred to the royal wish, which was carried out on the 19th of March of the same year. Bossuet preached his second panegyric on Saint Joseph, and ended it by thanking the King for his desire to render increased honour to the memory of the Saint.