The most reliable foundation for the glory and veneration due to Saint Joseph is to be found within the pages of the Gospel. Thirty-three texts, comprising all that the New Testament narrative reveals concerning Saint Joseph, have been selected by us as the groundwork of a course of short practical Meditations inciting to the imitation of the virtues of the Saint, as recorded in the Gospel. These thirty-three chosen texts will teach the faithful how best to honour the great Patron of the Church, and the reasons for placing unlimited confidence in his protection.
This little manual contains a daily exercise for the Month of Saint Joseph; but devotion to this Patron op the Universal Church should not be confined to one month, and as each Wednesday throughout the year has for a long time been dedicated to St. Joseph, a good way of carrying out this devotion might be to take for the subject of our Meditation some of the mysteries of the life of this great Saint as we find them recorded in the Gospel. Of the three Feasts in honour of Saint Joseph, the chief one is that celebrated on the 19th of March. The second in order is that of the Patronage, fixed for the Third Sunday after Easter; and the third, common to Our Lady and her chaste Spouse, falls on January 23d, and bears the name of Feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph. Three of the daily readings would form a Meditation for each day of the Novenas preceding these Feasts, and each Meditation might be concluded by the recitation of the prayers authorized to be used in honour of the Saint, and which will be found at the end of this little book, in company with other devotions to the august Spouse of the Mother of our Lord.
ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL
"And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ" —Saint Matthew 1:16.
Descendant of the kings of Judah, Spouse of the Mother of God, foster-father of Jesus, representative also of the Eternal Father, Joseph holds, next to Mary, the highest rank to which a mere creature can be exalted; and such a man is passed unnoticed. No trait is cited, no word uttered, that can win him a place in the annals of the world. He is named but in conjunction with Jesus and Mary, and that only so far as their interests require.
How vain all earthly glory! Much is said of those who desire but oblivion, and true merit remains ignored. Let the world despise us, its contempt pass unheeded, and, far from feeling surprise, let us rejoice at being overlooked. The world has forgotten so many! We will repay oblivion by oblivion!
Watchword. —Heed neither the esteem nor the contempt of the world.
1. Saint Joseph's Place in Heaven.
An artist was commissioned by Pius IX to paint a picture of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. When the sketch was submitted for approval, the sovereign pontiff, looking at it, exclaimed: "And Saint Joseph, where is he?" The artist pointed to a group lost in the clouds, replying: "That is the spot I reserve for him." "No," replied the Holy Father, pointing to a place at our Saviour's side; "there, and only there, must he be placed; for surely that is his post in heaven."