What St. Joseph Taught Us
Things rarely go according to plan. Even if you have the greatest project manager in the world, there are still factors and elements that cannot be controlled. St. Joseph teaches us to place our trust in God, especially when things do not go as expected.
St. Joseph, the Betrothed of the Virgin Mary, found himself in a difficult situation. He was betrothed to a young woman from Nazareth who was pregnant, though he knew that they had not had relations. At this stage in their relationship, Mary and Joseph were promised to one another in a solemnized way by Jewish custom. Certainly, St. Joseph did not expect the situation and did not know what to do.
He had decided that he would divorce Mary and send her away quietly to spare her from being stoned to death for adultery. Of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary was not guilty of this or any crime or sin, but St. Joseph knew that did not matter to those in the town. Instead of this course of action, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in dream, told him not to be afraid, and to continue with Mary.
St. Joseph, a good and righteous man, held the course in faith and became the most chaste spouse of the Virgin, the foster father of the Son of God, and a powerful figure for trusting in God. He did not allow the plan of the Evil One to triumph over the plan of Almighty God. His perseverance in grace is terror of the demons and a model for us.
The Plan of the Evil One and the Plan of God Almighty
Sin is often unexpected. If we could anticipate temptation, then we would stand a better chance of completely overcoming it. Yet, the plan of the Evil One is that we will fall from God’s grace, we will choose to worship the created over the Creator, and that we will suffer eternal death. The plan of God, however, is for our eternal life with Him in heaven!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms: “Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile… Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another (CCC 386a, 387c).”
Our enemy, the devil, “…‘has sinned from the beginning’; he is ‘a liar and the father of lies (CCC 393).’” This fallen angel is not equal to God by any stretch of the imagination, but he is powerful and desires our destruction. He seductively leads us to oppose God.
On the other hand, our loving Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit to enlighten our blindness and enrich our understanding of heavenly things, by grace. He never ceases to gather His people to Himself. He loves us and desires our eternal good, for He is our greatest Good.
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons
So, where does St. Joseph come into this plan? Well, St. Joseph shows us the model of resisting temptation by acknowledging what is right and then persevering in virtue! Whereas the diabolical creature fell from God’s favor to eternal restlessness, in opposition to that pattern the creature St. Joseph was a man of righteousness and enduring faith in God’s plan for his life.
St. Joseph is the patron of a happy death because he perservered in righteousness and intercedes for us now. Pope Pius XII declared him the universal patron of the Church and protector of the Church. Blessed Bartolo Longo, a former Satanic priest said, “It is a great blessing for souls to be under the protection of the saint [Joseph] whose name makes demons tremble and flee.” It is to this point that the Church refers to St. Joseph under the title “Terror of Demons.”
In the book Go to Joseph, Our Unfailing Protector, author Alexis Lepicier writes regarding Catholic missionaries, “Sacred writers agree in saying that the intercession of St. Joseph is an efficacious means of overthrowing the tyranny of Satan and propagating the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Indeed this fact is borne out by numerous evidences a result of which is that the holy Patriarch has come to be invoked by Holy Church with the title terror of demons. Missionaries in [pagan] countries are unanimous in acknowledging the help they have derived from St. Joseph to that effect.”
An Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
There is a tremendous prayer to help us in the midst of unanticipated events, invoking this great and powerful saint. It is traditionally traced back to the year 50 A.D., which is quite remarkable. Let us end this short reflection by praying it together:
“O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.
O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.”
More St. Joseph Resources
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