Our Lady of America and St. Joseph

>> Saturday, March 15, 2008


Dan Lynch

Our Lady of America and St. Joseph

March 14, 2008

The Feast of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is usually celebrated on March 19. However, because this date is in Holy Week this year, the Feast will be celebrated on March 15.

Husband of Mary

From Scripture we know that the great virtue of St. Joseph was his obedient faith. "He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife" (Mt. 1:24). He did this in spite of the fact that Mary's pregnancy was apparently visible to everyone. He took her in the mystery of her motherhood and acted in obedient faith, as did Mary when she said, "Let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk. 1:38). "Blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed" (Jn. 20:29).

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, "The obedience of faith must be given to God as He reveals Himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals and willingly assenting to the revelation given by Him." St. Joseph is the model of this obedient faith. He obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary as his wife in marriage and virginity in a communion of love with God and each other.

As the foster father of Jesus, St. Joseph showed Him all the natural love and affection of a father's heart. He placed his life at the service of God in total self-giving for our Savior who grew up in his house. And Jesus grew "in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2:52).

Worker

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on May 1. This Feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in order to impress on our minds the dignity of human work and the principles according to which it should be carried on. He chose St. Joseph as the model and helper of all workers.

From the example of St. Joseph, we should learn that we work in obedience to God's command for our earthly needs while at the same time hoping to attain our heavenly reward. He who was obedient to God's commands took care of the Holy Family by his skill and labor will not fail to extend his help and protection to his co-workers.

On His part, Jesus "was obedient to them" (Lk. 2:51) and thereby sanctified His daily work with St. Joseph. Work was the daily expression of love in the Holy Family. Work, which was a consequence of Original Sin (see Gn. 3:17-20), was now redeemed by Jesus who labored at the workbench with St. Joseph. Work is a human good which transforms nature and makes man, in a sense, more human.

Pius XII decreed that the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker should be celebrated on May 1st, the traditional Workers' Day. He hoped that St. Joseph's patronage would promote peace between workers and their employers and end the strife that too often marred their relationship.

Pope Paul VI said, "St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies; he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things — it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic."

Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph to be the "Patron of the Catholic Church". We place our confidence in his protection because he will protect the Church family just as he protected the Holy Family.

Pope John Paul II prayed, "May St. Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ's saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate... ."

Peacemaker

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the United States and revealed her title as "Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin." She also said, "I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land." She appeared to Sister Mildred Neuzil in several apparitions that began in 1956 and continued until her death on January 10, 2000 at the age of 83. The devotion to Our Lady of America is the only canonically approved devotion that is based upon apparitions of Our Lady in the United States.

On March 11, 1958, Our Lady of America spoke to Sister Mildred about St. Joseph. She said, "My holy spouse has an important part to play in bringing peace to the world."

In confirmation of Our Lady's statement that St. Joseph "has an important part to play in bringing peace to the world", he told Sister Mildred on his feast day, March 19, 1958:

Dear child, I was king in the little home of Nazareth, for I sheltered within it the Prince of Peace and the Queen of Heaven. To me they looked for protection and sustenance, and I did not fail them.

I received from them the deepest love and reverence, for in me they saw Him whose place I took over them.

So the head of the family must be loved, obeyed, and respected, and in return be a true father and protector to those under his care.

In honoring in a special way my fatherhood, you also honor Jesus and Mary. The Divine Trinity has placed into our keeping the peace of the world.

The imitation of the Holy Family, my child, of the virtues we practiced in our little home at Nazareth is the way for all souls to that peace which comes from God alone and which none other can give.

Father

The Fatherhood of God is the source of human fatherhood. St. Joseph acted as the father of Jesus. Fathers are called to love and lead their families as a model of God the Father's love for them. St. Joseph is the model father. He came to Sister Mildred and said that fathers must come to him to learn obedience to authority, the Church and the laws of their country. Fathers also must imitate his great purity of life and the deep respect that he held for his Immaculate Spouse.

On the eve of his Feast, March 18, 1958, he came to Sister and said:

All Fatherhood is blest in me whom the Eternal Father chose as His representative on earth, the Virgin-Father of His own Divine Son. Through me the Heavenly Father has blessed all fatherhood, and through me He continues and will continue to do so till the end of time.

My spiritual fatherhood extends to all God's children, and together with my Virgin Spouse I watch over them with great love and solicitude.

Fathers must come to me, small one, to learn obedience to authority: to the Church always, as the mouthpiece of God, to the laws of the country in which they live, insofar as these do not go against God and their neighbor.

Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will, as it was shown and made known to me by the Jewish law and religion. To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world.

Let fathers also imitate my great purity of life and the deep respect I held for my Immaculate Spouse. Let them be an example to their children and fellowmen, never willfully doing anything that would cause scandal among God's people.

Fatherhood is from God, and it must take once again its rightful place among men.

Pure Heart

Jesus and Mary desire that the Pure Heart of St. Joseph be honored on the First Wednesday of each month. On March 30, 1958, he appeared to Sister Mildred and said:

I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and His Mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way. Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.

Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary.

So let us respond to the requests of St. Joseph and ask his intercession for the great gifts of God's protection, peace and presence.

URL: http://www.catholicexchange.com/node/70504

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