Friday, March 19, 2010

Pray to Joseph

Sublime thoughts from St. Teresa of Avila on devotion to St. Joseph:

"To gain a favorable hearing with our Lord, I took Saint Joseph as advocate and protector and prayed very specially to him. His help was most strikingly shown. As a tender spiritual father and a loving protector, he quickly cured me of my sickness (while still so young, she was seriously paralyzed) just as he had saved me from greater dangers of other sorts which were menacing my honor and my eternal salvation.

In his eagerness to make me happy, he has always answered my prayers far beyond my expectations. To this very day, I do not remember ever having asked him anything that he did not give me. What a picture I would have before my eyes if I could recall all the signal graces which God gave me, and all the dangers, bodily and spiritual, from which he delivered me through the intercession of this good saint. To the other saints, God gives the grace to help us in certain particular needs, but to Saint Joseph, I know by experience, He gives power to help us in all our needs.

Our Lord wants us to understand that just as He was obedient in this land of exile, recognizing in Joseph the authority of a foster-father and a master, so now He is happy to do his will in Heaven by listening to all his demands. Other persons whom I advised to pray to this incomparable protector have agreed with me; the number of his clients is growing and every day the happy effects of his mediation confirm my words.

Knowing now, by long experience, Joseph's power with God, I would like to persuade everyone to pray to him. I have seen persons with a real solid devotion to him progress steadily in virtue, for he helps in a very striking manner those who pray for help along the path of perfection.

I dare the skeptics to try praying to Saint Joseph, and they will see by experience the advantage of praying to this great Patriarch and honoring him with a special devotion."

(Saint Joseph As Seen by Mystics and Historians, pp. 369-370)

On a personal note, although I have special reverence and admiration for this great saint, I realized I never really had a true devotion to him. Much of my "devotion" is just mere sentimentality and a feel-good attitude towards him with occasional prayers here and there at best. I guess I really need to take St. Teresa's advice seriously, for true devotion is marked not only by our high esteem and veneration, but that we should always have recourse to them at all times and strive really hard to imitate them, and in St. Joseph's case, total obedience and surrender to the will of God and chastity. It sounds like I need a lot of growing up to do.

Today, March 19, is the solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of Mary.

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