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Retablo de San Jose’ Obrero (Retablo of St Joseph the Worker)
“Breathless, tremblin’ wonderin ‘ what’s gonna happen next ?
Questions upon questions His little heart beatin’ on my chest.
How can I be the one? The one who Father’s the Father’s Son ?
How can I raise a king when this humble life is all I bring ? I believe in you, yes, I believe in you ...”
The Carol of Joseph
Lyrics from the album “For King & Country : A Drummer Boy Christmas”
“The fact that Joseph was preparing to say ‘no’ to a mystery which was beyond him and of which he felt unworthy, is significant. God invites him to pronounce, with his whole being, a ‘yes’ whose impact is considerable like everything that directly touches the Incarnation... Then Joseph discreetly withdraws from the context of the Gospels when his son reaches the age of thirty. This is the age when the Joseph of ancient times takes his leave from Pharaoh to begin his brilliant career as prime minster (cf Genesis 41:46). It is the age when David,the beloved forefather, becomes king (cf 2 Samuel 5:4) the age of heavy responsibilities. The reason for this silent disappearance, later imitated by Mary, is simple: henceforth, Jesus will speak of the Father as the center of his whole mission.”
From “St Joseph: Shadow of the Father” by Fr Andre’ Doze
“Devotion to St Joseph is one of the choicest graces that God can give to a soul, for it is tantamount to revealing the entire treasury of Our Lord’s graces.”
St Peter Julian Eymard
“I, John, who am also your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the isle of Patmos, for the word of God, and testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice...”
Revelation 1:9, 10
It’s only a few days until the Year of Joseph is officially ended; this Wednesday. I confess I’m silently grieving and not ready to let “my spiritual director” go. But I understand that the next year, 2022, will be guided by his wife, the Mother of God. I wonder if that is a clear direction for us? We go from the holiest of men, yet human and trembling in his faith, to a young woman who was born sinless, and had no admittance/entry for any doubt or evil. Mary was always connected to the Father. If you can’t understand this, just think of a time in your life when you were completely innocent and open. It’s not about an imaginary, impossible kind of perfection, but about a connection of Love that was uninterrupted. This was the same connection we believe Jesus had until the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the Father allowed Jesus to feel and be, abandoned.
All during my apprenticeship with Friar Robert Lentz, OFM, (1990-96) I would receive continual information, some authentic and some wildly crazy, from people all over the world, about prophecies, especially from the apparitions of the Mother of God. This was long before “Q etc, and the present conspiracy theories “ because there was no social media. This all came in letters, or snail mail.
Concerning St Joseph, there is prophecy (probably coming from the Life of Jesus by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich) that when the body of St Joseph is found, incorrupt, in Israel, then its a sign that Christ the King is not far away. There are prophecies now .... about the end of the Year of St Joseph, (8 December 2020-8 December 2021) that may or may not be coming from true prophets or simply misled false prophets. But they are out there now. Be deeply discerning and “proceed with caution.”
One of the many things I’ve tried to learn from St Joseph this past year is a radical trust in God, whatever may happen. To try and gather the spirituality of Joseph I have used the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke, “The Life of St Joseph” by Mother Maria Cecilia Baij, OSB , and “St Joseph : Shadow of the Father” by Fr Andre’ Doze. But mostly, I’ve been praying with him and asking for guidance. I find the “Way of St Joseph”, very similar to the Novena of Surrender by Holy Servant of God Don Dolindo Ruotolo (6 October 1882 - 19 November 1970).
I’m working now on an image of St Joseph now, I am calling “San Jose’ : Flor de Jesé,” to end his year. I’d love to show it to you now but it’s not finished yet.
Every year the season of Advent, and Christmas , is totally different. I find I am “receiving from God” new music, new expectations, new spiritual life. If I try to rerun last year, it never ever works. In the Spirit of St Joseph and St Francis we accept each day as unique and we are offered a spirituality sent by God; just for that day. Joseph is a Wisdom figure par excellence. He waits each day to be enlightened and is humble enough, to be led. There are truly massively intellectual, and incredibly savvy saints, to be sure. But I’ve always felt that some, have to be kind of stupid and dumb, in the worldly sense, to be led. Holy Servant of God, Adrienne von Speyr, says of St Bernadette, that she doesn’t even know what a mission is. Bernadette would say of herself, “Mary used me like a broom, then put me back in the closet.” She disappears like St Joseph.
This, now ,is the oldest known prayer to St Joseph:
“O St Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
O St Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O St Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your 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.
Fr William Hart McNichols 💮 Wisdom Icons, Second Week of Advent 2021