By Matthew Jolley
This Monday, 19th march, the Church keeps the solemnity of Saint Joseph. It seems quite paradoxical that someone so instrumental in the life of our blessed Lord should have remained relatively ignored for centuries amidst other popular devotions, yet this was certainly the case for this remarkable man until surprisingly recent times. It was only in 1962, under the papacy of Blessed John XXIII that the “guardian of the redeemer” was in fact added to the Roman Canon of the Mass. Today however, if we consider the exalted and unique role this carpenter of Nazareth had to fulfil when the Word became flesh, we can easily see why he is worthy of such veneration.
I certainly believe two parallels can be drawn between the unique vocation of Saint Joseph as protector of the Holy Family, and that of the Catholic Priest. Firstly, for when Christ became incarnate he was entrusted as a frail infant, to the arms of Joseph. Now, every day, Jesus entrusts himself to humanity through the hands of the Priest, in the ever more delicate state of the Eucharist. Let our thoughts and prayer this day reflect upon this great mystery: God incarnate who has deigned to come to us in the lowliest of states; not just once, but each and every time the Mass is offered and in every tabernacle around the world.
Furthermore, may all Priests, Deacons and Seminarians ask for the intercession of holy Joseph and follow his example since he, with Our Lady, possessed a unique understanding of what it meant to care for the Lord in the face of those who wished to harm Him. Secondly, the priest, like blessed Joseph, is called to love Mary and dedicate himself to her for the glorification of the Word made flesh, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
May our prayer for today be that all Priests imitate the model of courage, trust and care which Joseph presents to them as they minister at the altar amidst a growing world of secularism, and that like Joseph they may grow ever closer in love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin, through whom all mankind shall be led to their Lord and God.
Sancte Joseph, ora pro nobis!
Matthew Jolleyis a Third-Year Seminarian from the Archdiocese of Liverpool.