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patron saint: joseph

January 16, 2009

On my Patron Saint page, I promised to write a little something about each of the saints pictured there and why they are St. Joseph with the Christ Childimportant to me.  Here is the first installment:

St. Joseph and I are old friends, though I honestly couldn’t tell you when my devotion to this humble saint began.  He has always been a presence in my life: we went to St. Joseph the Worker parish when I was little; my brother’s middle name is Josef; when we moved to St. Francis Xavier parish, we sat on the Joseph side of church; my confessor in New Jersey was at the Shrine of St. Joseph; and so on.  From a young age, I heard his name mentioned in different devotions, prayers or litanies, often as “Mary’s most chaste spouse” and “protector of virgins”.  St. Joseph’s quiet presence in my life is very characteristic of him.

Not much is known about him.  The simple fact that he was chosen to be the earthly father and protector of Christ reveals a great deal about who this man was.  Only the most holy, humble and honorable of men could have served his domestic church as St. Joseph did the Holy Family.  He has become an example to all men of what a man, as husband, father, protector and servant, should be.

The following titles and descriptions are taken from a beautiful litany of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph, guardian of the Word Incarnate
St. Joseph, ruler of the family of Jesus
St. Joseph, spouse of the ever-blessed Virgin
St. Joseph, example of humility and obedience
St. Joseph, mirror of silence and resignation
St. Joseph, patron of innocence and youth

Perhaps it is that last line, coupled with the title “Protector of virgins”, that draws me to him.  I no longer live under my father’s roof and therefore don’t receive the protection I did when living there.  Though my dad still provides it from afar, I often feel a lack in every day moments.  In those times, I turn to St. Joseph, who provided for the Blessed Mother in her time of need.

St. Joseph and I have grown closer the last several years.  I continually ask for his intercession.  A while back, I mentioned to a friend that I was praying a novena in honor of St. Joe.  “St. Joseph takes forever to answer my prayers,” she said and jokingly added that I might want to ask for another saint’s intercession if I wanted an answer quickly.  But I am content with St. Joseph’s intercession.  I do have other saints to whom I am devoted, but St. Joseph has a special place in my heart.  His quiet, strong and practical presence suits me, as he constantly reveals the love and joy of his adopted Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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