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The Church Courtyard => The Sacred Sciences => Topic started by: Xavier on March 03, 2019, 02:24:12 AM

Title: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Xavier on March 03, 2019, 02:24:12 AM
St. Joseph, our powerful protector, Patron and Help of the Universal Church, lived a holy and heroic life laboring for love of Jesus and Mary. The Fathers of the Church vie with one another in extolling the virtues of St. Joseph and seeing him prefigured in the ancient Patriarch Joseph, of whom the King of egypt himself said, "And he said to them: Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God?"(Gen 41:38). And indeed in St. Matthew's Gospel account, we seem to see God speak even more freely in dreams and dispense His graces even more abundantly to our St. Joseph, showing his closeness to God. Again, in the dignified silence in which, when faced with difficulty and doubt, St. Joseph considered the pregnancy of his Spouse, and the heroic struggles he underwent in patiently trying to understand an impossible situation, the supreme excellence and surpassing greatness of our Saint is shown. Because of his goodness and uprightness, he was considered worthy that an Angel should appear to him to clarify the matter; as Ven. Mary of Agreda and the Saints relate and the Gospel itself implies, this was a huge trial for both Mother Mary and St. Joseph, but they both bore it patiently and heroically, and the Almighty was much pleased with both of those He had chosen His Mother and to be Named His father on earth. St. Joseph may be called, above and beyond all the Saints, the Vicar of the Eternal Father on Earth, for he alone dearly loved the Son of God more than all with a true Father's Heart.

Your thoughts and understanding of St. Joseph's sanctity, dear friends?

Fr. Garrigou Lagrange has an article below. St. Theresa, St. Francis De Sales, St. Alphonsus, St. Thomas among others I may be ignorant of are worthy of special mention among those much dedicated to St. Joseph and who have written of his surpassing excellence, urging the Faithful to have recourse to this powerful Patron in all our necessities, especially on behalf of the Church. We may piously believe that the promised triumph of the Church will come after there is renewed devotion to St. Joseph among the Faithful, and after we begin to invoke him for the needs of the Church and our own needs more ardently than ever before.

"He that is lesser among you all, he is the greater" - Luke ix, 48

Quote from: Fr. G-L
One cannot write a book on Our Lady without referring to the predestination of St. Joseph, his eminent perfection, the character of his special mission, his virtues, and his role in the sanctification of souls.

His Pre-eminence over the other Saints

The opinion that St. Joseph is the greatest of the saints after Our Lady is one which is becoming daily more commonly held in the Church. We do not hesitate to look on the humble carpenter as higher in grace and eternal glory than the patriarchs and the greatest of the prophets - than St. John the Baptist, the apostles, the martyrs and the great doctors of the Church. He who is least in the depth of his humility is, because of the interconnection of the virtues, the greatest in the height of his charity: "He that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater."

St. Joseph's pre-eminence was taught by Gerson (1) and St. Bernadine of Siena (2). It became more and more common in the course of the 16th century. It was admitted by St. Teresa, by the Dominican Isidore de Isolanis, who appears to have written the first treatise of St. Joseph (3), by St. Francis de Sales, by Suarez (4), and later by St. Alphonsus Liguori (5), Ch. Sauve (6), Cardinal Lepicier (7) and Mgr. Sinibaldi (8); it is very ably treated of in the article ," Joseph " in the Dict. de Theol. Cath. by M. A. Michel.

The doctrine of St. Joseph's pre-eminence received the approval of Leo XIII in his encyclical Quamquam pluries, August 15th, 1899, written to proclaim St. Joseph patron of the universal Church. "The dignity of the Mother of God is so elevated than there can be no higher created one. But since St. Joseph was united to the Blessed Virgin by the conjugal bond, there is no doubt that he approached nearer than any other to that super-eminent dignity of hers by which the Mother of God surpasses all created natures. Conjugal union is the greatest of all; by its very nature it is accompanied by a reciprocal communication of the goods of the spouses. If then God gave St. Joseph to Mary to be her spouse He certainly did not give him merely as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, a guardian of her honour, but He made him also participate by the conjugal bond in the eminent dignity which was hers."

When Leo XIII said that Joseph came nearest of all to the super-eminent dignity of Mary, did his words imply that Joseph is higher in glory than all the angels? We cannot give any certain answer to the question. We must be content to restate the doctrine which is becoming more and more commonly taught: of all the saints Joseph is the highest after Jesus and Mary; he is among the angels and the archangels. The Church mentions him immediately after Mary and before the Apostles in the prayer A cunctis. Though he is not mentioned in the Canon of the Mass, he has a proper preface, and the month of March is consecrated to him as protector and defender of the universal Church.

The multitude of Christians in all succeeding generations are committed to him in a real though hidden manner. This idea is expressed in the litanies approved by the Church: "St. Joseph, illustrious descendant of David, light of the Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, guardian of her virginity, foster-father of the Son of God, vigilant defender of Christ, head of the Holy Family; Joseph most just, most chaste, most prudent, most strong, most obedient, most faithful, mirror of patience, lover of poverty, model of workers, glory of domestic life, guardian of virgins, support of families, consolation of the afflicted, hope of the sick, patron of the dying, terror of demons, protector of the Holy Church." He is the greatest after Mary.

The Reason for St. Joseph's Pre-eminence

What is the justification of this doctrine which has been more and more accepted in the course of five centuries. The principle invoked more or less explicitly by St. Bernard, St. Bernardine of Siena, Isidore de Isolanis, Suarez, and more recent authors is the one, simple and sublime, formulated by St. Thomas when treating of the fullness of grace in Jesus and of holiness in Mary: "An exceptional divine mission calls for a corresponding degree of grace." This principle explains why the holy soul of Jesus, being united personally to the Word, the Source of all grace, received the absolute fullness of grace.

It explains also why Mary, called to be Mother of God, received from the instant of her conception an initial fullness of grace which was greater than the initial fullness of all the saints together: since she was nearer than any other to the Source of grace she drew grace more abundantly.

It explains also why the apostles who were nearer to Our Blessed Lord than the saints who followed them had more perfect knowledge of the mysteries of faith. To preach the gospel infallibly to the world they received at Pentecost the gift of a most eminent, most enlightened, and most firm faith as the principle of their apostolate.

The same truth explains St. Joseph's pre-eminence. To understand it we must add one remark: all works which are to be referred immediately to God Himself are perfect. The work of creation, for example, which proceeded entirely and directly from the hand of God was perfect. The same must be said of His great servants, whom He has chosen exceptionally and immediately - not through a human instrument - to restore the order disturbed by sin.

God does not choose as men do. Men often choose incompetent officials for the highest posts. But those whom God Himself chooses directly and immediately to be His exceptional ministers in the work of redemption receive from Him grace proportionate to their vocation. This was the case with St. Joseph. He must have received a relative fullness of grace proportionate to his mission since he was chosen not by men nor by any creature but by God Himself and by God alone to fulfill a mission unique in the world ...
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Josephine87 on March 03, 2019, 04:32:55 PM
I thought St. John the Baptist used to have this pride of place.  He is the only one mentioned as sanctified in the womb.  Not that that means St. Joseph couldn't have been.  There are interesting traditions about St. Joseph, that he was a widower, much older than Mary, etc.  This is one of those "can't wait til I die so I learn what the truth is" kind of things for me.
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Jacob on March 03, 2019, 06:57:33 PM
So was adding St. Joseph to the Canon a good thing or just another step on the road to the NO?
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Xavier on March 04, 2019, 01:49:54 AM
Yes, Josephine, we'll learn a lot more about it in Heaven. St. John the Baptist is undoubtedly a great Saint, likely next only to St. Joseph.

Tradition in Action has a nice article: "My daughter, although you have described My Spouse, Saint Joseph, as the most noble among the Princes and Saints of the heavenly Jerusalem, still you cannot properly manifest his eminent sanctity, nor can any mortal know it fully before he arrives at the vision of the Divinity. Then all will be filled with wonder and praise as the Lord will make them capable of understanding this truth ... The whole human race has much undervalued the privileges and prerogatives conceded to My Blessed Spouse and they do not realize what his intercession with God is able to do. I assure you, my dear child, that he is a greatly favored personage in the divine presence and has immense power to stay the arms of the divine vengeance ... I desire that you be very thankful to Divine Goodness for vouchsafing you so much light and knowledge regarding this mystery, and also for the favor which I am making you by revealing this. From now on, during the rest of your mortal life, see that you advance in devotion and in hearty love for My Spouse, and that you thank the Lord for having thus favored him with such high privileges ..." (St. Joseph, an Undervalued Saint)

In the Encyclical when Pope Leo XIII declared St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, the Holy Father taught, "And as, moreover, it is of high importance that the devotion to St. Joseph should engraft itself upon the daily pious practices of Catholics, We desire that the Christian people should be urged to it above all by Our words and authority. 3. The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory. In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures. Whole Encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on St. Joseph makes for great reading.

Quote from: Jacob
So was adding St. Joseph to the Canon a good thing

Well, that's a different issue. And opinions will differ on that among traditional Catholics. I personally believe the Canon is perfect and complete with the addition of St. Joseph.

Rorate has an article. Some agree, some disagree. I think that's a good question, but a different one.
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Jacob on March 04, 2019, 10:01:41 AM
Quote from: Jacob
So was adding St. Joseph to the Canon a good thing

Why leave off the second half of my question?
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: aquinas138 on March 04, 2019, 10:37:09 AM
If one takes the words of Christ in the Gospels about the Baptist's preeminence, the testimony of Tradition in all rites (and not just Latin extraliturgical piety of the last few centuries), it is without doubt that the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord is the greatest of saints after the Mother of God. The history of the Roman rite offers the same testimony the other rites do: St. Joseph was not part of the Roman Canon, he is not listed in the Confiteor (the Baptist is in both!), etc.

None of which is meant to detract from St. Joseph, by whose holy prayers may I be saved.
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Innocent Smith on March 05, 2019, 06:16:04 PM
If memory serves devotion to St. Joseph started in earnest during the mid 19th Century. So in terms of Church history it is a relatively recent devotion. That is not to take anything away from St. Joseph. These things occur in the life of the Church for various reasons. For whatever reason the mid 19th Century was the time.

However I do think the comparison with Joseph of the Old Testament is completely forced and flawed exegesis. It just doesn't work. Try praying an octave of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church and you may catch my drift. I'm sorry but it feels completely inauthentic. I 'm talking the title, the Feast and octave, and comparison to Joseph of Old.

I much prefer the Feast dedicated to St. Joseph the Worker.
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: Xavier on March 06, 2019, 07:20:30 AM
Jacob, I believe St. Joseph's name in the Canon is a good thing. Pope St. Gregory the Great was the last Pope before Pope John XXIII who added a name to the Canon. The Pope can make small changes like adding Saints, although he should do it with great care. That doesn't mean he can do anything he wants with the Mass.

Now, the Liturgy applies this text to St. Joseph, "[21] He made him master of his house, and ruler of all his possession." (Psa 104:21, Vulgate). Please see the Encyclical cited above, especially para 4. on that. St. Matthew had written: "Joseph her husband, being a just man" (Mat 1:19) And St. Chrysostom comments on the fullness of justice in St. Joseph, "By a just man in this place he means him that is virtuous in all things." Several other Fathers exegete the text in like manner. St. Leonard of Port Maurice cites the Church Father St. Maximinus of Turin, "If you really want to understand Joseph’s greatness as “just,” analyze the word itself. It sums up all the virtues and height of Christian perfection. The Holy Father of the Church, St. Maximinus of Turin, tells us the same thing: “Do you wish to know why Joseph is called just? Because he possessed perfectly all the virtues.” What more can one say about a man than to say that he possesses all the virtues to a perfect degree? Is this not the highest praise? And who could compare himself in grandeur to Joseph who deserved this praise? ... you received these powers and virtues only in part, while Joseph had them all and to a perfect degree."

Pope Leo explains the typology further and the Fathers and Tradition that confirms it: "You well understand, Venerable Brethren, that these considerations are confirmed by the ,opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name - a point the significance of which has never been denied - was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favour and especial goodwill of his master, and that through Joseph's administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title "Saviour of the world." Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master's domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth. These are the reasons why men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph."

The prayer below was given an indulgence of 7 years and 7 lents and recommended by the Holy Father in the same Encyclical. March devotions to St. Joseph was also given Papal blessing and encouragement in the same Encyclical, "a prayer to St. Joseph be added, the formula of which will be sent with this letter, and that this custom should be repeated every year. To those who recite this prayer, We grant for each time an indulgence of seven years and seven Lents. It is a salutary practice and very praiseworthy, already established in some countries, to consecrate the month of March to the honour of the holy Patriarch by daily exercises of piety."

Prayer to Saint Joseph

To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection. By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succor us in our need by thy power and strength.

Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strengthened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.
Title: Re: Pre-Eminence of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, among the Saints.
Post by: aquinas138 on March 06, 2019, 11:25:11 AM
I don't have a problem with devotion to St. Joseph, obviously, but I do think many have been too quick to adopt non-biblical and non-traditional doctrines concerning him. All the "St. Joseph is the greatest after the Virgin" stuff is extremely recent and without foundation in the greater tradition of the Church. It is speculation built on popular piety (and popular piety really only since the 16th century), divorced from the liturgy of the Church—this is always shaky ground.

I don't think adding his name to the Canon is per se problematic, but it does disrupt the traditional hierarchy of the saints in the Roman liturgy: the Blessed Virgin, the holy angels, St. John the Baptist, the apostles, martyrs, other saints (way back before Divino Afflatu, this hierarchy was important for determining the precedence of feasts). In this sense it is an innovation.