Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stand Firm

March 19, 2009

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever. 2 Samuel 7:16

…[T]he angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

Prayer to St. Joseph for the Unemployed

O Saint Joseph, we pray to you for those who are out of work, for those who want to earn their living or support their families.

You who are the patron of workers; grant that unemployment may vanish from our ranks; that all those who are ready to work may put their strength and abilities in serving their fellowmen and earn a just salary.

You are the patron of families; do not let those who have children to support and raise lack the necessary means. Have pity on our brothers and sisters held down in unemployment and poverty because of sickness or social disorders. Help our political leaders and captains of industry find new and just solutions. May each and every one have the joy of contributing, according to his abilities, to the common prosperity by an honorable livelihood. Grant that we may all share together in the abundant goods God has given us and that we may help underprivileged countries. Amen.


We all want our children to grow up with more opportunity than we had. Yet for St. Joseph, it could not have been a very easy task raising Jesus. What did he know or sense about the destiny of his son after the angel of the Lord appeared to him in that fateful dream?

Despite his best inclination according to Jewish law, Joseph did not abandon his fiancé and her baby even though he knew the baby was not his biological offspring. Instead, Joseph stood firm with Mary and Jesus.

We are not the biological offspring of Our Father either. Yet God stands as firm with us as Joseph stood firm with his family. God wants to be with us. He wants to walk with us. He wants to get in the boat with us and go fishing.

God took great pains to set his son up in a normal family. But it did not take long before the Son’s life was very different from the other Jewish boys of his day. Although he survived the first slaughter of the innocents, ultimately this Innocent Lamb was slain to save us from our sins.

What would any of us think if we had such a premonition about the fate of our own child? The lyrics of “Joseph’s Song” by Patrick Mulhern come to mind. (Michael Card and others also have recorded it)

How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be?

Lord I know He's not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours.
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord for all my life I've been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a king? How can I raise a king?

He looks so small,
His face and hands so fair
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear
But when He laughs it shines again
How could it be?


Bless the children you meet today and those you don’t meet but still love.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Amen.

Il Signore ti benedica e ti custodisca. Ti mostri la Sua Faccia ed abbia misericordia di te
Volga a te il Suo sguardo e ti dia pace Il Signore ti benedicica. Amen.

(I could not resist sharing that in Italian. It is from a prayer card we got at the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi Italy a year ago this week.)

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