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Tuesday, March 19, 2002

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St. Joseph

2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16
Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

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many murderous attacks on the faith

"All depends on faith, everything is grace." —Romans 4:16

Joseph had faith that his espoused wife was pregnant not because of sexual relations but by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20ff). This was one of the greatest acts of faith in history. Joseph had faith when he boldly obeyed the Lord and took Mary and Jesus to Egypt (Mt 2:14). Joseph had faith when he returned to Nazareth, loved his wife, cared for Jesus, worked as a carpenter, and died.

Throughout Christian history, Joseph was for the most part overlooked. But in 1871, Pope Pius IX began to emphasize St. Joseph through an apostolic letter in which he declared St. Joseph the "patron of the Catholic Church." Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical on St. Joseph in 1889. Then Pope Benedict XV, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II have emphasized St. Joseph in several teachings. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. There has probably been more emphasis on St. Joseph in the last 131 years than in all the rest of Church history. Why?

In the modern age, the attack on the Christian faith has been exceptionally violent. Communists, Nazis, secular humanists, Muslim extremists, and many others have mightily and murderously contended against the faith. Consequently, we need men and women of faith. We need St. Joseph and Christians like him.

Prayer:  Father, when Jesus returns, may He find faith on the earth (see Lk 18:8).

Promise:  "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before Me; your throne shall stand firm forever." —2 Sm 7:16

Praise:  Throughout his life, St. Joseph behaved exactly as "the Lord had directed him" (Mt 1:24). Praise You, Lord, for St. Joseph, the man of faith.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001