Ite ad Joseph

Ite ad Joseph
From Rembrandt, The Nativity

From Pope , Guardian of the Redeemer [Redemptoris custos] (1989):

Joseph was an eyewitness to this
birth, which took place in conditions that,
humanly speaking, were embarrassing-a first announcement of that
“self-emptying”
(cf. Phil 2:5-8) which Christ freely accepted for the forgiveness of
sins.
Joseph also witnessed the adoration of the shepherds who arrived at
Jesus’
birthplace after the angel had brought them the great and happy news
(cf. Lk
2:15- 16) . Later he also witnessed the homage of the magi who came from
the
East (cf. Mt 2:11).§10

In Joseph, the apparent tension
between the active and the
contemplative life finds an ideal harmony that is only possible for
those who
possess the perfection of charity. Following St. Augustine’s well-known
distinction between the love of the truth (caritas veritatis) and the
practical
demands of love (necessitas caritatis), we can say that Joseph
experienced
both love of the truth-that pure contemplative love of the divine Truth
which
radiated from the humanity of Christ-and the demands of love-that
equally pure
and selfless love required for his vocation to safeguard and develop the
humanity of Jesus, which was inseparably ed to his divinity.§27

[His] patronage must be
invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not
only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily,
as an
impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to
re-evangelization in those lands and nations where-as I wrote in the
Apostolic
Exhortation Christideles Laici – “religion and the Christian
life were
formerly flourishing and…are now put to a hard test.” In order to
bring the first proclamation of Christ, or to bring it anew wherever it
has been
neglected or forgotten, the Church has need of special “power from on
high”
(cf. Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8): a gift of the Spirit of the Lord, a gift which
is not
unrelated to the intercession and example of his saints. §29

One hundred years ago, Pope Leo
XIII had already exhorted the Catholic world
to pray for the protection of , Patron of the whole Church.
The
Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries appealed to Joseph’s
“fatherly
love…for the child Jesus” and commended to him, as “the provident
guardian of the divine Family,” “the beloved inheritance which Jesus
Christ purchased by his blood.” Since that time-as I recalled at the
beginning of this Exhortation — the Church has implored the protection of
St.
Joseph on the basis of “that sacred bond of charity which united him to
the
Immaculate Virgin Mother of God,” and the Church has commended to Joseph
all of her cares, including those dangers which threaten the human
family. Even today we have many reasons
to pray in a similar way:

“Most beloved
father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin…graciously assist us from
heaven
in our struggle with the powers of darkness…and just as once you saved
the
Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God’s holy Church from the
snares
of her enemies and from all adversity.”

Today we still have good
reason
to commend everyone to St. Joseph. §31

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