St. Joseph: Guide in Difficult Times

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“Everyone can find in Saint Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, the man of the discreet and hidden daily presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of difficulty”. (Pope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – With a Father’s Heart – December 2020: Introduction)

            Pope Francis records, in his Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” (with Father’s Heart), that Saint Joseph was very loved by his predecessors, who dedicated important documents of the Church to Saint Joseph. Let’s see:

            “After Mary, the Mother of God, no Saint occupies as much space in the Pontifical Magisterium as Joseph, her husband. My predecessors deepened the message contained in the few data transmitted by the Gospels to further emphasize his central role in the history of salvation: Blessed Pius IX declared him “Patron of the Catholic Church”. ” (Sacred Congr. of Rites, Quemadmodum Deus (8 December 1870), 194). Venerable Pius XII introduced him as “Patron of the workers” (Address to the Christian Associations of Italian Workers (ACLI) on the occasion of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker (May 1, 1955), and Saint John Paul II, as “Guardian of the Redeemer” (Exhort. ap. Redemptoris custos (August 15, 1989), 5-34). People invoke him as the “patron of a happy death”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1014). ” (Pope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – With a Father’s Heart – December 2020: Introduction)

            Pope Francis clarifies in the Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” (with a Father’s Heart) that his desire to write a document about St. Joseph has always existed in his heart as a Pastor, and that this desire grew during the difficult time of facing the pandemic (The Pope refers to the pandemic caused by the “coronavirus”).

            The Pope testifies that he perceived in the people who dedicate themselves, silently and heroically, to caring for other people affected by the pandemic, the same love accomplished in service that he, the Pope, also perceived in Saint Joseph. The Pope witnesses he discovered in Saint Joseph , an “extraordinary figure, very close to the human condition of each one of us”. Let us listen to Pope Francis:

            “Thus, on the 150th anniversary of his declaration as Patron of the Catholic Church, made by Blessed Pius IX on December 8, 1870, I would like to leave «the mouth – as Jesus says – to speak of the abundance of the heart» (Mt 12, 34), to share with you some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to the human condition of each one of us. ” (Pope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – With a Father’s Heart – December 2020: Introduction)

            “Such a desire grew during these pandemic months in which we were able to experience, in the midst of the crisis that affects us, that  «our lives are woven and supported by ordinary people (usually forgotten), who do not appear in the headlines of newspapers and magazines, nor on the big catwalks of the last show, but today they are undoubtedly writing the decisive events in our history: doctors, nurses, supermarket workers, cleaning staff, curators, transporters, police forces, volunteers, priests, religious and many – but many – others who understood that no one is saved alone. (…) How many people, day by day, exercise patience and instill hope, having in mind not to sow panic, but co-responsibility! How many fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, teachers show our children, with small everyday gestures, how to face and go through a crisis, readapt habits, raise their eyes and encourage prayer! How many people pray, immolate themselves and intercede for the good of all». (Francisco, Meditation in time of pandemic (March 27, 2020): L’Osservatore Romano (29 / III / 2020), 10).” (Pope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – With a Father’s Heart – December 2020: Introduction)

            Pope Francis, in the Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde”, once again expressed, as he had done on previous occasions, how much he trusts in St. Joseph. He motivates us to “find” in Saint Joseph “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of difficulty”. Let us listen to the Pope:

            “Everyone can find in Saint Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, the man of the discreet and hidden daily presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of difficulty. Saint Joseph reminds us that all those who are, apparently, hidden or in the background, have an unparalleled role in the history of salvation. I address a word of acknowledgment and gratitude to all of them.” (Pope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” – With a Father’s Heart – December 2020: Introduction)

            During this blessed Year of Saint Joseph, we are called to “find”, or rediscover with renewed fervor, in Saint Joseph, our model of service and our Father, as motivated by so many saints in the Church, like Saint Joseph Marello:

            “Joseph was the first on earth to take care of Jesus’ interests. He took care of him since childhood, protected him as a young man, and fulfilled his father’s mission in the first thirty years of his earthly life.” (St. Joseph Marello, Bishop and Founder of the Congregation

of the Oblates of Saint Joseph)

            “We will then say to our Great Patriarch (St. Joseph): here we are all for you and you are all for us. You, show us the way, sustain us at every step and lead us where Divine Providence wants us to go: whether the path be long or short, easy or difficult, whether the goal be seen or not with human eyes, hurry or slow, with you we are sure to always walk well”. (Saint Joseph Marello)

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