Greetings my brothers and sisters,
On December 8, 2021, the Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis will come to a close. During this year, in these monthly reflections we have had the opportunity to learn more about our Patron and Protector, husband to Mary and father to Jesus. The Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, issued by the Pope for the occasion of this year was the basis for these reflections, and hopefully we have all gained a greater appreciation for the role and importance of the Guardian of the Redeemer in the mystery of salvation and in the life of the Church. Let’s remember, this importance does not end with this special year of reflection and celebration. In fact, the intent of this year was to increase awareness and appreciation of St. Joseph in the life of faith. As I recalled in my October reflection, the Pope stated:
The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.
It is fair now to ask ourselves if this aim has been achieved. Has our love for St. Joseph grown? Are we seeking his intercession more? Are we moved to imitate his virtuous life? Are we more zealous in living out our faith as he did? Have we sought to follow his example particularly in discerning our vocation and following that call with great faith and humility as he did? If so, then this year was a success and that is certainly worth celebrating. And yet, let us not rest on our laurels. Let us move forward and seek to grow even more in love and understanding of father, so beloved by Jesus, to this faithful husband, so loved by Mary.
One of the consequences of this special year, was the decision of Pope Francis to add some new titles to the Litany of St. Joseph. These new titles are the result of recent developments in the theology of St. Joseph and reflect a greater appreciation for his role in salvation and as Patron of the Universal Church. These new titles are: Guardian of the Redeemer, Servant of Christ, Minister of Salvation, Support in Difficulties, Patron of Exiles, Patron of the Afflicted, Patron of the Poor. Each of these titles expresses something of the importance of St. Joseph and so I would like to spend time over the next few reflections looking over them and discovering what each of them can tell us of our Patron and how he responded to the call of God. We will start next month…a great way to start the new year!
I hope you all have a blessed Advent Season and a holy and wondrous Christmas Season.
Fr. Brian, OSJ