Theology of the Heart: Teachings of the Saints

Go to Joseph
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

This reading on St. Joseph was taken from The Magnificat for Thursday, March 19, Solemnity of St. Joseph.

Saint Bernardine of Siena used to say; "There is no doubt about it; in heaven, Jesus Christ not only continues to show Saint Joseph every sign of the familiarity and respect with which he showed him during his life on earth, as Son to father, but adds to them with fresh honors." Notice these two words: familiarity and respect. The Lord, who on earth honored Saint Joseph as a father, will certainly not refuse him anything he asks in heaven.

At this point we ought to add that Saint Joseph had on earth no authority over the humanity of Jesus Christ as a natural father would have, though he did, in a certain sense, have authority over him as husband of Mary who had authority over him as his natural Mother. Whoever has the right to a tree, also has the right to the fruit it bears. Consequently, on earth Jesus Christ used to respect Joseph and obey him as his superior, and it follows that Saint Joseph's prayers in heaven are treated as orders by Jesus Christ. This is Gerson's thought: "When a father prays to his son," he says, "his prayers truly are commands."

Now let us listen to what Saint Bernard has to say about Saint Joseph's intercessory power on behalf of his supplicants: "There are some saints who have the power of protecting in certain specific circumstances; but Saint Joseph has been granted the power to help us in every kind of need, and to defend all who have recourse to him with pious dispositions."

That was how Saint Bernard put it; Saint Teresa confirms his opinion from her own experience and tells us: "It would seem that God has only granted the other saints power to help us in one kind of necessity; but experience shows that Saint Joseph can help in every kind of need."

There is no doubt about it: just as Jesus Christ wanted to be subject to Joseph on earth, so he does everything the saint asks of him in heaven. When Egypt was laid waste by the great famine, Pharaoh told his people, Ite ad Joseph! - Go to Joseph! So if we are in trouble, let us listen to the word of the Lord and take Pharaoh's advice; let us go to Joseph if we wish to be consoled...Above all, I most strongly urge you to ask him for three special graces: forgiveness of sins, love of Jesus Christ, and a happy death.

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