Monday, May 28, 2012

(84) Meditations For the Rosary IV: The Glorious Mysteries

  AMDG


A painting by Raphael (1483-1520)

The 20 mysteries of the rosary and their corresponding meditations cover the highlights of the life of Christ and His mother, Mary. Four times through this liturgical year, we have published meditations on a set of five mysteries 1)Joyful, 2)Luminous, 3)Sorrowful, and 4)Glorious that coincide with the Gospels of the liturgical year.  Since the rosary is very biblical, bible references follow each meditation.  As to the repetitive background prayer, the Our Father’s is the prayer the Lord Himself gave to us and the Hail Mary prayer comes from Luke 1:28, 42. At the end of each decade, we give glory and praise to the Holy Trinity……the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We don’t adore Mary, but rather we honor her as a model and ask her to pray for us.
        
        Conceptually, the rosary is a litany of repetitive prayers, which act like background music, while the focus is to meditate upon five of 20 different mysteries of the life of Christ and His mother, grouped according to the joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious events portrayed or alluded to in the Bible. See www.americaneedsfatima.org. The rosary is said with the aid of beads and a connected crucifix, marking the beginning with the Apostles Creed. This is followed by an Our Father for the intentions of the Holy Father, three Hail Mary prayers for the increase of Faith, Hope and Charity plus a Glory Be. Then each decade or mystery includes one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be (Praise), really a profession of faith.  Please permit me to share insights I obtained from many sources and use while meditating on the holy rosary. You might like to incorporate some of these meditations among yours or add to them.   

        For those who say the rosary every day: The Joyful Mysteries are usually said on Monday & Saturday; the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday; the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday; and the Glorious on Wednesday and Sunday. The Sunday rosary may use instead the mysteries that correspond to the season of the liturgical year.......Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. The Sorrowful Mysteries are usually said during the entire Holy Week and the Glorious Mysteries are usually said for the entire Easter Week. Of course one may meditate on any set of mysteries. There's no rigid rule.

         “The family that prays together, stays together.” This was the theme promoted by Fr. Patrick Peyton on his Family Theater program on radio and television during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  He recruited the top movie stars of the day (Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Loretta Young, etc. and even a young actor by the name of Ronald Reagan) as volunteers to sing or act in inspiring dramatizations on his Family Theater program on radio and television.  Available on DVD is a movie on the Life of Christ which he produced.  Fr. Peyton, the Rosary Priest, promoted the rosary all over the world in talks and rallies.  His cause for canonization is advancing.  Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXFlEJIpkqQ for one of Fr. Peyton's messages and links to other clips of his productions.  Learn more about this future saint by clicking on http://www.fatherpeyton.org/ and http://www.hcfm.org/FatherPeyton.aspx.  The latter has a link to the online store of the Holy Cross Family Ministries for a wealth of DVDs, books, and other resources regarding his work and the work of his order.
  
In gratitude for his lifetime work Pope John Paul II
embraces Fr. Patrick Peyton, the Rosary Priest



        Prayer has healed millions, ended wars, overthrown dictators, decisively stopped the advance of militant Islam into Europe at least three times at Belgrade in 1456, Le Panto in 1571, and again in breaking the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, each a chapter in a one thousand year old war between Western Civilization and Radical Islam that includes today's War on Terror.  Otherwise, Europe would be a lot different today.
IV. THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY

            During the Glorious Mysteries, imagine that you have gone through a time capsule and you are there at the tomb during the Resurrection of Christ on the first Easter Sunday, you are with the apostles during His appearances to them; saying good-by to Jesus as He ascends into Heaven; and being filled with the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, on fire helping with the many conversions on that day.  Then we are with the apostles saying good-by to Mary during her dormition, her beautiful death or falling asleep as she is taken or assumed into heaven (body and soul) to be physically reunited with her son before being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.  The facts of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary are based on the Bible and tradition handed down by the apostles as seen in the writings of the early Church fathers.
  
        Below are meditations for each decade or mystery. One may use the entire meditation or read and reflect only upon the Bible passages as he or she can imagine being there as an observer. In bold is a recommended shorter version when time is limited. Anything in italics is a quote taken directly from the Bible.
The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection

  

       Over the weekend of Good Friday, there was despair among the disciples who put their hopes and trust in their Master, but to their surprise.......HE IS RISEN as He truly said he would. Alleluia! That gave credibility, validation, and vindication to Christ's to His teachings and His saying that He is the Son of God. Without the Resurrection, Christ would go down in history as just another good man or just another prophet who was killed for what He believed.  

            By His resurrection, Christ conquered death, evil, and sin.  God made good come out of evil.  Since Our Lord rose again victorious, we also have the hope of rising again victorious and achieving everlasting happiness with Him in heaven.  No matter how difficult are the crosses we must bear on earth, we can accept and unite them with His cross, TRUSTING that our crosses will make us saints and OUR VICTORIOUS RESURRECTION WILL COME.  All that remained in the tomb was the shroud wrapping the body of Christ.  At the instant that Christ's soul gloriously reentered His body, there was a burst of radiation that scorched the shroud just enough to leave on it an image of the crucified Savior that He left for us to strengthen our weak faith.

       Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Psalm 16:5-11; Jeremiah 20:10-11; Matthew 16:21-22; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 27:57-28:15; Mark 15:42-16:13; Luke 23:50-24:48; John 2:19-22; 19:38-21:25; Acts 1:1-3, 21-22; 2:30-32; 4:33; 10:39-43; Romans 1:1-3; 6:3-14; 1Corinthians 15:3-8, 12-22; 1Peter1:18-21. 

The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

                                                        

       The eleven apostles went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:16-20). Christ meant that not only for His apostles, but also for us to take advantage of small opportunities to evangelize in little or big ways by prayer and example, word and deed in our daily lives.......be it in the home, in parish functions or apostolates, in the community, in conversation, and even on the job.  

            Now our Savior “is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”  The apostles were sad to see their Master depart and now had to wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit (confirmed) to begin their great mission of evangelization.  Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:47-53; and Acts 1:6-12.

The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

                                                     
       Present were Mary and the apostles....... “when the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:1-4).  

       May the Holy Spirit renew in us His gifts of the sacrament of Confirmation. As soldiers of Christ, may we be always faithful to the Lord. As were the first apostles, may we also be fearlessly on fire for the faith......to defend it, to spread it, and to share it with others.  Dear Holy Spirit, always tell us what to do, what to say, and what to write. Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Psalm 2:1-7; 104:30; 118:1-9,19-29; Ezekiel 37:14; Joel 3:1-5; Mark 16:14-20; John 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 14:15-28; 15:26-27; 20:19-23; Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-41; 3:12-26; 4:5-14; 23-31; Romans 8:22-27; 1 Corinthians 12:3-13; Galatians 5:13-26; 1Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12.

The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of Mary into Heaven

                                                    
       Christ followed the 4th Commandment in honoring His mother by taking her body and soul directly into His arms in Heaven. He would not allow her body, the new Ark of the Covenant, a living tabernacle for nine months, to deteriorate in the earth. All of Heaven received her with immense joy. Mary, pray for us so that we may have a happy death as you had. Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Judith 13:18; Luke 1:39-56; 11:27-28; 1Corinthians 15:20-27, 54-58; 1Thessalonians 4:14-17; Revelation 11:19; 12:1.


The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

                                                    

       All Heaven rejoiced in jubilation as Mary was gloriously crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth. In the tradition of the Old Testament, the Queen Mother of Christ the King of the universe took her place of special honor and influence in the heavenly court.  From there our mother continues to intercede for us. Other options include reading and reflecting during the recitation of this decade on Judith 15:9-10; Revelation 12:1-6.

           For meditations on the Joyful, Luminous, and Sorrowful Mysteries, go to Blogs #50, 73, and 78.





Monday, May 21, 2012

(83) The Role of Mary in the Church


  AMDG
               

The beautiful month of May is special in giving a temperate preview of summer as the Spring flowers are in bloom.  Since the Church dedicates this month to Mary, let us examine her role in the Church.  

            One of the biggest problems for prospective converts besides the Eucharist is Mary.  But she should not be.  We don't worship her.  We honor her as we honor any other hero of our country.  Yes, we do as her to pray for us the same as I would ask you to pray for me and for the success of our Newman Club even though we all believe that there is only one mediator between God and man.  Millions over the centuries flock to the many great and often magnificent churches or shrines full of art such as Notre Dame in Paris and Chartres France to Mary to honor her, ask for her help through her prayers to God, and for her motherly nurturing.  The United States has in its capital, Washington D.C. the magnificent Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, its patroness.  The basilica took years to build.  

             Any devotion to her is optional.  However it is considered as Church doctrine and required belief that she was immaculately conceived without the stain of  original sin and that she was bodily assumed into Heaven as we will be at the Last Judgment.  Since her womb was the first tabernacle and the new Arc of the Covenant that carried God Himself, it is only logical that God would create her without original sin and would not let her body deteriorate in the earth.  This is based upon Church tradition handed down by the apostles, but not recorded in the Bible.  The writings of the early Church Fathers of the first three centuries do mention her.  They refer to Mary as the new Eve who said yes to God at the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel (See http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/2009/11/early-church-fathers-on-mary-as-new-eve.html  and http://www.staycatholic.com/ecf_immaculate_conception.htm). 

            Mary's role in the Church is to nurture the Faith, to bring us closer to her Son, and to follow Him and His teachings.  We see some of this at Cana in the Gospel of John 2:5  “Do whatever He tells you”.  After all the role of a mother is to nurture and she is our mother whom Christ gave to us form the cross before He died.  After giving Himself in the Eucharist on Holy Thursday and redeeming us on Good Friday, He gave us His mother with the words Woman, behold your son” and to St. John by his own testimony, “Behold your mother” John:26-27).

            The Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart are in such intimate union, that she would only do the will of her son.  She has no power in herself.  Any power that she might have, is given to her by God to carry out His will.  She is completely dependent upon Him.  Mary is like the moon and in reflecting the light of the Son.  Examples of her nurturing are through her apparitions and resulting shrines.  There are hundred s of claimed apparitions, but relatively few are approved by the Church as worthy of belief (See http://www.catholicdoors.com/isit/approved.htm).  However, Catholics are not required to believe any of them.
 
            Lourdes.  The Catholicsm Series only mentions the shrines of Guadalupe, Fatima, and Lourdes, where thousands of healings have occurred.  However, only about 75 have passed the strict scrutiny of the Church (a panel of doctors) as being beyond human explanation.  Among the thousands of sick who go there for healing, few are actually healed physically, but almost all of them undergo a certain healing of soul.  They become closer to God and are better able to cope with their great crosses.  Any miracle used to support the beatification or canonization of a saint as a sign of God must pass the same scrutiny.......people of extraordinary holiness and heroic virtue.

            At the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City over the main altar of the Basilica is the miraculous image which appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego when he presented the roses that Mary sent to the Bishop as the requested sign.  It is full of symbols only the Aztecs understood as a message that they should follow the religion of the Spaniards.  In a few years 8 million Indians converted to the faith.  Thus Mary is the greatest missionary of them all.  The sash Mary is wearing indicates that she is pregnant.  Thus Mary has been designated as the "Patroness of the Unborn".  The fact that the Aztecs then stopped making human sacrifices of adults, children, and babies to their pagan gods connects her intimately to the Pro-life Movement.  See my blogs #104, 105, and 106 for more detail. 
 
            Is the Hail Mary prayer biblical?   Absolutely.  “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Luke 1:28 in the Annunciation).  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1:42 in the Visitation).  Were the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth worshiping Mary?  Obviously not.  The second part of the prayer continues:  “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death amen”.  Clearly, the prayer is first honoring and then a request for prayer, not worshiping her at all.  She was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit the same as the God in the cloud overshadowed the Arc of the Covenant of the Israelites in the sojourn in the desert.   In Christ, the human and the divine come together.  Thus Mary is indeed the Mother of God, i.e., the human nature of Christ.
   
           There are only two religions in history that have placed a woman in such high esteem......the Catholic Faith and the Orthodox which broke away in 1054.

         Fatima.  Interesting is that the Qur’an devotes the entire chapter 5 to Mary as the most perfect woman that God ever created (See http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/QuranAndMary.htm).  Also interesting is the Muslim source, http://www.mostmerciful.com/jschinqr.htm  Fascinating is the fact that when the Moors conquered and occupied most of Spain and Portugal, the Muslims named a small Portuguese town, Fatima, after Mohammed’s favorite daughter, Fatimah.  It was no accident that Mary chose that little village as the place of one of her most famous apparitions to three shepherd children in 1917.  There she said that World War I would soon end, but if the world did not repent, there would be a  worse world war, Russia would continue to spread its errors, and that there would be even a third world war.  That was before the Russian Revolution.  Shortly before the start of World War II there would be “a night illumined by an unknown light”.  My blog #95 has a clipping from the London Times of January 27, 1938 that documents it and that same blog has other photos and explanations in regard to the apparition.

            The Rosary.  Mary asks us to pray the rosary to bring us closer to God.  The repetitive prayer serves as background music while the focus is on meditating on either the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries in the life of Christ and Mary, almost all of which is Biblical.
 
            Thus we can see the truth in the old Catholic saying:  “To Jesus through Mary”.














 


                                                                                                    

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

(82) National Day of Prayer: Prayer for the Military and Veterans Still Hurting


       The National Day of Prayer has been an annual observance since 1952 when Congress officially established it.  Every year the President of the United States and most state governors issue proclamations on or prior to the first Thursday of May.  People all over the United States are asked to assemble at noon on the first Thursday of May at their county court houses to pray for our Country.  If that is not possible or inconvenient, then people are asked to at least pause for a minute or two at noon to pray.  God knows how much our Country needs prayer.

        It has been observed at the University of Rio Grande in southeastern Ohio since 1998.  Faculty, staff, students, and guests meet at the gazebo between the Bookstore and the cafeteria to pray for our country.  

 PRAYER FOR THE MILITARY AND VETERANS STILL HURTING
Given in Observance of the National Day of Prayer at the University of Rio Grande 26 April 2012, 23 April 2015, 25 April 2016.
Published in the Gallipolis Daily Tribune on Tuesday, November 11, 2012 for Veteran's Day.

O Lord, we beseech thee first and foremost to grant us Peace in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the world. Because war is hell, all good soldiers must yearn for Peace, the ultimate goal in which lie their own personal aspirations and the aspirations of the entire Country.

Purify the motives of every soldier to be aware that the ultimate mission of the military in defending our Country is to achieve peace through victory while preserving human dignity to the greatest extent possible....... combatants and non-combatants, friend and foe.......all as children of God.

Protect our troops who are in harm's way.........from enemy and even friendly fire, IEV's, ambushes, and accident.

Guide our NCOs and commissioned officers to lead effectively and to accomplish the mission with prudence and wisdom while caring for their men and women without risking their lives unnecessarily. Remind them to seek your counsel in the life and death decisions they must make.

Remind our men to look out for each other as they all strive to survive in the heat of battle.

Maintain the morale of the troops. Preserve the patriotic and spiritual ideals of our young men and women, their sense of moral right and wrong so that they do not become cynical as they live through the horrors of war while fighting for our Country.

Help our soldiers to treat prisoners of war with dignity as human beings and even with a certain compassion despite the fact that the enemy may have committed monstrous atrocities upon their buddies. Don't let us ever lower ourselves to seek revenge with atrocities of our own.

Inspire our troops to also work for the common good of all........to be effective ambassadors of good will, and win the hearts and minds of the people while accomplishing the mission.

Make our officers ever aware of the consequences of their decisions upon people in regard to the safety of their troops and collateral damage to the populace.......to be prudent in not using more force and causing more destruction and casualties than is necessary to accomplish the mission.

Give our troops the grace to maintain high moral principles on and off base, while on a mission or during a break in the action. Bring them ever closer to you so that they will leave the service as true men and women of God.

Help the families that the soldiers have left behind to cope by themselves with the difficulties of daily living and problems that come up.

Lord, please assist the thousands of veterans in our midst, who are still suffering for us and for our Country with permanent physical injury, loss of a limb, PTSD, flashbacks, and mental anguish.

And Lord, help us to appreciate the sacrifices that the troops are making now and the veterans did in the past and are continuing to make. Help them to adjust to civilian life and to provide for themselves and their families with dignity. Make us sensitive to their needs and don't let our Society tolerate the presence of homeless veterans who cannot function because of the sacrifices they made for us while soldiers.

We ask all of this in your name Oh Lord. We praise you and thank you for loving us so much. Amen.



Supplemental Bible Verses

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New International Version)

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

1 Timothy 2: 1-4

1First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, 2for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.  3This is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Verse I Chose for the Prayer I Gave at Rio

2016 - 2 Cor 10:4  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds."

2015 - Psalm 91:2-7  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.


Theme and Verse of the Year

2016 - Wake up, America!  Isaiah 58:1a  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a               trumpet.
2015 - I Kings 8:28  Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this                 day.”
2014  - Romans 15:6 "One Voice, United in Prayer".
2013 - Matthew 12:21 - In His name the nations will put their hope.
2012 - A mighty fortress is our God!  Psalm 33:12 - “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,       the people he chose for his inheritance.”
2011 - Psalm 91:2 “I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
2010 - Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.” 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

(81) May Day and St. Joseph the Worker: Model of a True Man of God

MAY DAY

Images of the Hay Market Massacre, Chicago May 1886

          May 1 has been celebrated throughout the Communist world as May Day to commemorate the Hay Market Massacre in Chicago.  From April 25 to May 4, 1886 Chicago unionists, reformers, socialists, anarchists, and ordinary workers demonstrated for the eight hour day with the same pay as the normal ten at least 19 times with a dozen or so clashes with the police, three with shootings and two were killed.  At this time the union movement was in its infancy and met with vehement resistance by companies.  About 35,000 workers walked off their jobs with agitation for a general strike at all work places.  Police fired on strikers at the McCormick Reaper Plant; violence ensued; and police fired on the strikers, killing two.  

      Leaders called for a protest meeting at the Hay Market on the evening of May 4 with one inflammatory leaflet agitating for revenge.  Although the mayor who attended instructed the 177 police not to disturb the meeting, the officer in charge ordered the crowd to disperse.  Someone threw a bomb and the police fired indiscriminately into the crowd, much like the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970 when inexperienced National Guardsmen killed four students died and injured several others (http://dept.kent.edu/sociology/lewis/lewihen.htm).  Sixty police were injured and eight died.  Many in the crowd were killed or wounded.  The city of Chicago then suppressed picketing, meetings, and the radical press.  Seven of the striking leaders were sentenced to death based on a conspiracy theory with little or no evidence.  It never was determined who threw the bomb (http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/571.html , http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/haymarket/haymarket.html).

          In memory of the Hay Market Massacre Socialists and unionists around the world adopted May 1 or May Day as an international workers' holiday.  In the 20th Century the Soviet Union and the Communist World officially adopted it.  Thus it never caught on in the United States except for a period before World War I.  May Day is still celebrated in many nations of the world, especially in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the communist countries (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba).  The communist countries have traditionally celebrated with big parades celebrating the Socialist Revolution with supposedly promises a workers paradise with equality and a equitable distributions of goods plus showing off their technological progress and modern armaments.  


          In reaction to the atheistic communist celebration of May Day in honor of their workers and the revolution against capitalism, Pope Pius XII adopted the same day, May 1 in 1955 as the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.  The painting below shows that Christ came from a working class family with St. Joseph the Carpenter as its head.  

           ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER: MODEL OF A TRUE MAN OF GOD

  
      Why is St. Joseph a model of a true man of God? The Bible says little about St. Joseph and does not quote him at all. Yet the biblical accounts of St. Joseph demonstrate or imply several of his virtues; tradition shows others.....stories written and unwritten that have been handed down through the generations.

         Ever Chaste. According to tradition, Mary's parents, Joaquin and Ann asked God for a sign as to which man would be best for their daughter. Within a group of men St. Joseph's staff suddenly sprouted a white Lilly, a symbol of purity.  St. Joseph was ever chaste and able to control his passions and give up the privilege of having children of his own so that Mary could maintain her virginity as God willed.

        SensitivityWe see that in Matthew 1:18-21. When His mother Mary was betrothed (engaged) to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that the child has been conceived in her.. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save His people from their sins.”

        St. Joseph shows sensitivity in not exposing Mary to shame and protecting her from scandal or even stoning. Thus he tried to quietly separate from her. But Joseph obeys the angel without question and trusting in God, takes Mary into his home and provides for his wife and child. 

        Complying with the decree of Caesar Augustus for a census, Joseph took his pregnant wife on a trip of at least four days to travel the 80 miles from Nazareth to enroll in Bethlehem the city of David because he was a descendant of David. They had to patiently cope with the uncertainty that Mary would have to give birth on the side of the road as they continued to trust in God throughout their lives.  Thus they probably traveled slowly with frequent rest stops during a long, tiring, and bumpy ride.  According to tradition, Mary rode on a donkey and Joseph showed toughness in walking at their side. He did the same in the over 300 mile flight to Egypt and annual trips to the Temple in Jerusalem for the Passover. 
 
        Once in Bethlehem they could not find room in any of the inns and had to resort to the humiliation of staying in a stable. On top of that Mary gave birth to the Christ child. Joseph courageously coped with these difficulties, continued to trust, and made the best out of a bad situation which was transformed into the joy of the promised Messiah’s birth. 
 
        Obedient and Trust in God. To save the Christ child from Herod's slaughter of the holy innocents, Mathew 2:13-15 shows that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod. In verses 19-20: When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there.  And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, showing great prudence.

        Clearly, St. Joseph has the role of protector from the brutal Herod and on the long and arduous journey of a couple weeks to travel over 300 miles to an unknown land, Egypt. According to tradition, a Coptic church in Cairo Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as Abu Serga claims to be the site of the home of the Holy Family. Again, Joseph places his trust in the provident God and obeys. Again Joseph bends his will to the will of God, his plans to God's plans. On their return, St. Joseph is prudent in not returning via Judea for fear that Herod's son, Archelaus now king of Judea and even more violent than his father, would put the Holy Family in danger again. Thus Pope Leo XIII entrusted the Church to the protection of St. Joseph. Being a quiet man and dependent upon God demonstrated his humility.

        In the presentation in the Temple and going there every year for the Passover, St. Joseph is faithful to Jewish law. They presented and consecrated Mary's first born son to the Lord while sacrificing two young pigeons (Luke 2:22-24).

        When the 12 year old Christ child was lost in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52), Joseph and Mary had “great anxiety”. Surely thoughts of failure in their mission entered their minds, but Joseph must have had the faith that God was in control and would work it out.
 
          Physically Strong and RuggedSt. Joseph was a carpenter and according to custom trained his son in his trade.  They worked together during those hidden years which are not recorded in scripture.  We can only draw on tradition, private revelation to the mystic, Anne Catherine Emmerich as well as legend and speculation.  Holy pictures show a small carpenter shop for furniture making.  But some scholars say that St. Joseph and the young Jesus were construction carpenters that did heavy work.  Therefore both St. Joseph and his son were strong, rugged, and tough, epitomizing the dignity of work as creating with God.  St. Joseph was able to walk the 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem and over 300 miles to Egypt.  This contradicts some popular depictions of St. Joseph as effeminate.  Thus Christ was able to walk all over Palestine and drag the cross or carry the crossbeam which weighed 100-150 pounds.  Clearly, St. Joseph served Mary and Jesus by being the breadwinner and by providing for the Holy Family.

        Piety. St. Joseph, being a pious man, certainly led his family in prayer and taught his son how to pray and observe the mosaic law.  He probably took the Holy Family to the synagogue every Saturday.  In his Gospel St. Luke (2:41) explicitly states in his Gospel: “Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover”. Each time the angel communicated God's will that the Holy Family should flee to Egypt and again when to return, it was to Joseph, the head of the family. Clearly St. Joseph was the spiritual and material leader of the Holy Family. His quiet way indicated that he loved his family without being controlling.

             So we can see that St. Joseph was holy, a self-giving husband, a loving father, and a true man in every respect as God intended.  ST. JOSEPH, MODEL OF A TRUE MAN OF GOD, PRAY FOR US.