Hail, Holy Joseph, Hail!

March 19, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate our beloved Saint Joseph.

saint-joseph-with-the-christ-child-ca-1650-oil-on-canvas-sebastian-martinez
St. Joseph and the Christ Child by Sebastian Martinez

Our first reading describes the line of descent from David down through the ages to Joseph of the House of David.

God promises David:

I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.

Joseph is the realization of that House.  He was the one who ultimately gave shelter, both literally and physically, to the Promised One.

In these days when we have to “shelter in place”, Joseph, provider of safe and sacred shelter, opens his arms to our fearful and pleading prayers. Often in my life when I had a particularly difficult need, I have prayed the Litany of St. Joseph. Just a few of its beautiful phrases may bring you confidence and peace.

Praying with today’s Gospel, and as these long days of self-isolation and quarantine draw on, let’s imagine ourselves being invited by Joseph, Mary and Jesus to go down with them  to our own “Nazareth” — to find the voice of God in the sacred protection of our homes.

Jesus went down with Mary and Joseph
and came to Nazareth,

and he obediently listened to them.

Music:  I absolutely love this video of these dear Sisters of St. Joseph in Rochester singing “Hail Holy Joseph, Hail”. Looking at these Sisters, we can just imagine the long legacy of their generous ministries under the guidance of Joseph, their beloved patron. May God bless all our Sisters of St. Joseph on their Feastday!(Lyrics below as well as the Litany of St. Joseph in a second post)

Hail, holy Joseph, Hail
by Father Frederick Faber

Hail, holy Joseph, hail!
⁠Chaste spouse of Mary, hall!
Pure as the lily flower
⁠In Eden’s peaceful vale.

Hail, holy Joseph, hail!
⁠Prince of the house of God!
May His best graces be
⁠By thy sweet hands bestow’d.

Hail, holy Joseph, hail!
⁠Belov’d of angels, hail!
Cheer thou the hearts that faint,
⁠And guide the steps that fail.

Hail, holy Joseph, hail!
⁠God’s choice wert thou alone;
To thee the Word made flesh
⁠Was subject as a Son.
O Christ’s dear Mother, bless;
⁠And bless, ye Saints on high,
All meek and simple souls
⁠That to Saint Joseph cry.