What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions


1 Comment

Devotion to St. Joseph and his Most Chaste Heart

three hearts

 

So as a Carmelite, I’m devoted not only to Jesus and Mary, but also to St. Joseph. This began somewhat gradually. First, after reading St. Teresa of Avila’s encouragement in her works to devotion to the most holy and chaste spouse of the Blessed Mother (she was a client of his, and his intercession was instrumental in securing a home for the order she founded), I bought a little book of prayers to St. Joseph at the church’s gift shop (now sadly closed). But I barely cracked it open. Then, when spring came here in our new home, the soil heaved up a small statue of St. Joseph, one of those used in securing his intercession when you need to sell your house. (It worked!) I cleaned it up and placed it on my iconostasis in front of the icon of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary (it has Sts. Joachim and Anne — whose name I’ve carried since baptism — embracing). Seems fitting he should stand with his inlaws, though he didn’t get to meet them until he joined the souls of the just in limbo, where they awaited the opening of the gates of heaven by his foster son.

And then I read that some visions of St. Joseph have been approved as worthy of belief, and that devotion to his Most Chaste Heart is being encouraged (we certainly could use an elevation of chastity as a virtue to counteract sexuality’s idolization and commodification, egads, people). So I began praying to him every morning. He is truly a powerful intercessor, I have found, and I want to encourage others to pray to him, as well. Here’s a prayer that’s almost as old as Christianity (the earliest copy comes from the year 50.) Say it nine mornings in a row for a particular intention.

Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

And if your prayer is answered (and it most likely will be, if it’s conformed at all to God’s will), remember to thank him for his intercession! Not only is that gracious, but it will make him more likely to help you in the future. Here’s a lovely way to say thank you:

 

PRAISES OF ST. JOSEPH

IN the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be thy soul, which was adorned with all the virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be thine intellect, which was full of the most sublime knowledge of God and was enlightened with revelations.

Glory be …

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be thy will, which all inflamed with love for Jesus and Mary and always perfectly conformable to the Divine Will.

Glory be …

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be thine eyes, to which it was granted to look continually upon Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be thine ears, which merited to hear the sweet words of Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O dear St. Joseph, ever blessed be thy tongue, which continually praised God and with profound humility and reverence conversed with Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O chaste St. Joseph, ever blessed be thy most pure and loving heart, with which thou didst ardently love Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O holy Joseph, ever blessed be thy thoughts, words and actions, each and all of which ever tended to the service of Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O holy Patriarch Joseph, ever blessed be all the moments of thy life, which thou didst spend in the service of Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O my Protector St. Joseph, ever blessed be that moment of thy life in which thou didst most sweetly die in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O glorious St. Joseph, ever blessed be that moment in which thou didst enter into the eternal joys of Heaven.

Glory be …

O happy St. Joseph, ever blessed in eternity be every moment in which, until now, in union with all the Saints of Heaven, thou hast enjoyed the incomprehensible bliss of union with God, with Jesus and Mary.

Glory be …

O my dear Protector! Be ever blessed by  me and by all creatures, for all eternity, with all the blessings which the Most Holy Trinity bestowed upon thee and with all the benedictions given thee by Jesus and Mary and by the whole Church.

Glory be …

O thrice holy Joseph, blessed in soul and body, in life and death, on earth and in Heaven. Obtain also for me, a poor sinner but nevertheless thy true and faithful client, a share in thy blessings, the grace to imitate thee ardently, and to love and faithfully serve Jesus, Mary, and thyself, and especially the happiness to die in thy holy arms. Amen.

 

St. Joseph was made patron of the Church by the Vicar of Christ, so he’s also a good one to pray to to help the whole Catholic world. There’a a wonderful prayer for priests in that little book, and one for the Holy Father and the Church, and for the church militant. Our church hierarchy and our dear priests can’t lead without prayers from the pews, and from all the saints and angels. I encourage you to pray to St. Joseph, for the good of the Church and all the world. That picture up at the top…those flames on all three hearts is the fire of charity, and as this old prayer card shows, it’s catching. Let our hearts be tender tinder for it. Charity: love of God in our neighbor, or love of our neighbor for His sake. Let it burn.


Leave a comment

Re-Entry

In a few days the Perseids will peak. A bit of comet detritus the size of a grain of sand will light up a streak across the sky bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, if viewed from a dark place, and there will be lots and lots of them. I grew up in Florida, and my family went down to the Kennedy center to check out the space shuttles as a little girl. I was fascinated by the special tiles the  bottoms were covered with to protect them from the heat created by the friction of the atmosphere on re-entry. A loose tile meant that the whole thing could explode. Imagine, going so fast that air could set you on fire.

I haven’t posted at this blog in ages. I’ve been in transition. We moved house (which for a gardener is somewhat traumatic, y’all). Our son’s gone off to college (he’s home for the summer now,  but will go back in a few weeks). And we reconciled with the Catholic Church. Like, jumped in with both feet. It’s been quite a journey, and it’s ongoing. As far as I can tell, it’s a journey that doesn’t end, at least not anywhere we can recognize. I’m mining Her treasures. The richest I’ve found is a work from 17th century Spain, by a Carmelite nun named V. Mary of Agreda, The Mystical City of God. It’s kind of like Remembrance of Things Past, except instead of being about the author’s life, it’s about the life of the Holy Mother, from foreknowledge of her in the Mind of God at the creation of the angels, through her Immaculate Conception, until her Coronation in Heaven. It purports to be divinely inspired, and it was raked with a fine-toothed comb by the Spanish Inquisition and found worthy of belief. I’m currently working on a series of prose poems about the 20 mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary, informed by this incredible work. I’m on my second reading.

So, here I am, still here, listening, praying, trying to figure out how best to serve God, and His Holy Mother. The world is a mess, y’all, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for works of mercy, that’s for sure. I hope you’re all making headway on your own journeys, with enough sun through the clouds to reassure you that the light leads you on.