ON ST. JOSEPH
Consider first, the testimony that the Holy Ghost has given to the virtue and sanctity of St. Joseph, in telling us in the gospel that he was a just man. And doubtless the Almighty would never have made choice of any man to be the chaste bridegroom of the purest of virgins, and the foster-father and guardian of his own divine Son, that was not consummate in purity and sanctity. Learn from hence, Christian Souls, what kind of qualifications will make you also agreeable to Jesus and Mary. You will certainly drive them far away from you by criminal impurity. Admire the command St. Joseph had of his passions, in his joining perfect continency with the state of marriage; and in the evenness of soul, which he preserved under all events, how adverse soever; and learn of him to keep thy passions under subjection, and cheerfully to submit thy will on all occasions, to the appointments of heaven.
Consider 2ndly, the great examples St. Joseph has given us of all other virtues; his lively faith in a ready submission of his soul to the belief of the most difficult mysteries, relating to the incarnation of the Son of God; his ardent love of his dearest Jesus; his concern and tender care for him in his infancy and childhood; and his wonderful diligence in all that belonged to his charge; his meekness and charity to the blessed Virgin, when to his unspeakable surprise, he found her with child; his ready obedience, without demur or reply, to every intimation of the will of heaven, whatsoever hardships or labours it might put him to, as in the case of his flight into Egypt; his patience under afflictions and persecutions; his humble submission, notwithstanding his royal extraction, to the toil and labour of a handicraft, to gain a poor livelihood for himself and for Jesus and Mary, by the sweat of his brow; together with amiable simplicity in his whole comportment, and perpetual attention to God, by divine contemplation. Christians, let us imitate his virtues, whatsoever our station of life may be; we see by his example, that perfect sanctity may be found even in the midst of the distractions of a worldly calling, and that if we are not Saints, it is not the fault of our calling, but of our not corresponding with divine grace. St. Joseph found a great advantage to his soul from his having Jesus always in his company, and working with him. O let us also take care to have Jesus always with us, (wherever we are, or whatever we are doing,) by a spirit of recollection, and a constant attention to him, and never to drive him away by any sinful conversation, by entertaining his enemies in our interior, and we shall quickly be sensible of the fruits his presence will bring to our souls.
Consider 3rdly, and learn from the example of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, how great an error the world lies under, when it flies with so much eagerness from poverty and labour, as conceiving them to be great evils, which the wisdom of God made choice of for himself, for his blessed Mother, and his reputed father, and which they have consecrated by their life and practice. And for thy part, my soul, have another way of thinking; and if thy condition be that of the rich, be not puffed up with it, but rather humble thyself to see thou art so unlike to that blessed family, and fear the many dangers that riches are exposed to; despise not the poor, but ever honour and succour them, as the relations of Christ, or as Christ himself: thou hast his authority for doing so. If thou art poor, remember thou wearest the livery of Christ, and of his family; comfort thyself in the resemblance thou bearest to them; and take care lest, by thy murmuring or impatience, thou lose any of the advantages which thy state entitles thee to. If thou followest any trade or handicraft take St. Joseph for thy patron and for thy pattern. Thou seest, by his example, that sanctity is not inconsistent with thy business. But then take heed, lest by any fraud or injustice, or by any excessive solicitude for the things of this world, to the neglect of thy soul, thou banish Jesus from thy shop or house. Be sure to make him the companion of all thy labours, offer up all thou dost to him, and often entertain thyself with him. If God has blessed thee with children, take care, by an early diligence, to form Christ in them, by constantly instilling into their minds the fear and love of God, and the horror of sin; thus thou mayest, like St. Joseph, bring up Jesus in these little ones.
Conclude to honour St. Joseph, by an imitation of his virtues, and in order to this, implore the assistance of his prayers. His interest is great with our Lord, as St. Teresa declares she frequently experienced. Beg in particular his intercession for the obtaining of a happy death – St. Joseph was happy in death, by having our Lord and the blessed Virgin to attend and assist him. Let us, like him, keep ever close to them in life, and they will be with us in death.