Wednesday, February 18, 2009

St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family

Painting of the Holy Family from an exhibit of art in the Cusco School style in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, August 2008

[The following is excerpted from the book "The Divine Favors Granted to St. Joseph," by Pere Binet, S.J., reprinted by TAN Books, pgs. 59-60, 86-87.]

"Let us, as father and spouse, this incomparable Saint [Joseph] has a right to be honoured by Jesus and Mary, since it is a precept, both natural and divine, that every son must honour his father, every wife her husband. Here Gerson expresses a sweet and loving thought; in the same way, he says, as Sara, according to the Holy Scriptures, called Abraham her lord, so also the Blessed Virgin, penetrated with respectful love for her spouse, gave him no other name than that of lord and master. And what is still more, Joseph was such in very deed, having absolute command and disposal of her, and of her Son. The very love which I bear to Our Lady, makes me long to have Joseph for my good master also, since he is hers; I desire to honour Joseph, because Mary honours him. Yes, I will praise and honour Joseph, because, according to a pious author, whoever praises and honours Joseph, praises and honours the Blessed Virgin also. For, as they are one in heart, in love, and in soul, the honours paid to the one are equally accepted by the other. Indeed, one feels inclined to believe the humility of Our Lady is so extreme, her love so disinterested and so pure, that it pleases her more to see her beloved spouse honoured, than to be honoured herself. I know, at least, that she once deigned to thank St. Teresa [of Avila] for the honour that her zeal had procured to St. Joseph throughout the world."

"But whilst Mary addresses her holy spouse by the name of lord, listen to the divine voice of the Infant Jesus calling him, "My father, My father.' And this not once, but a hundred times a day. It seems to me, that, were the Seraphim capable of jealousy, they would feel a holy envy of this blessed Patriarch; since it is their highest glory to be the servants of Jesus and of Mary, whose lord and father Joseph is...."

"Consider the matter in which he governed the Holy Family. Assuredly, there never was a man at the head of such an empire, since he had for his subjects the King of kings, and the Queen of heaven and earth. But how could he, who was so modest, command Jesus and Mary; he who esteemed himself unworthy to be under their feet, or to look them in the face? He commanded by requesting; he governed by beseeching, or rather, he himself did all, for I am convinced that he much preferred doing to commanding. But, on the other side, we may also suppose that Jesus and Mary, the Master and the Mistress of humility, use gentle violence to overcome the modesty of Joseph, and constrain him to submit to the order of God the Father, Who had established him as His representative upon earth. O empire, like to none other! All three are superiors, all three are inferiors, all three masters, all three subjects. No one wishes to command, each one perfectly fulfills what he has got to do, while the most entire subordination is observed, and the most admirable obedience is practised."


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