Be Holy, Be Happy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Journeying with the Founder Day #137

St. Joseph 

I am going to tell you something that perhaps many of you already know. I was ordained a priest in 1939. According to the Roman Seminary where I was a seminarian, ordination took place on the feast of Our Lady of Trust, and the first Mass was celebrated the day after. Therefore I was going to be ordained on February 18th and then celebrate my first Mass on the 19th. We had prepared ourselves for ordination with our holy cards already printed, but when we went to Mary, she said to us, “Go to Joseph” (“Ite ad Joseph!”) for
on February 10th, the bishop of Rome Pope Pius IX died, and therefore we Roman seminarians were unable to be ordained. Exactly a month later, it was the Feast of St. Joseph. Thus on the cards that were already printed, we changed by hand the word “February” to “March,” and thus found ourselves before St. Joseph to ask him if he wanted us. And it seemed that he really wanted us. This episode has meant a lot to me because I did not have such a great devotion for St. Joseph before, but after being ordained on his feast day,
I was obliged to love him! From that moment on I have had a particular devotion toward him, and the thought “Go to St. Joseph” has remained constant in me and also in us. Thus this evening I repeat to you and to myself, “Go to St. Joseph.” Let us go to St. Joseph—but why? We turn to him to learn a teaching basic to the Pro Sanctity Movement: ordinary holiness. Of course, if we want to find absolute models of holiness, we must look to Jesus, the Holy One of God, and to Mary, the Immaculate. But in these two unique persons,
we do not have examples of ordinary holiness. Jesus is the Eternal Word of God; Mary is the Immaculate Conception. Joseph, though he is undoubtedly a spiritually gifted man, is on a different plane—his is an ordinary holiness.

It is easy to see this. God speaks to Joseph, but He does not speak to him openly as He did with Mary through the angel. He speaks to St. Joseph in a dream. This is important for us because when we speak of holiness, we are always speaking of ordinary holiness, that is, of love for God and full availability to His will—attitudes that we find in Joseph.

Therefore let us go to St. Joseph not only for protection but also to ask him to teach us this ordinary holiness,
which means intimacy with Jesus and with Mary (Homily, March 19, 1985).

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