Appreciating St. Joseph

Appreciating St. Joseph

Fr. Paul Mark helps us appreciate the great St. Joseph, patron of contemplatives:

“The Church celebrates two special days in honor of St. Joseph each year: the Solemnity of St. Joseph the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary on March 19 and the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1.  Pope Blessed Pius IX had named Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in the mid-nineteenth century.  With the title Universal Patron of the Church you might think the Christian faithful has held Saint Joseph in great esteem from time immemorial.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Appreciation and devotion to Saint Joseph took a long time to develop in the faith community of the Church.  The primary reason was fear that any emphasis on Saint Joseph might call into question the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin.  Happily, over many centuries, gospel-based reflection (called lectio divina) among Christians came to recognize and honor the significant role Saint Joseph has in salvation history.

            The gospel reveals a just, pure, gentle, prudent, and unfailingly obedient man to the Divine Will.  Patron of workers, families, virgins, travelers, the sick and dying, Saint Joseph is especially celebrated among contemplative monks and nuns as our patron of prayer and the contemplative life because of his quiet, wordless, courageous, witness to the action of God’s salvific grace in his Son, Jesus Christ.”

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Prayer

Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.

Hospitality

Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ.  We never know if we have entertained angels.

Life in Common

Cistercian monastic life is communal:  We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.