Author: FrancisMary

9 Truths You May Not Know About Saint Joseph

9 Truths You May Not Know About Saint Joseph

Popularly known as “the most hidden of the saints,” Saint Joseph led a humble life in Nazareth as the foster father of Jesus. In as much as he lead a quiet life, the Church named Saint Joseph the patron saint of the Universal Church.

In a currently published book, The Truth About Saint Joseph: Encountering the Most Hidden of Saints, Father Maurice Meschler, S.J. explores the life of Saint Joseph.

Here are nine amazing information about the life of Saint Joseph from Father Meschler’s work.

1. The two branches of the family of David merge into one in Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph’s genealogy is amazingly relevant in the story of salvation history. A descendant from the line of David, and is listed closest in relationship to Christ in the Biblical genealogies. Psalm 88:30 says that the roots of the Messiah would come from the line of David.

“Matthew calls Joseph’s father ‘Jacob’ in Matthew 1:16; Luke, moreover, styles him ‘Heli’, a difference that can be described only in the supposition that in the view of the Law of Levirate, Jacob was the natural father of Joseph, while Heli was his legal father. Hence, just as was clearly the case with Zerubbabel, the two branches of the family of David form into one in Saint Joseph, who in turn converts the glory of both ancestral lines to his divine foster Son,” writes Father Maurice Meschler, S.J., in his book The Truth about Saint Joseph. 

2. Saint Joseph gave Jesus the heritage of impoverished royalty 

Christ went into the world in poverty. Saint Joseph was not able to offer him riches, or even a proper place to be born when He went into the world.

“Joseph had, then, nothing in the temporal line to offer our Savior but his calloused hands and a heart full of devotion and love, and rather than the splendid pomp of the world, poverty, and obscurity,” Father Meschler expresses. “This was particularly what the Redeemer desired. For this He had come down to Heaven.”

3. Saint Joseph and Mary’s union was a true and genuine marriage 

The Church and the Holy Fathers accede – Joseph and Mary were truly married. Father Meschler explains more on the subject, saying, “Saint Joseph was the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus Christ. Our Savior belonged to him as a son. The genealogy of Saint Joseph was the genealogy of Jesus. The descent of our Lord from David is thus legally built and is checked through Joseph’s marriage with Mary.”

4. The lily Saint Joseph is often depicted with symbolizes his virginal fatherhood

Saint Joseph is often seen in paintings holding a lily. Father Meschler describes the importance of this symbol, saying, “The fatherhood of Saint Joseph embraces the glory of virginal integrity, and thus lays claim to a new mark of resemblance to the Fatherhood of God. The heavenly Father has given to the saint’s fatherhood all that He could without detriment to his virginity. However, the fatherhood of Saint Joseph resembles that of the eternal Father because both have but one Son, in fact, the same Son.”

5. Saint Joseph faithfully safeguarded the virginity of Mary before and after marriage.

In addition to accomplishing his role as the foster father of Jesus, Saint Joseph was also entrusted with the role of protecting the virginity of the Mother of God. Father Meschler expresses, “Saint Joseph accomplished the conditions dependent on him and essential for the Incarnation – namely, the protection of Mary’s virginity. It was of paramount necessity that the conception and birth of Christ should be virginal. This condition Saint Joseph accomplished in faithfully safeguarding the virginity of his spouse before and during his married life with her.”

6. Joseph was destined to live a life of obscurity for the glory of God

Saint Joseph, a humble carpenter, never held public office. We recall a little about his life here on earth, and his interior life is virtually not familiar to us. But that is how it was supposed to be. Father Meschler explains, “Saint Joseph’s specific and personal vocation was to be the foster father of the Messiah, exalted and sublime in itself and without compare, was the very reason that demanded the profound obscurity.”

7. Saint Joseph is referred to as the “shadow of the Heavenly Father”

Father Meschler describes the relevance of this title, writing, “This explains the full extent of Saint Joseph’s greatness and the whole concept of his high vocation in the most concise and sublime manner. Above all, he was the foster father of the Savior. The heavenly Father is the type and origin of all fatherhood in Heaven and on earth, and so every human father is an agent and image of the Heavenly Father. In the case of Saint Joseph,  however, this is verified in a most characteristic and glorious manner.”

8. Saint Joseph is an incredible guide for the interior life

Saint Joseph’s life and actions can guide us into the greater interior, spiritual development. Father Meschler expresses, “Without the practice of the interior life, the most hidden life would stay a merely eternal existence without value and meaning for God and eternity. There is no better guide to the promised land of the interior life than Saint Joseph. To be a citizen of and a great man in this kingdom is the specific property of our saint’s holiness and the rich reward he merited by his services during the infancy of Jesus.”

9. Saint Joseph is also an incredible model for an active life

Additionally, Saint Joseph also instructs us the relevance of active life. “We are all bound to lead the active life; to lead it properly, we must all labor, and labor in a correct manner,” Father Meschler expresses. “This is indeed a crucial lesson that Saint Joseph admonishes us.”

Why You Need To Adopt A Saint’s Name During Baptism

Why You Need To Adopt A Saint’s Name During Baptism

Naming a child after a Saint is not new in the Catholic Tradition. If there’s one event that inspires a Christian to take on a name matching the solemnity of the occasion, Baptism is certainly that event just as it is also very important to take up a saint’s name at the sacrament of confirmation.It is important as St. John Chrysostom strongly stated in the 4th century,  encouraging parents to choose for their children names of holy men and women known for their strength and virtue. In this case, the children might look to them as role models.

Even earlier, St. Dionysius of Alexandria observed that there are many who also took names as the Apostle John, who on account of their love for him adopted his name and because they also admired, emulated him, and desired to be loved by the Lord as he was. These people took to themselves the same name, just as most children of the faithful are called Paul or Peter.

The Tradition of Giving Children Christian Names (canon law)

Many Catholics choose a saint’s name for their child’s first or middle name or even both. In the past, Canon Law required that parents have a Christian name for the child at Baptism. However, this is no longer a hard-and-fast requirement. In the current code of Canon Law, number 855 simply states:“Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given.”

For example, it would be very disturbing for a Catholic to present the name “Lucifer” or “Zeus” for an infant at his baptism, and the priest might question what intention the parents had in giving their child such a name.

However, there is a long and beautiful tradition as to why Catholics should present a saintly or biblical name for their child at Baptism, and why those who convert to Catholicism should choose one too during baptism

According to the Bible:

The Bible Provides us with many vivid examples of significant circumstances bringing about a change in name, especially in regards to moments of spiritual conversion1    When God chooses Abram to be the father of the Chosen People and asks him to be circumcised as part of this new covenant, He gives Abram a new name: Abraham.2   After wrestling with an angel and receiving the angel’s blessing, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel.3  The name changes of Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul in the New Testaments are deeply significant

In each of these cases, an important encounter with God led to the choosing of a name which reflected the solemnity of that event. When a child is baptized, he or she becomes a son or daughter of God the Father, a co-heir of Heaven through Christ the Son, and a sharer in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Catholic parents may choose a saint’s name as the child’s name when they have a child and present that name at the infant’s baptism. For those who receive baptism later in life or convert to Catholicism may choose a name to reflect his or her new status as a Christian, and this name stands as a beautiful and strong symbol and a reminder of spiritual conversion.

Why You Must Stay Awake During Mass

Why You Must Stay Awake During Mass

During Mass, the risen Jesus is present. He comes to walk and talk with us. He opens the Scriptures for us and challenges us to open our hearts to believe in him. He breaks the bread for us just as he did with his apostles and gives himself to us in his Body and Blood.

Jesus taught the first Christians that when we gather on Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, we are not gathering only with family and friends in our parishes but also with his angels and saints for he is also present on the altar. He is the altar on which the lamb would be sacrificed, the priest and the sacrificial lamb as well.

In a mysterious way, our Mass on earth unites us with God and the heavenly choir in the eternal liturgy of heaven. Our worship in the Mass also makes us one Body in Christ with our fellow Catholics everywhere in the world — in every nation from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Thus, we must approach every Mass with a spirit of reverence and respect.

Your experience of the Mass will change if you try to get there a little early so that you have time to settle your mind and prepare your heart.

Try to enter the sanctuary slowly, reverently and without speaking. Spend a few minutes kneeling and talking to Jesus Christ with real intimacy in the silence of your heart.

When Mass begins and the priest processes to the altar, try to keep in mind that he is not only our friend and our pastor but a physical representation of Christ Ordained by God.

Thus, he will pray and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Jesus Christ — in persona Christi.

The priest calls us into God’s presence, greeting us with the salutation used by God’s angels in the Bible. When he says, “The Lord be with you,” we should have the same joy that the Blessed Virgin Mary had when God’s angel spoke those words to her.

The priest might instead use St. Paul’s apostolic greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

In our new Mass translation, the priest will pray that more precise word, “communion,” instead of “fellowship,” which we are used to hearing. The people will also respond with new words: “And with your spirit.” These words too are from St. Paul.

These small changes remind us that in the Mass, God is sharing himself with us in his Spirit of love, and in his Spirit of love, he is drawing all of us into communion as one family of God.

And with your spirit reminds us that we are more than our material bodies. In Baptism, God has poured his love into our hearts through the gift of his Spirit, making each of us a child of God. What a beautiful gift!

As Jesus said that God is Spirit, and he calls us to worship him in spirit and in truth. The Mass is Spiritual as it has been for Christians since the beginning. In our worship, we join ourselves to Christ’s great act of love on the cross. “Through him, with him and in him”, we offer our lives to God and to our brothers and sisters in love.

May Our Lady help us to stay awake during Mass this week and as well better live the Mass.

Who Are The Doctors of The Church?

Who Are The Doctors of The Church?

There are several definitions of the word “doctor,” but they all go back to the Latin word for “teacher.” But in the world of Catholic vocabulary, a church doctor is a confessor and a saint but not necessarily a martyr. The term confessor emanates from the Latin verb confiteri, “to declare openly,” and the title was given to those who led exemplary Christian lives but did not get the chance to die for their faith (martyrs).

The sanctity and learning of the doctors of the church means that they are an excellent examples of knowledge and inspiration towards two important dimensions of Christian life, faith and reason. In this case, the two dimensions are necessary, none of them is mutually exclusive in as much as faith deepens through knowledge, and knowledge get grounded in faith.

It’s either a pope or an ecumenical council (that is a council representing the whole church) can name a doctor, but in practice it has been popes who make the final declaration.

The church did not get enticed to proclaiming doctors until the 13th century when Pope Boniface VIII named the original four Doctors of the church which are: St. Ambrose (340-397 A.D.),St. Jerome (345-420), St. Augustine (354-430), Pope Gregory the Great (540-604). At the same time, Pius, a Dominican friar,(also named a brother Dominican) added Thomas Aquinas, to the list. Meanwhile, presently there are about 33 doctors of the Church.

It is a fact thing that every doctor in the church today has to be a canonized saint. Meanwhile, official sainthood is not so much a formal requirement, but it points to another defining characteristic of sanctity of doctorhood. It also points to one of their chief characteristics, what is usually referred to as an excellent learning.

Their expounding of the faith has been judged to be sound and of benefit to the whole church. But in everything, what matters is that you can lay your trust on a doctor when it comes to theological doctrine.

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