Categories
Faith Formation Hannah Ink Slingers Novenas Prayer Saints

Ite ad Joseph – Go to Joseph

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in
you all my interests and desires.
O Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine
Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged herebelow your
heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposesnear your heart.  Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Amen.

Ite Ad Joseph was written in gold above the St. Joseph’s altar in our parish and for many months the words above were my near daily prayer.   Novena after novena for countless intentions.  First I sought work while my husband finished grad school, then we prayed anxiously for the return of my fertility which had inexplicably disappeared after our daughter died, for strength as my husband and I spent four and a half months apart while he completed training for the Air National Guard, and finally for him to find a job that would put his years of schooling to good use.

In all counts, St. Joseph came through.  I had temp jobs to hold me over until I was offered a position that paid well enough for us to set money aside to pay off school loans while my husband was still a student, we made it through that long separation, my husband was offered a job that suits him to a T, and best of all we’re expecting!

St. Joseph is not spoken about often and we hear very little of him in the Bible.  What we do hear shows us how honourable he was and how fully he allowed God to govern his life.   We first encounter Joseph shortly after the Incarnation when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy.  He would have wondered how this could have happened.  He knew Mary was a good and holy woman but inexplicably here she was, pregnant and unmarried.   He decided to put her aside quietly.  He is then visited by an angel and learns the nature of Mary’s pregnancy.  Once Joseph knew that all was right with God he was prepared to care and provide for Mary and Jesus.

We know that Joseph took the responsibility of caring for them very seriously.  When Herod was preparing to massacre the Holy Innocents, Joseph was again visited by an Angel who informed him of the danger and instructed him to flee to Egypt.  The flight to Egypt would’ve been long and arduous and Joseph would have needed to reestablish his carpentry trade in a new location in an area where he did not know the language, customs or anything other than this is where God wanted him.

When the danger had passed, it was again to Joseph that the Angel appeared.  Though Mary and Jesus were more perfect, he was the one God had put in charge.  He was the head of the household.

St. Joseph is the patron on many things, Carpenters (obviously), Canada (and as such dear to this Canadian girl’s heart), and A Happy Death since he died in the arms of Mary and Jesus.  Most importantly he is the Patron of the Universal Church.  After all, who better to protect the Church than he who protected Mary and Jesus on earth?

Taking all these things into consideration it is easy to see why we are told “Go to Joseph”

Categories
Doctrine Emily Faith Formation Ink Slingers

It’s a MYSTERY…

Think back to when we were kids – waaayyy back for some of us {{cough, cough… ahem}} – and try to remember what the word “mystery” used to mean to you.  The word conjures up feelings of secret passwords and dark hallways, hidden images and underlying meanings… oooooh and those who were clever enough to figure things out felt like we were transported into a new dimension of knowledge!

Now as adults the word “mystery” just doesn’t feel the same.  So many of our childhood mysteries have been solved.  The hidden images are blatant and the underlying meanings that once brought us to tears now feel pedantic to discuss.  We wash away the thoughts and feelings that made our hearts and minds swoon only to fill them with the answers, as if we were filling in a scan-tron on a standardized test.  We’ve turned the pursuit of knowledge into a race to the finish line – and now that we’ve all earned our medals we can’t quite figure out what all the fuss was about.

But mysteries are a huge part of our Catholic Faith.   How do we view these mysteries as Catholic adults?  Do we look on them with childlike wonder?… Or do our eyes glaze over with boredom?  When people ask us questions about our faith do we try to have all the answers?

One of the central mysteries of our faith is the Trinity

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

 In fact, the Catechism speaks beautifully on this mystery of our faith:

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith.” The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.”

Wow… that’s pretty intense.

In my free time (HAAAAHAHAHA!) I participate in a small faith group at my parish.  We are using a program called “Why Catholic?”, which, like many other great programs that are out there, helps guide us through different discussions in the faith.  This particular program goes through the Catechism in different sections.

Our group is made up of several moms with kids at the Catholic school, as well as our principal and vice principal… about 10 of us in all. We’re pretty diverse – wide age range, kids in various grades, very different backgrounds, and I find it really interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives and individual thoughts on each topic.

Lately we’ve been discussing the Trinity and how we address God in prayer.  We were surprised at our unique views.  The principal, who is the eldest in our group, said she mostly invokes the Holy Spirit in prayer.  One mother in the group was raised in France and was taught by nuns – she, on the other hand, was never comfortable addressing God as the Holy Spirit – this side of the Trinity was just not familiar to her, so she mostly called upon God the father.  Another mother in the group was raised protestant and was most comfortable speaking to Jesus in plain language – formal prayers are more challenging for her to truly connect to God through.  And there were also those of us (including myself) who rarely saw God as a single one of His Persons… to me, they are always the three-in-one.

Really, there’s no “right” answer.  Of course, God is always His Triune Self, no matter how we, as individuals, tend to encounter Him.

And the Catechism goes on to discuss…

The Trinity is One.

The divine persons are really distinct from one another.

The divine persons are relative to one another.

… all of which should completely negate each other… and yet, simply are.  What a BEAUTIFUL mystery to ponder!!

The MYSTERY of the Trinity is just so extremely beautiful.  As we wait in hope to encounter the Incarnation of Christ during this season of Advent, it’s always nice to take some time to meditate on some of the rich mysteries of our beautiful faith.