St. Joseph, A Yes Man… Father of the New Evangelization

St. Joseph, Father of the New Evangelization

Benedict XVI Entrusts to His Patron All the Pastors of the Universal Church

Though the title of this Zenit article seems to indicate that the Pope has named St. Joseph the “father of the new evangelization”, the actual article points to an initiative on the part of a French bishop – though the article does give a fine short history of the current and recent popes’ devotion to St. Joseph and encyclicals in his honor, patron of the Universal Church to whom the pope did entrust all pastors of the Church during the Year for Priests.

I love St. Joseph! My mom did too. She named my oldest brother after her two favorite saints: St. Joseph and St. Anthony. I pray to St. Joseph daily at the end of every Rosary. And I have been praying a 30 Days’ Prayer to St. Joseph for assistance with the new evangelization in honor of his Feast Day, March 19 – St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. It is a good practice to seek his intercession for special needs or for assistance in carrying out the new evangelization, for the Church’s Pastors (the bishops) and the clergy who assist them in shepherding the flock. Any prayer to St. Joseph will probably suffice, even a spontaneous prayer, but here are some Novenas to choose from and modify:

I enjoyed reading in the Zenit article how Pope Benedict XVI “has invited Catholics to learn from the school of Saint Joseph, to have a ‘spiritual conversation’ with him, linked to a renewal of faith. Before the Angelus on December 18, 2005, for example, he said: ‘It is therefore particularly appropriate in the days that precede Christmas to establish a sort of spiritual conversation with St Joseph, so that he may help us live to the full this great mystery of faith.’” This learning from the school of St. Joseph what it means to be a man or a woman of faith will come in handy as we prepare to celebrate the Year of Faith marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read about the 13-month long Year of Faith in my Today’s Catholic column found at this link: 10/11-/12 through 11/24/13.

I absolutely love this quote from a homily of Pope Benedict XVI on March 18, 2009 in Yaounde, Cameroon. Addressing all the people of God, he concluded saying that in Saint Joseph there is no separation between faith and action: “Dear brothers and sisters, our meditation on the human and spiritual journey of Saint Joseph invites us to ponder his vocation in all its richness, and to see him as a constant model for all those who have devoted their lives to Christ in the priesthood, in the consecrated life or in the different forms of lay engagement. Joseph was caught up at every moment by the mystery of the Incarnation. Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence of mystery and is open to that mystery at every moment of everyday life. In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions. Paradoxically, it was by acting, by carrying out his responsibilities, that he stepped aside and left God free to act, placing no obstacles in his way. Joseph is a ‘just man’ (Mt 1:19) because his existence is ‘ad-justed’ to the word of God.”

Ad-justed! St. Joseph is so adjusted, so well-balanced, so in tune with the will of God. So, in the words of one of my favorite hymns, I enter again into my spiritual conversation with Joseph and pray: St. Joseph, be our guide!

Teach us how to rise from slumber when we get a call in the middle of the night and take action accordingly.

Teach us to pick and go, to stay longer or leave early, to do whatever pleases the Lord and accomplishes His plan and purpose for our lives and the lives of those He wishes to touch through us.

Teach us how to be docile, willing, compliant, faithful, obedient, and eager to do God’s will.

Teach us how to speak less and act more promptly in doing the will of the Lord, being known, like you, not so much for the eloquence of our words, but by the fidelity of our actions.

Teach us how to be “yes men”, “yes women” – men and women who are always READY and EAGER to say YES to the Lord’s bidding whenever and however it may come.

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