This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Thursday 19 March 2015

19th March, St Joseph, Confessor, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St Joseph, Confessor, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church always honours St. Joseph with Mary and Jesus, especially during the Christmas solemnities. This day's Gospel is indeed that of December 24th. A Coptic calendar tells us that St. Joseph was liturgically honoured in a special way on July 20th, from the eighth century. At the end of the fifteenth century his feast was kept on March 19th and in 1621 Gregory XV extended it to the whole Church. In 1870, Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph protector of the universal Church.
This Saint "of the royal race of David" was a just man (Gospel). As by his marriage with the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph has certain rights over the blessed fruit of the virginal womb of his spouse, a moral affinity exists between him and Jesus. He exercised over the Child-God a certain paternal authority, which the Preface of St. Joseph delicately alludes to as that of a foster-father. Without having begotten Jesus, St. Joseph by the bonds which unite him to Mary, is legally and morally the Father of the Son of the Blessed Virgin.

It follows that we must honour by a special homage this dignity or supernatural excellence of St. Joseph. "In the family of Nazareth," says Cornelius a Lapide, "were the three greatest and most excellent persons in the world. Wherefore to Christ is due the divine worship, to the Virgin a higher worship than to Saints and to St. Joseph the full worship due to Saints." God revealed to him the mystery of the Incarnation (Ibid.) and "chose him among all " (Epistle) to commit to his care the Incarnate Word and the Virginity of Mary.

The hymn of Lauds says that: "Christ and the "Virgin were with him at his last hour and watched by him their faces gleaming with sweet serenity." St. Joseph went to heaven for ever to enjoy the beatific vision of the Word whose humanity he had so long and so closely contemplated on earth. This Saint is therefore justly considered the patron and model of interior and contemplative souls. And in the heavenly home St. Joseph has a powerful influence over the heart of the Son of his most blessed Spouse (Collect).

Let us imitate at this holy season the purity, humility, the spirit of prayer and meditation of Joseph at Nazareth.

Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
(Psalm 91:13-14,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Sanctissimae Genitricis tuae Sponsi, quaesumus, Domine, meritis adjuvemur: ut, quod possibilitas nostra non obtinet, ejus nobis intercessione donetur.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we maybe helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother, so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession.

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins.
(St Matthew 1:18-21)

Hymn to St Joseph
(From Lauds)

He, whom the faithful joyously do honour,
Singing his triumphs with devout affection,
Won on his feast-day, in eternal glory,
Life everlasting.

How highly favoured! how exceeding blissful!
For, when the moment of his death was nearing,
Jesus and Mary, at his side were standing,
To cheer him onward.

Death was but conquest over earthly bondage,
Sweet, peaceful passing to the heavenly mansions,
Where light eternal now doth ever crown him,
In bliss and gladness.

There, as he reigneth, earnestly beseech we,
That he may offer mighty intercession,
Pleading that pardon and the peace of heaven
May be our portion.

One in Three Persons, Godhead great and glorious
Worship we give thee, hymns of praise and blessing,
Thou who dost honour with a crown eternal
All thy true servants. Amen.

(Source of translation:

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