Monday, March 19, 2012

Feast of St. Joseph

Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, one of the more special Feast Days in the Calendar of Saints of Roman Catholicism.  Those of you who read this blog will know that I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, but (for many reasons) I am not a practising Catholic any more even though I appreciate many of the old customs like remembering certain Feast Days. 

St. Joseph is honored in three aspects of life that I know of:  St. Joseph the Patron as foster father of Jesus, St. Joseph the Provider, and St. Joseph the Worker.  Statues of him as Patron show him holding a lily and the Infant Jesus; as the Provider he holds a jug and loaf of bread; and, as the Worker he holds a carpenter's square and maul.  In my family we prayed the Prayer of St. Joseph  only when we were in most serious straits; there is a tradition of caveat emptor here -- St. Joseph is one of the Saints of a happy death and if God grants you the help you ask for through the intercession of St. Joseph, you had better be ready to give back to God whatever St. Joseph requires of you. Tit for tat. Nothing is free. I figure St. Joseph must have been a right firm disciplinarian.  And believe you  me, pay back is swift and never what you think it will be.  I have said this Novena only once in my life.

I have a little statue of St. Joseph the Provider on my kitchen window sill.  We say "hi" to each other whenever I'm at the sink.  I keep a dollar bill underneath him because it is said that if you do so, you will always have money and food in the house. You can put a larger sum beneath him if you want.  (Of course then you will always have money in the house  -- you have him sitting on top of some!) 

You can put money under St. Joseph the Worker, too.  In this instance, he watches over your career.  If I was looking for a job or better money at work, I'd be talking to St. Joseph the Worker.

St. Joseph is probably best asked for help in buying and selling homes, and I have heard lots of really weird things that people do with statues of St. Joseph in this regard.  When we put our house up for sale in Illinois I simply put my little statue of St. Joseph in a corner of the back yard and had him facing away from the house.  Our house was on the market for less than a month and we accepted the winning bid (we had several) for the price we wanted on -- you guessed it -- the Feast of St. Joseph!  I made sure I retrieved St. Joseph from the back yard and brought him with us to our new house.

Some times people burn a blessed candle next to their statue of St. Joseph because it is said that when you light a blessed candle with your prayer, for as long as the candle burns St. Joseph intercedes for you before God.  This old practice is done with all saints.  When I went to church I used to like to light a candle before St. Germaine of Pibrac (my old parish in Illinois).  St. Germaine was a young handicapped woman who lived a miserable physical life of deprivation as a shepherdess in France and she was horribly abused by her stepmother.  She was only 24 years old when she died.  She is the Patroness of handicapped children, and I am very fond of her.  Anyway, I used to like lighting candles to ask God to grant his Grace to Germaine so she could shine before Him in especial Glory, that is until I discovered that after Mass the old ladies would go around the church and blow out everybody's candles so the church could make more money off the candles.   Just one of my many disillusions about organized religion.  Ah, well.  When I want to light any candles now, I buy my own.  Note:  true blessed candles are made of beeswax and blessed by a priest.

Then, it is also said that St. Joseph likes cloved apples so every now and then I will make him one and set it next to him. The kitchen usually smells pretty good for a while when I do that.

Just felt like sharing this little bit of lore with you.  Talk to you soon!

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