Devotion to St. Joseph was a hallmark of St. Teresa of Avila. Teresa attributed her miraculous cure to Saint Joseph. When she was living in the Incarnation Convent in Avila, she was struck with an ailment that left her half-dead. She was paralyzed and was presumed dead at one point. They even had a gravesite all ready for her! She petitioned St. Joseph and her prayers were answered. Her paralysis was cured and she was able to walk again even though her health had always been fragile after that. Saint Joseph is an example of a life so hidden and yet so pleasing to God. The Holy Gospels do not record for us a word he uttered. But what the Gospels show is that Joseph was a doer of God's Will. He was always on the go, always on the move, to do God's bidding- waking up from the dream to journey to Bethlehem for the census, fleeing to Egypt with Mary and the Infant Jesus to escape Herod and his murderous band and journeying back to Nazareth at God's command after Herod had died. These were important events but nothing was recorded of Joseph's account or words. Even in the life of the Holy Family, the Gospel writers did not deem it necessary to give an account of the life in Nazareth. The only indication we have that Joseph was respected and known in the local community is the passage where the townspeople were figuring out the source of Jesus' power, "How did this man come by this wisdom and the miracles? Is not this the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:54-55).
Saint Teresa had this to say about St. Joseph:
"I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honor and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul. To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succor us in some of our necessities but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succors us in them all and that the Lord wishes to teach us that as He was Himself subject to him on earth (for, being His guardian and being called His father, he could command Him) just so in Heaven He still does all that he asks. This has also been the experience of other persons whom I have advised to commend themselves to him; and even to-day there are many who have great devotion to him through having newly experienced this truth." "I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and render him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue, for he gives very real help to souls who commend themselves to him. For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his festival and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill directed, he directs it aright for my greater good... I only beg, for the love of God, that anyone who does not believe me will put what I say to the test, and he will see by experience what great advantages come from his commending himself to this glorious patriarch and having devotion to him. Those who practice prayer should have a special affection for him always. I do not know how anyone can think of the Queen of the Angels, during the time that she suffered so much with the Child Jesus, without giving thanks to Saint Joseph for the way he helped them. If anyone cannot find a master to teach him how to pray, let him take this glorious saint as his master and he will not go astray." (Autobiography, Chapter 6).
|by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.|