Sunday, March 18, 2012

12 Years of St. Joe

My "well-used" copy of the Novena to St. Joseph.

In 2000, I had the great fortune to be able to participate in a pilgrimage of sorts to the East Coast and Canada.  Among our several stops was St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec.  (Visit their website.) Aside from being stunningly beautiful, the Oratory is an incredibly spiritual and moving place, a tribute to my patron saint.  During my visit, I stopped in the Oratory bookstore and spent 50 cents on a small Novena to St. Joseph.(left) This little 23-page booklet is a powerful example of the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" (or cover price!).

I couldn't say how many times I've been through this novena since I found it twelve years ago-- too many to count.  (Someday I hope to ask St. Joseph, since I'm sure he's been keeping track.)  What I like best about the novena is the way it focuses on a different quality or role of St. Joseph each day, explaining in plain language how St. Joseph's life is an example for ours.  

This week we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19).  I'd like to share with you a small portion of the Novena to St. Joseph, Fourth Day: "St. Joseph, The Father of Jesus,"

Saint Joseph, teach us to love our own children as you loved Jesus.  From the example of our love may they learn to appreciate faith, purity, devotion, and respect for all that is beautiful.  May their vision of life always be Christ-centered.  Amen.

In these few short words, two big ideas are related.  

First, our children learn from our example of love.  As parents and teachers, let's never forget this.  We don't have to be perfect, but we can be great examples of imperfection as we seek to love by living out faith, purity, devotion, and respect.  

Second, our "vision of life" should be Christ-centered.  That means Christ first, before all other considerations.  Christ in all things, all times, all situations, all difficulties, all joys, all triumphs, all trials.

Please join with me on the Feast of St. Joseph this week to pray for all parents, particularly the fathers, of our school community, our parish, and our world. 

Do you have a favorite novena?  What's your favorite quality of your patron saint?  Share these in the comments below, and particularly with your children/students!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Mr. C. For the great example. I pray for all the fathers of our students to realize what a powerful influence they have on their children. It is so important to be as good a role model as you can by showing your love for God and your children. I think of what a great example of kindness, love, and understanding my own father was. He was not perfect but was a wonderful example to me and my siblings.