We publish an extract from Fr. Dehon's writings on St. Joseph.
Fr. Dehon always showed particular appreciation for St. Joseph: “Trust in St. Joseph does not deceive. The month of this saint has always been for me a month of spiritual graces” (Leo Dehon, Inv. 229.20 B. 19/1.1). In the Spiritual Directory he dedicates a few pages to the Spouse of the Virgin Mary who is presented as patron and model of our vocation and of our attitude of availability and oblation.
To mark the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis published the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde on December 8, 2020 and proclaimed the Year of Saint Joseph.
It is in this context and in view of the celebration of the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19), that we publish an extract from Fr. Dehon’s writings on St. Joseph.
Saint Joseph is a model for us, especially with his interior life, with his spirit of faith, with his abandonment, his purity, his love for Jesus and Mary. St. Joseph dedicated and consecrated his entire life to Jesus and Mary: he only lives for them. All three of them form one heart and one soul. He prays with them and his prayer is inflamed at every moment by the influence of their fervor.
It is a single prayer that ascends the throne of God.
During the work, the thoughts of Jesus and Mary follow him. Work for them and, when Jesus grew up, work with him. He rests with them and by them. His favorite conversations are with Jesus and with Mary. And what does he prefer to talk about, if not about the goodness of God and the wonders of his mercy?
In his interior life he reflects on the acts and words of Jesus and Mary, on the mysteries of the Incarnation and of Redemption. One can say of Joseph as of Mary: Keeps all these things in his heart (Lk 2:51).
How great is his spirit of faith! He humbly and fully accepts all the messages of the angel, heroically fulfills all divine orders. With what respect does he treat Jesus and Mary!
The angel meant to tell him: What is generated in her comes from the Holy Spirit … she will give birth to a son who will be called Emmanuel (Mt 1,20.23).
How faithful he is to this mission of faith he has received! Nothing weighs on him in corresponding to you. No sacrifice discourages him. He goes to Egypt, he comes back, he is ready for anything. He is a victim for Jesus and with Jesus. He undergoes exile, persecution, poverty; but he endures everything for Jesus and for the work of redemption.
And its purity! An angel must come to reassure him, so much is his fear of compromising it. The lily is his symbol. Mary and Joseph are close to Jesus like the two seraphs of the Ark of the Covenant. His purity deserved him to be chosen by God as the putative father of Jesus and as the husband of Mary. He is the model of the life of reparation. He is a witness of the Savior’s humiliations in the manger, of his sufferings in Egypt, of his poverty in Nazareth. Everywhere he strives, with his care and his love, to make amends for the sufferings imposed on Christ by our sins. The delicate care she has for Jesus in Bethlehem, in Egypt, in Nazareth are so many acts of reparation.
We must imitate him in this with our union with Jesus and Mary, with our diligence in thinking of Jesus, with our delicate care for everything that concerns the service of Jesus and particularly the Holy Mass, the sacraments, the divine office. We must also serve Jesus with commitment in our neighbor and particularly in priests, in the poor, in children. We must fix our gaze on Jesus, see him everywhere and always. Let us commit ourselves with great care in all our duties, even in small things, doing everything out of love for Jesus and in a spirit of reparation.
in Léon Dehon, Spiritual Directory, 51-53.