Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hail, Holy Joseph, Hail!

The post's title is the name of a hymn I learned when I entered the convent. During the novena to St Joseph (March 9-18), we would sing a hymn in his honor every day. One that got a lot of use was the sequence-like "Te Joseph Celebrent," written in 1700 (sung in English!); another was "Hail, Holy Joseph, Hail!" with a beautiful Josephite theology in warm lyrics: "To thee the Word made Flesh was subject as a Son! Hail, Holy Joseph!" "God's choice wert thou alone!"

Espousals of Mary and Joseph. 
In preparing a talk on St. Joseph last week (my last talk in Chicago!), I found myself taking the words of the Angelus prayer into a St. Joseph context. The result is the St. Joseph Angelus. I am sure the Blessed Mother wouldn't mind if for a day we turned our prayer marking her role in the Incarnation into a prayer honoring her spouse's role in the life of the Son of God! After all, the full name of today's solemn feast is "Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

Finally, during Advent I had been pondering what seemed to be a kind of invitation to put the then-new liturgical year under St. Joseph's special patronage. This was confirmed for me when (still on tour for the Christmas concert series), I received a message from Sr Kathryn in the motherhouse Electronic Publishing division. She had found a comment from my Mom, posted last year about this time, on the site of a devotional video about St. Joseph. It turned out to be the week before Mom's final illness manifested itself. When she called me for prayers, just ten days after posting that comment, Mom's voice mail added, "I think you're supposed to pray to St. Joseph." We did, throughout that sorrowful ordeal. And I am continuing to do so throughout this year.

So here, for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, is the video that so inspired Mom.

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