We were struck by the beauty of the following text by Saint Bernadine of Siena, read to us at the Second Nocturn during this morning’s Vigils.
This is the general rule that applies to all individual graces given to a rational creature. Whenever divine grace selects someone to receive a particular grace or some especially favored position, all the gifts for his state are given to that person and enrich him abundantly.
This is especially true of that holy man Joseph, the supposed father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and true husband of the queen of the world and of the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father to be the faithful foster-parent and guardian of the most precious treasures of God, his Son and his spouse. This was the task which he so faithfully carried out. For this, the Lord said to him, ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.’
A comparison can be made between Joseph and the whole Church of Christ. Joseph was the specially chosen man through whom and under whom Christ entered the world fittingly and in an appropriate way. So, if the whole Church is in the debt of the Virgin Mary, since, through her, it was able to receive the Christ, surely after her, it also owes to Joseph special thanks and veneration.
For he it is who marks the closing of the Old Testament. In him the dignity of the prophets and patriarchs achieves its promised fulfillment. Moreover; he alone possessed in the flesh what God in his goodness promised to them over and again.
It is beyond doubt that Christ did not deny to Joseph in heaven that intimacy, respect, and high honor which he showed to him as to a father during his own human life, but rather completed and perfected it. Justifiably the words of the Lord should be applied to him, ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Although it is the joy of eternal happiness that comes into the heart of man, the Lord prefers to say to him ‘enter into joy’. The mystical implication is that this joy is not just inside man, but surrounds him everywhere and absorbs him, as if he were plunged in an infinite abyss.
Therefore, be mindful of us, blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with him whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favor of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the mother of him who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.