St. Joseph, spouse of our Lady, Confessor and Patron of the Universal Church
St. Joseph was by birth of the royal family of David, but was living in humble obscurity as a carpenter when God raised him to the highest sanctity, and fitted him to be the spouse of His Virgin Mother, and foster-father and guardian of the Incarnate Word. Joseph, says the Holy Scripture, was a just man; he was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls. His conversation was with angels rather than with men. When he learned that Mary bore within her womb the Lord of heaven, he feared to take her as his wife; but an angel bade him fear not, and all doubts vanished. When Herod sought the life of the divine Infant, an angel told Joseph in a dream to fly with the Child and His Mother into Egypt.
Joseph at once arose and obeyed. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all His servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation. “Joseph,” says he, “is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear. He rejoices at the Child’s birth, but a great fear succeeds: the furious king seeks to destroy the Child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away His life. This is followed by another joy, the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises: he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance.” It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus, all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled and in many places fell to the ground. The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in Saints. After the death of King Herod, of which St. Joseph was informed in another vision, God ordered him to return with the Child and His Mother into the land of Israel, which our Saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus had succeeded Herod in that part of the country, and apprehensive that he might be infected with his father’s vices, he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done for the education of the Child; and therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth. St. Joseph, being a strict observer of the Mosaic Law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Our Saviour, now in the twelfth year of His age, accompanied His parents thither. Having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, they were returning with many of their neighbors and acquaintances towards Galilee; and never doubting but that Jesus was with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day’s journey before they discovered that He was not with them.
But when night came on and they could hear no tidings of Him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem. After an anxious search of three days they found Him in the Temple, discoursing with the learned doctors of the law, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard Him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of His understanding; nor were His parents less surprised on this occasion. When His Mother told Him with what grief and earnestness they had sought Him, and asked, “Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold Thy Father and I sought Thee in great affliction of mind,” she received for answer, “How is it that you sought Me? did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But though thus staying in the Temple unknown to His parents, in all other things He was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them. As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour’s ministry. We cannot doubt that he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments; whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that hour.
St. Soter, Pope and Martyr
St. Soter was raised to the papacy upon the death of St. Anicetus, in 173. By the sweetness of his discourses he comforted all persons with the tenderness of a father, and assisted the indigent with liberal alms, especially those who suffered for the faith. He liberally extended his charities, according to the custom of his predecessors, to remote churches, particularly to that of Corinth, to which he addressed an excellent letter, as St. Dionysius of Corinth testifies in his letter of thanks, who adds that his letter was found worthy to be read for their edification on Sundays at their assemblies to celebrate the divine mysteries, together with the letter of St. Clement, pope. St. Soter vigorously opposed the heresy of Montanus, and governed the Church to the year 177.
St. Caius, Pope and Martyr
From The Liturgical Year – Ven. Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.
The Palms of two martyred Popes are intertwined and grace this day of the Calendar. Soter suffered for Christ in the second, and Caius in the third century; a hundred years separate them, and yet we have the same energy of faith, the same jealous fidelity to keep intact the depositum left by Christ to his Church. What human society ever existed, that produced heroes for century after century? The Society, however, which was founded by Christ, in other words, the Church, is based on that traditional devotedness, which consists in laying down one’s life for the Faith. And if so, we may be sure that the spirit of Martyrdom would show itself in them that were the Heads and Fathers of this Society. The first thirty Successors of St. Peter paid dearly for the honor of the Supreme Pontificate; they were Martyrs. How grand the Throne of our Risen Jesus, surrounded as it is by all these Kings clad in their triumphant scarlet robes! Soter was the immediate successor of Anicetus, whose feast we kept on the 17th of this month. Time has effaced the details of his life. Eusebius, however, gives us a fragment of a Letter written by St. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wherein thanks are expressed to the Pontiff for the alms be sent to the Faithful of that Church, during a famine. An Apostolic Letter was sent with these alms ; and St. Dionysius tells us, that it was read in the assemblies of the Faithful, together with the one addressed to the same Church, in the preceding century, by St. Clement. The Roman Pontiffs have ever united charity to their fidelity in preserving pure the Deposit of our Faith. With regard to Caius, he suffered death in the terrible Persecution under Dioclesian; and little more than a mere mention of his name is given in the annals of Christian Rome.
HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS PROPERS
The Solemnity of St. Joseph
SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, CONFESSOR
AND PATRON OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
With a commemoration of Sts. Soter and Cajus Popes and Martyrs
THIRD WEDNESDAY AFTER EASTER
(Wednesday after Good Shepherd Sunday)
Double Feast of The First Class with a Octave / White Vestments
INTROIT – Psalm 32: 20, 21
Adjutor, et protector noster est Dominus: ideo laetabitur cor nostrum, et in nomine sancto ejus speravimus, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Qui regis Israel, intende: qui deducis, velut ovem, Joseph. V. Gloria Patri .
Adjutor, et protector noster est Dominus . . .
The Lord is our helper and protector: in Him our heart shall rejoice, and in His holy Name we have trusted, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 79. 1). Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. V. Glory be to the Father.
The Lord is our helper and protector . . .
O God, who in Thine unspeakable Providence wast pleased to choose blessed Joseph for the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom we honor as our protector upon earth. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost.
Second Collect – Commemoration of Sts. Soter and Cajus
In Thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be moved by the offering of our gifts and enlighten Thy Church: that Thy flock may prosper everywhere and shepherds, under Thy guidance, may be rendered acceptable to Thee. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Genesis 49: 22-26
Lesson from the Book of Genesis.
Joseph was a growing son, a growing son, and comely to behold: the daughters run to and fro upon the wall. But they that held darts provoked him, and quarreled with him and envied him. His bow rested upon the strong, and the bands of his arms and his hands were loosed, by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob: thence he came forth a pastor, the stone of Israel. The God of thy father shall be thy helper, and the Almighty shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the deep that lieth beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of thy father are strengthened with the blessings of his father: until the desire of the everlasting hills shall come; may they be upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the Nazarite among his brethren.
GRADUAL – Psalm 36
Alleluia, alleluia. V. In whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them, and be their protector always. Alleluia. V.: Obtain for us, Joseph, grace to lead an innocent life: and may our life ever be shielded by thy patronage. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Luke 3: 21-23
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time: It came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened: and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape as a dove upon Him: and a voice came from heaven: Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased. And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was supposed) the Son of Joseph.
Sermon – Fr Isaac Mary Relyea: The Flight into Egypt
OFFERTORY Psalm 147: 12, 13
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, because He hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates: He hath blessed thy children within thee. Alleluia, alleluia.
Supported by the patronage of thy Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother, we beseech Thy clemency, O Lord, that Thou wouldst make our hearts to despise all earthy things and to love Thee, the true God, with perfect charity: who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost.
Preface of St. Joseph
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: and that we should magnify with due praises, bless and proclaim Thee on the Solemnity of blessed Joseph; who, being a just man, was given by Thee as a Spouse to the Virgin Mother of God, and, as a faithful and prudent servant was set over Thy Family, that, with fatherly care, he might guard Thine only-begotten Son, conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say with lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus, Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNION – Matthew 1: 16
But Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ, alleluia, alleluia.
We who are refreshed at the fountain of divine blessing, beseech Thee, O Lord our God: that as Thou makest us to rejoice in the protection of blessed Joseph so, by his merits and intercession, Thou wouldst make us to be sharers of heavenly glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
Second Postcommunion – Commemoration of Sts. Soter and Cajus
Since Thy Church has been nourished by the sacred repast, govern her in Thy clemency, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so that under the guidance of Thy mighty rule she may enjoy greater freedom and abiding integrity of religion. Through our Lord.