The Glories of St. Joseph


Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II once said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”  If you have a trace of doubt as to the validity of this assessment, just look at your immediate social circle.  Chances are favorable that you know of some family that has been torn apart for one reason or another.  The institution of the family worldwide is under continuous and mounting attack, often resulting in the disintegration of marriage and family life.  How many times does history have to repeat itself before we learn that values matter?  Christian values are eroded and not passed on to younger generations, leading to the loss of special graces God bestows on families in the sacraments, and this is causing a host of societal and economic ills that is becoming increasingly prevalent and damaging.  But the good news is, like any cause and effect, those ills can be reversed if what is causing them is changed.  To do this, we need St. Joseph’s intercession in the world more than ever.  He is, after all, the Patron Saint of Families.

It was no mere coincidence that the deadly wildfires blazing their way through Arizona weeks ago impacted Yarnell, Arizona – just after the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), I might add.  The area is home to the oft-frequented Shrine of St. Joseph – the Patron of Families, in case you forgot!  If there was ever a neon-lit sign from Heaven hinting for us to increase devotion to St. Joseph, this was it.

So perhaps it was out of laziness on my part or out of guidance by the Holy Spirit that I write about St. Joseph now.  (While the first explanation is nonetheless true, I choose to believe the latter, by the way.)  Regardless, I just couldn’t stay mum about one of the most glorious (pun intended) books I have ever come across called The Glories of St. Joseph.  It contains beautiful meditations, stories, and prayers centered on the head of the holy family in an effort to bring readers closer to this powerful saint.  My absolute favorite parts of the book are the firsthand testimonials written by people who had prayers answered through St. Joseph’s intercession.  The one I have chosen to include below is called “A Danish Surgeon and St. Joseph’s Face.”  Warning: It is shockingly awesome – hang onto your seat!

A famous Danish surgeon finished his morning prayers with this invocation: “St. Joseph, pray for us.”  Noticing my surprised look, he said to me, smiling, “We always need that great wonder-worker.”

That evening, I asked my host to tell me about the times when St. Joseph had intervened in his life.  After a moment’s hesitation, he said, “I don’t like to speak about my own experiences, especially in matters of religion, but it is perhaps possible for you to make known to others that St. Joseph always helps those who put their whole trust in him.  Listen, then, to something that I saw with my own eyes and can swear to under oath, as can, too, a criminal who is atoning for his heinous crimes in prison, having been touched by the grace of God.

“One winter night I took the train.  I was alone in the dimly lit compartment with a large sum of money which was to be used to build a new clinic.  I must have fallen asleep or at least dozed off, due to the fatigue caused by my night travels and the urgent operations I had performed.  I woke up when a silent shadow bent over me and someone seized my throat.  It was impossible to reach the alarm, and I could not break free or call for help.  There was a giant trying to force a gag into my mouth!

“I thought of St. Joseph.  He had always come to my aid when I called upon him.  What would happen now?  At that moment, a fist from outside the window of the train struck my assailant a tremendous blow.  He let go.  Our eyes turned simultaneously toward the glass where there appeared a face…this face!” — and the doctor pointed to a statue of St. Joseph on his desk.  “The man who was crushing me with his knee cried out and vanished.  As though waking from a dream, I looked around me.  The compartment was empty.”

He opened the drawer of his desk and went on: “Only this gag and this razor were beside me on the seat.  I had made up my mind not to say a word, but it happened that not long afterwards the man surrendered himself to prison authorities in order to atone for his crimes.  He is now serving his sentence with true Christian contrition.”

The book contains many, many more soul-stirring stories like this one.  Buy it, read it, learn for yourself the glories of St. Joseph, and then…change the world.

The conclusion of “A Danish Surgeon and St. Joseph’s Face” reads, “Tell me, don’t we have good reason to honor St. Joseph who has intervened in so many difficult situations?  Tell those who are in trouble to put their trust in St. Joseph.  He will find a solution to the most desperate cases.”

This virtuous and deeply holy man can aid in transforming our lives and our nation if we would only ask him!

Go to St. Joseph – for you, your family, your friends, your nation, anything.  St. Leonard of Port-Maurice once wrote that “God has willed that men of every rank and condition should have something in common with St. Joseph, so that they should all place special trust in him and have recourse to him as their special intercessor.”  So, go to St. Joseph with humility and pureness of heart, knowing that you have nothing to fear.  He will take care of the rest.

As always, St. Joseph, pray for us.

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