St. Joseph, the Social Kingship of Christ, and the Solution to Our Nation’s Ills
[I apologize to all my website's readers for not replacing the previous (February 9) article before now. This was due to technological tribulations beyond my control over the last two weeks. However, God sometimes uses even our failures to save souls: today (before the article was changed), out of the blue, I received a phone call from someone with a very strategic apostolate to the clergy of the Vatican II “church.” He happened to visit my website today and read the article (“Why, Grandma, What Big Ears You Have!”) which the present article now replaces. That article dramatically impacted his understanding of the current crisis, and we spoke for an hour upon the phone. He most likely would never have seen the article had it been relegated to the archives before today. This, by the way, is a defect of the current website’s structure that is being rectified by the radical re-design of the site currently underway. The redesigned site will incorporate, among its many other new features, a “blog” format, where each new addition will simply appear above the previous entry without displacing it into the archives.]
Folks, if you’ve been worrying about:
a) the global financial “crisis” (both deliberately engineered and greatly exaggerated, in order to provide justification for the unprecedented government intervention currently being rolled out), with its attendant (and undeniable) housing and employment crises,
b) our new president’s seemingly radical agenda of unlimited abortion rights, gay rights, and other less-than-biblical policies,
c) whether we even have a constitutionally elected president in Mr. Obama, as Alan Keyes and others question (more on that next week),
d) America’s creeping (well, more like galloping, these days) socialism (“We’re All Socialists Now!” Newsweek’s cover recently trumpeted),
or any number of other troubling societal trends, then I have good news for you.
It is, in fact, the good news (which is what “gospel” means) that John the Baptist preached (Matthew 3:2), that Jesus preached (Matthew 4:17 and in fact every chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel, as well as of the other three Gospels), that the apostles preached (e.g. Acts 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23,31, as well as all of their epistles and St. John’s Apocalypse), that the entire New Testament proclaims: the “good news of the kingdom of God,” the interventionist reign of God irrupting into human history through the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ.
And yet, oddly enough, nearly all professing Christians, including nearly all professing Catholics – even “traditional” Catholics – do not really understand the true magnitude of the doctrine of the social kingship of Christ. (Perhaps the best starting point for a study of this all-important teaching is Fr. Denis Fahey’s The Kingship of Christ and Organized Naturalism, a concise, 142-page masterpiece that is available from our online store, www.gerrymatatics.org/shop. You can purchase a copy for only $7, or get a FREE copy included with every order of $100 or more.)
Though over the coming weeks, as we advance toward the glorious feast of Easter, we will be looking at what Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the Popes have said about the divinely mandated Kingship of Christ in society – with all of its far-reaching and dramatic ramifications in politics, economics, international relations, and other areas – I would humbly suggest that we begin our exploration of this all-important doctrine on perhaps a very unusual, but sadly neglected, point: St. Joseph.
Yesterday was not only the First Sunday of Lent but also the first day of March, the month dedicated to St. Joseph. To observe the day I read aloud to my family during our time appointed for family worship the 1889 encyclical of Pope Leo XIII “On Devotion to St. Joseph” (Quamquam Pluries is the Latin title), which I don’t believe I’d ever read before.
For me it was a life-changing experience, a major milestone in my Catholic life, dramatically and irrevocably altering my entire perception of our present predicament. When you prayerfully read the text of the encyclical, which I’ve reproduced at the end of this essay, I think you’ll begin to see why.
After Our Lady herself, no saint is more directly relevant to our situation right now than St. Joseph, and no devotion (after devotion to Our Lord, of course, and then Our Lady) is more sorely in need of augmentation than our devotion to St. Joseph.
For St. Joseph was predestined by Almighty God to be the provider of safety, security, freedom, instruction, and economic survival for the Holy Family, and therefore for our families, since Christianity is but the incorporation of ourselves into that supernatural society already constituted by the corporate life of grace lived by Our Lord with His mother and foster father, first on earth and now in heaven.
It was St. Joseph who, as God’s agent, preserved the propriety, purity, and social righteousness of the real “First Family,” the First Family of the Kingdom of God. And it is St. Joseph who will enable us, by his powerful prayers and example, to stand strongly against those forces and persons (elected and otherwise) who would seek to distort and destroy the God-designed nature of the family in our age of apostasy.
It was St. Joseph who, as God’s divinely guided deliverer, preserved his humanly vulnerable Infant Son from the murderous madness of the tyrant who sought to slay Him, the throne-usurping monster who massacred the babies of Bethlehem in his fanatical rage to burn down, so to speak, the haystack in which the needle of the newborn King reportedly lay hid. And it is St. Joseph who, under God, can enable us to stop the slaughter of the innocents in our day, to conquer our child-sacrificing culture with the gospel of life and put an end to the abomination of abortion before we suffer the righteous judgment of God, whose patience is surely at an end.
It was St. Joseph whose supernatural foresight found refuge in a foreign land from the threat against his family. And it is St. Joseph who will shelter and protect us as well under his mantle, whether here or in a haven abroad, should persecution against God’s faithful people become more pronounced.
It was St. Joseph whose hard labor provided a home, food, clothing, and other necessities for his otherwise at-risk family. And it is St. Joseph to whom, under God, we can confidently entrust our homes, our jobs, and our need to provide for our families.
It was St. Joseph of whom Pope Pius XI, in his 1937 encyclical Divini Redemptoris, said, “We place the vast campaign of the Church against World Communism under the standard of St. Joseph, Her mighty protector” (paragraph 81). All the popes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries reiterated the relevance of St. Joseph to the economic ills of our times, particularly his role as the God-appointed champion of the now rapidly-diminishing remnants of Christian civilization against the scourges of socialism and communism, foreign and domestic. And it is St. Joseph who, under God, is the key to victory over these forces, from the Federal Reserve to the international financiers, from the Freemasons to the Bilderbergers and beyond, in our day.
(On this last point, I urge every Catholic head of household to get hold of the anthology entitled The Popes Against Modern Errors. It includes not only the aforementioned encyclical of Pius XI but also fifteen other encyclicals of Gregory XVI, Leo XIII, and Pius IX, X, XI, and XII. The vast majority of Catholics, in their scandalous sloth, to their own intellectual and spiritual enfeeblement, have neglected these papal teachings, with the horrifying results we now see all around us. The information contained in these encyclicals is indispensable for preserving our families during the current cultural crisis, and indeed for extricating ourselves from it, if we act now before it’s too late. I beseech you, for the sake of your and your family’s souls, to read through all sixteen of these encyclicals during Lent, which would require reading only ten pages a day. The Popes Against Modern Errors is available from our online store, www.gerrymatatics.org/shop, and is worth its weight in gold. It belongs on every well-informed Catholic’s bookshelf, however short that shelf might be. Those who do not follow this friendly advice now will not be able to justly complain when their world collapses all around them in the very near future, as it infallibly will if the popes’ warnings are not heeded. Consider yourself warned.)
St. Joseph is entirely sympathetic to our concerns and anxieties about all of the above matters. As head of the Holy Family – husband, father, protector, provider – He lived through the very same sort of trials we are undergoing, and emerged triumphant by his faith. Anyone who does not humbly and penitently go to him to learn how to emulate his success is an inexcusable fool.
After prayerfully reading the following encyclical of Leo XIII, I urge you to daily recite, for the entire month of March, with your family, the prayer which immediately follows the encyclical, a prayer which Leo issued along with it, and to which he attached a partial indulgence. Then pray, as a family, the Act of Consecration to St. Joseph, which follows Pope Leo’s prayer. May God abundantly shower you with many graces as a result of, and a reward for, your doing this, by His grace.
Please check back here next Monday, March 9, for a new essay (already written), and each Monday thereafter. These essays will explore such controversial but crucial topics as:
- Alan Keyes’ case on the doubtful validity of Mr. Obama’s election (and the startling significance of this to an analogous ecclesial situation)
- why the flap between SSPX’s “Bishop” Williamson and the Vatican is not what it seems
- how the devil has used both Vatican II’s counterfeit Catholicism on the left and the “traditionalist movement” on the right to confuse, divide, and damn countless souls
- the only way to end the seemingly endless battle over “baptism of blood and baptism of desire,” and why both “Feeneyites” and “anti-Feeneyites” nearly all overlook the real key to the conflict
- how ignorance of canon law keeps so many even “traditional” Catholics in spiritual blindness and bondage
- why the ongoing nature of conversion means that, if we are consistently growing in our Catholic Faith, we will continually discard inconsistent aspects of our Catholicism, thereby changing (for the better) our practice of the Faith
- what it means to be a recusant Catholic in our age of clever counterfeit Catholicisms, of both the “modernist” and the “traditionalist” variety
- why this might very well be your last Lent
and much, much more.
May God guide you, give you a grace-filled and fruitful Lent, and arm and inspire you for the coming battles.
[Note: I have broken each of the overly lengthy paragraphs of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical into several shorter ones to improve readability.]
ON DEVOTION TO ST. JOSEPH
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on August 15, 1889.
To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and other Ordinaries, in Peace and Union With the Holy See.
Although We have already many times ordered special prayers to be offered up in the whole world, that the interests of Catholicism might be insistently recommended to God, none will deem it matter for surprise that We consider the present moment an opportune one for again inculcating the same duty.
During periods of stress and trial -- chiefly when every lawlessness of act seems permitted to the powers of darkness -- it has been the custom in the Church to plead with special fervor and perseverance to God, her author and protector, by recourse to the intercession of the saints -- and chiefly of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God -- whose patronage has ever been the most efficacious. The fruit of these pious prayers and of the confidence reposed in the Divine goodness, has always, sooner or later, been made apparent.
Now, Venerable Brethren, you know the times in which we live; they are scarcely less deplorable for the Christian religion than the worst days, which in time past were most full of misery to the Church. We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity.
These things are, indeed, so much a matter of notoriety that it is needless for Us to expatiate on the depths to which society has sunk in these days, or on the designs which now agitate the minds of men. In circumstances so unhappy and troublous, human remedies are insufficient, and it becomes necessary, as a sole resource, to beg for assistance from the Divine power.
2. This is the reason why We have considered it necessary to turn to the Christian people and urge them to implore, with increased zeal and constancy, the aid of Almighty God. At this proximity of the month of October, which We have already consecrated to the Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, We earnestly exhort the faithful to perform the exercises of this month with, if possible, even more piety and constancy than heretofore. We know that there is sure help in the maternal goodness of the Virgin, and We are very certain that We shall never vainly place Our trust in her. If, on innumerable occasions, she has displayed her power in aid of the Christian world, why should We doubt that she will now renew the assistance of her power and favor, if humble and constant prayers are offered up on all sides to her? Nay, We rather believe that her intervention will be the more marvelous as she has permitted Us to pray to her, for so long a time, with special appeals.
But We entertain another object, which, according to your wont, Venerable Brethren, you will advance with fervor. That God may be more favorable to Our prayers, and that He may come with bounty and promptitude to the aid of His Church, We judge it of deep utility for the Christian people, continually to invoke with great piety and trust, together with the Virgin Mother of God, her chaste Spouse, the Blessed Joseph; and We regard it as most certain that this will be most pleasing to the Virgin herself.
On the subject of this devotion, of which We speak publicly for the first time today, We know without doubt that not only is the people inclined to it, but that it is already established, and is advancing to full growth. We have seen the devotion to St. Joseph, which in past times the Roman Pontiffs have developed and gradually increased, grow into greater proportions in Our time, particularly after Pius IX, of happy memory, Our predecessor, proclaimed, yielding to the request of a large number of bishops, this holy patriarch the patron of the Catholic Church. And as, moreover, it is of high importance that the devotion to St. Joseph should engraft itself upon the daily pious practices of Catholics, We desire that the Christian people should be urged to it above all by Our words and authority.
3. The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory.
In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures. For marriage is the most intimate of all unions which from its essence imparts a community of gifts between those that by it are joined together. Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity.
And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by the divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men. Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents.
From this two-fold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties. He set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing; he guarded from death the Child threatened by a monarch's jealousy, and found for Him a refuge; in the miseries of the journey and in the bitternesses of exile he was ever the companion, the assistance, and the upholder of the Virgin and of Jesus.
Now the divine house which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father, contained within its limits the scarce-born Church. From the same fact that the most holy Virgin is the mother of Jesus Christ is she the mother of all Christians whom she bore on Mount Calvary amid the supreme throes of the Redemption; Jesus Christ is, in a manner, the firstborn of Christians, who by the adoption and Redemption are his brothers. And for such reasons the Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust -- this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.
4. You well understand, Venerable Brethren that these considerations are confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name -- a point the significance of which has never been denied -- was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favor and especial good will of his master, and that through Joseph's administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title "Savior of the world."
Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master's domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth.
These are the reasons why men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph. Fathers of families find in Joseph the best personification of paternal solicitude and vigilance; spouses a perfect example of love, of peace, and of conjugal fidelity; virgins at the same time find in him the model and protector of virginal integrity. The noble of birth will learn of Joseph how to guard their dignity even in misfortune; the rich will understand, by his lessons, what are the goods most to be desired and won at the price of their labor.
As to workmen, artisans, and persons of lesser degree, their recourse to Joseph is a special right, and his example is for their particular imitation. For Joseph, of royal blood, united by marriage to the greatest and holiest of women, reputed the father of the Son of God, passed his life in labor, and won by the toil of the artisan the needful support of his family. It is, then, true that the condition of the lowly has nothing shameful in it, and the work of the laborer is not only not dishonoring, but can, if virtue be joined to it, be singularly ennobled. Joseph, content with his slight possessions, bore the trials consequent on a fortune so slender, with greatness of soul, in imitation of his Son, who having put on the form of a slave, being the Lord of life, subjected himself of his own free-will to the spoliation and loss of everything.
5. Through these considerations, the poor and those who live by the labor of their hands should be of good heart and learn to be just. If they win the right of emerging from poverty and obtaining a better rank by lawful means, reason and justice uphold them in changing the order established, in the first instance, for them by the Providence of God. But recourse to force and struggles by seditious paths to obtain such ends are madnesses which only aggravate the evil which they aim to suppress. Let the poor, then, if they would be wise, trust not to the promises of seditious men, but rather to the example and patronage of the Blessed Joseph, and to the maternal charity of the Church, which each day takes an increasing compassion on their lot.
6. This is the reason why -- trusting much to your zeal and episcopal authority, Venerable Brethren, and not doubting that the good and pious faithful will run beyond the mere letter of the law -- We prescribe that during the whole month of October, at the recitation of the Rosary, for which We have already legislated, a prayer to St. Joseph be added, the formula of which will be sent with this letter, and that this custom should be repeated every year. To those who recite this prayer, We grant for each time an indulgence of seven years and seven Lents.
It is a salutary practice and very praiseworthy, already established in some countries, to consecrate the month of March to the honor of the holy Patriarch by daily exercises of piety. Where this custom cannot be easily established, it is as least desirable, that before the feast-day, in the principal church of each parish, a "triduo" of prayer be celebrated. In those lands where the 19th of March -- the Feast of St. Joseph -- is not a Festival of Obligation, We exhort the faithful to sanctify it as far as possible by private pious practices, in honor of their heavenly patron, as though it were a day of Obligation.
7. And in token of heavenly favors, and in witness of Our good-will, We grant most lovingly in the Lord, to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy and to your people, the Apostolic blessing.
Given from the Vatican, August 15th, 1889, the 11th year of Our Pontificate.
PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH
(Ad te Beate Joseph – prayer of Pope Leo XIII)
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.
Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of his life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO ST. JOSEPH
O, my beloved St. Joseph, adopt me as thy child, take care of my salvation, watch over me day and night, preserve me from the occasion of sin, obtain for me purity of soul and body! Through thy intercession with Jesus grant me a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial, a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet tender love for Mary, my Mother. St. Joseph, be with me living, be with me dying and obtain for me a favorable judgment from Jesus, my merciful Savior. Amen.