A Note from our Pastor
A NOTE FROM OUR PASTOR
My dear family of St. Matthew!
You may ask: “Father, we start May and you are talking about St. Joseph instead of Mary, what are you thinking?!”
Well, I think in this year of St. Joseph, Mary won’t mind at all! And the two, we can say I think with a little winkle and twinkle of the eye, the two are connected at the hip, metaphorically and spiritually speaking, of course! As a matter of fact, many of St. Joseph’s titles in the Litany of St. Joseph have their comparable title in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Litany of Loreto as it is also sometimes titled. Today and here, I have space for only one to focus on, and so let me focus on this one: Mary is called “Health of the Sick” (Salus infirmorum in Latin) and St. Joseph is called “Hope of the Sick” (Spes aegrotantium).
Let me just encourage you if you haven’t yet to acquire your own copy of the book by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC, entitled Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of our Spiritual Father. Fr. Wade Menezes our Parish Mission speaker recently encouraged us to make this consecration, and he and I happen to be on the same track for our Consecration (which aims for Saturday, May 1, 2021, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker), and it is my second time of doing the 33-day preparation before the consecration, which I intend by God’s grace from now on to do at least once every year until I reach heaven, God-willing! This second time around has been extremely rich, deepening, and I picked up more of what I missed the first time around!!! (see opposite page to order and acquire your own copy ——>>> )
So here’s a reflection based on St. Joseph’s title, “Hope of the Sick” as Fr. Donald Calloway beautifully directs us to meditate and seek St. Joseph’s help and intercession. First of all, it must be said that God has healed many people through the intercession of St. Joseph. Just to name two of the more known cases: St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux, both Carmelite nuns. St. Teresa of Avila witnessed that considering herself half-dead when she was going through a terrible illness, she prayed to St. Joseph and experienced a miraculous cure. St. Therese, although she died at the young age of 24 years old, nevertheless was spared and given those 24 years precisely because of St. Joseph’s intercession which helped her survive the days shortly after her birth!
Here’s the amazing, heart-wrenching, and beautiful story that gave St. Therese over two decades of life on earth! She was kind of a little Lazarus, well, almost! First, some important background information: St. Therese’s parents, who are also now canonized saints, Louis and Zelie Martin, were very devoted to St. Joseph. Two of their children were given the name Joseph but sadly, both of the children died in childbirth. When St. Zelie was again pregnant, she believed the child in her womb was a boy, and she planned to name the child Joseph (naming this new child Joseph, a third time for the Martin family). The baby born however was a girl, and St. Louis and St. Zelie decided to name this child Therese. Now shortly after Therese (instead of little Joseph!) was born, she became deathly ill. The cause of the illness was not known. Her mother, having experienced the death of several other of her children, was greatly saddened of course but also trusted God and in a strong faith resigned to God’s holy will. Fearing that little Therese was going to die, St. Zelie knelt before a statue of St. Joseph in her bedroom and asked the saint to heal her daughter.
Miraculously, little baby Therese was healed! St. Zelie wrote down an account of this miraculous event and what had happened to her little baby daughter, and here are excerpts of that story: “I do not often cry, but I was crying as I prayed [to St. Joseph before his statue in her upstairs room]…. In the end, I decided to go down, and what did I see? The baby was nursing vigorously [the baby had a wet nurse]. She did not let go until 1 p.m. She spit up a bit and fell back as though dead on her wet nurse…. Everyone was stunned…. The baby had no visible breath. It did no good for us to lean over to try and discover a sign of life because we could see nothing. But she was so calm, so peaceful, that I thanked God for having her die so gently. Then a quarter of an hour went by, and my little Therese opened her eyes and started to smile.” PRAISE THE LORD, HALLELUYAH! St. Joseph, Hope of the Sick, prevailed with his powerful intercession over this little baby’s life! If you or someone you know is sick, go to St. Joseph! Jesus wants you to go to your spiritual father and ask him for help and healing. Of course, it’s up to God whether or not a physical healing will be given, but it doesn’t ever hurt to ask, as St. Zelie did for her little baby daughter Therese!
Of course, if you or your loved one receive a healing, don’t forget that you are still going to suffer in life. St. Therese was healed as an infant, but she suffered many other ailments in life and eventually succumbed to tuberculosis at the young age of 24 and died. Even Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, died again. So whether you experience physical healing or not, St. Joseph always offers hope for an illness-free life in heaven!
Let me conclude again with another Carmelite nun saint in heaven, with perhaps the best motivation I can share with you for the powerful reality of prayer and especially of intercession from saints especially St. Joseph in heaven: St. Mother Teresa. Listen carefully with your whole mind, heart, soul, strength and spirit: “My secret is very simple: I pray. Through prayer I become one in love with Christ. I realize that praying to Him is loving Him.” St. Joseph, Hope of the Sick, pray for us! St. Joseph, Protector and Guardian of the Holy Church, pray for us!
Shalom and joy and good health in the living, loving, giving, and caring Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Joseph,