Friday, January 06, 2012
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas!
I've talked about the "Wise Men" before. But what is the significance of these fellows of unknown origin and numbers? (I, for one, am happy that we've settled on the manageable number of three, because they are the heaviest statues to lug up out of the church basement. Two on still on their camels and on is off his camel, so we have to lug up his camel, too.) They are here to continue the narrative of Jesus, that He is here for everyone, the poor and the mighty both.
I also particularly enjoy this feast day because we get to visit with St. Joseph again. We don't hear much about him in the New Testament, although we now keep him busy with patronages from workers to real estate, from a happy death, to the entire country of Italy.
You know, Italy has more exorcisms than any other country? What's that about?
This is the point where St. Joseph is at his best, getting the information that his family is in grave danger and taking swift and decisive, and very loving, action. He made his way with them to Egypt on foot with no GPS or Triple A. It seems that everything went fine for them from then on, except for one small glitch when the Mary and Joseph lost track of Jesus for a bit, which turned out to be no big deal in the lost child department.
St. Joseph gives us such a sense of peace, doesn't he? He did everything that was asked of him and he made it look easy. My dad was kind of like that.
I was tickled to find out that today is the feast day of the newly minted St. Andre, formerly known as Blessed Brother Andre of Montreal. What a good match to put his feast day on this day! He was devoted to St. Joseph.
St. Andre is famous for having built the Oratory of St. Joseph with his simple devotion and persistence. “It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures,” he once said. But in his lifetime, the reason he was able to accomplish so much is because he had become a rather famous healer, rubbing the sick with oil from the lamps in the chapel at the rectory. St. Joseph's oil is on sale at the Oratory gift shop. I have some! Because so many people knew him, people also came to know his cause.
Of course people thought the oil was miraculous, but St. Andre was careful to remind them that it was not the oil the healed, but St. Joseph.
And now, we have to be careful to remind people that when he said that, we, as Catholics, know that is short hand for 'it is not the oil that healed, but the intercessory prayer of St. Joseph'. The separated brethren are confused enough. I know it's cumbersome to go around saying, "Pray for the intercessory prayer of St. Anthony" but I think we should consider it. At least boil it down to "Ask St. Anthony to pray for you" instead of "Pray to St. Anthony."
Enjoy the day!