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The mission of St. Joseph in the life of Christ and of the Church according to John Paul II

16/03/2007: Vatican

“The figure and the mission of Saint Joseph, in the life of Christ and of the Church” is the theme of John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation “Redemptoris Custos”.On this first day of the month of March, traditionally called “the month of Saint Joseph”, let us remember that Pope John Paul II published this exhortation on the 15th August 1989 on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in the eleventh year of his pontificate.

One recalls that the month of Saint Joseph is also the month of the feast day of the patron saint of Joseph Ratzinger on the 19th March.

John Paul II observed in this document that “from the first centuries, the Fathers of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, have shown that in the same way that Saint Joseph took affectionate care of Mary and dedicated himself with joy to the education of Jesus Christ, he is the guardian and protector of his mystical Body, the Church, for whom the Blessed Virgin is the figure and the model.”

He recalled the teaching of his predecessors in saying: “In this centenary of the publication of the encyclical “Quamquam pluries” by Pope Leo XIII, and in the line of the multisecular veneration for Saint Joseph, I desire to propose to your meditation, dear Brothers and Sisters, some reflections on the one to whom God ‘confided the custody of his most precious treasure’.”

John Paul II wanted to see the devotion towards Saint Joseph in the Church developed: “It is with joy, he said, that I accomplish this pastoral duty so that the devotion towards the Patron of the universal Church and the love for the Redeemer whom he served in an exemplary fashion may grow in all.”

Pope John Paul II added: “Thus, not only the entire Christian people will turn with more fervour to Saint Joseph and invoke his patronage with confidence, but he will always have before our eyes his humble and wise manner of serving and “participating” in the economy of salvation.”

“I esteem, in effect, that a renewed reflection on the participation of the Spouse of Mary in the divine mystery will allow the Church, heading towards the future with all humanity, to refind unceasingly its identity in the setting of the redemptive design, which has its foundation in the mystery of the Incarnation,” insisted Pope John Paul II.

“Joseph of Nazareth, the Pope said, has precisely ‘participated’ in this mystery more than anyone other than Mary, the Mother of the incarnate Word. He participated in it with her, drawn in the reality of the same salvific event, and he was the depository of the same love, through the power by which the eternal Father ‘has predestined us to be for him adopted sons through Jesus Christ’ (Ep 1, 5).”



ROME, Thursday 1st March 2007 (ZENIT.org)

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