St. Joseph.—The Foster-father.

St. Joseph.—The Foster-father.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

St. Joseph.—The Foster-father.

At no great distance from the Mother of God stands His holy foster-father St. Joseph, the third person of that earthly trinity. What can we learn from him?
1. He is the true husband of Mary, united to her by a closer bond than any on earth save that which exists between the Mother and the Son. He is, moreover, the true earthly father of Jesus in everything except the fact of carnal generation. He has committed to him the care of God Himself, and of her who is dearer to God than all the world beside. He is, therefore, next to Mary, of all mankind the most privileged and the most exalted. How, then, can we honor him enough?
2. When God gives to any one an office, He gives him the virtues and the qualities which are required for its perfect exercise. What, then, must have been the virtues of St. Joseph! He must have had every virtue, not only in an eminent degree, but in a degree to which none other of the sons of men ever attained. In prudence, justice, humility, charity, he was far above all others. I therefore must ask of him every grace that I need.
3. Above all, St. Joseph was eminent for his unspotted purity. Many theologians assert that he was sanctified in his mother’s womb. None save Mary was ever so pure as he. This it was that qualified him for his intimate union with Jesus and Mary. If I desire to be united to them, I must be pure of heart. St. Joseph, obtain for me this grace of purity!

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Twelfth Night Prayer for the Third Day of Christmas.

O sweet Jesus, with Thy spouses let me love Thee; with Thy servants let me serve Thee; live for Thee, honor Thee, and follow Thee.

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