A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Swooning over St. Joseph!

During my years at college, a popular Friday/Saturday-evening tradition among some of the girls in my dorm was to have a “Pride and Prejudice” BBC miniseries marathon in the TV lounge. Even though Colin Firth (aka, Mr. Darcy) was much more pleasurable to look at than the financial statements required by my accounting assignments, I always scoffed when some of the girls professed that they were “holding out for a Mr. Darcy.” Sure, Darcy had a certain aristocratic charm…but what was the use in having an anachronistic crush on a guy wearing tight pants and a top hat?

Lately, I’ve realized that all of the women who swoon over Darcy are doing well by looking up to a man of such good character. What is it about Darcy that has caused him to be the object of admiration of thousands of women? I presume that they look beyond his looks and wealth and really admire how he was a respectable man who was willing to sacrifice his own high social standing so that he could love and marry a virtuous woman who came from scandalous circumstances.

Doesn’t that description sound a lot like St. Joseph? If a man with that kind of courage and self-sacrifice was good enough for Our Lady, I’ve realized that I was foolish to laugh at the girls who seek a man with similar qualities.

Even though God lovingly willed that I be born on the Feast of Blessed St. Joseph (March 19th), I haven’t recently given this holy Saint the praise and devotion that is due to him. However, ever since I saw The Nativity Story, I’ve been contemplating just how worthy St. Joseph is of our love and devotion! Moreover, James Bond, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Sparrow, et. al. will have to step aside for St. Joseph, because The Nativity Story does an excellent job at depicting him as a very “crush-worthy” man for women to admire!

St. Joseph’s status as a “heartthrob” is not immediately apparent. At least in the movie, Joseph looks less like a “heartthrob” and more like Brad Delp from the 70s arena-rock band Boston. Even traditional Catholic art and iconography depict St. Joseph as either an older man or as having ordinary looks. Neither scripture nor the movie depict him as being very romantic in the colloquial sense of the word- in the film, Joseph gives Mary an old donkey as an engagement gift, which she bemusedly accepts. Indeed, it’s only after you think outside the box that you realize that he’s (pardon the pun) no “ordinary Joe” ….

- St. Joseph didn’t own fancy transportation....but he did have a sturdy donkey that carried Our Lady and Our Lord into safety.

- St. Joseph didn’t have the money to buy a large and fancy house…but he had the love to build with his own hands a little custom-made house for Our Lady and Our Lord.

- St. Joseph’s extraordinary love and self-sacrifice must have “rubbed off” on Our Lord, since Jesus went on to commit the ULTIMATE act of love and self-sacrifice!

- St. Joseph was very supportive of his wife’s “career,” since Our Lady ultimately was “promoted” to the status of the Queen of Heaven!

- St. Joseph, besides Jesus, is the paragon of a man who truly loves and respects women in the way that God intended it. His celibate marriage to Our Lady in no way prohibited him from loving her with all his heart!

In preparation for Christmas, I’m sure that St. Joseph would love for us to ask his intercession so that we may prepare our hearts for the coming of Our Lord! Indeed, this time of year can be very hectic with pre-Christmas preparations….if we pray to Joseph, I’m sure he’ll grant us peace and patience. After all, he was an expert at remaining calm during the hectic time of the census!

Here is a very useful link that guides you through the powerful “Chaplet of St. Joseph.”

Here is a link for the “Litany of St. Joseph” in both English and Latin. It shows his many titles!

Below is a beautiful prayer to St. Joseph, the Guardian of Virgins:

Saint Joseph, Guardian of virgins and father, to whose faithful care Christ Jesus, innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were entrusted, I ask and beg of thee, through these two dearest pledges, Jesus and Mary, preserve me from all defilement, and make it always possible for me unsullied in mind, pure in heart, and chaste in body to give to Jesus and Mary my holiest service. Amen.

Have a peaceful and prayerful remaining couple of days of Advent. Please pray to dearest St. Joseph- remember, he was an “ordinary Joe” whom God called to an extraordinary life!


Blogger Charles of New Haven said...

Good to hear from you at Christmas, Chiara. Joseph is my confirmation Saint, and I have always placed my travel and work under his intercession.

Merry Christmas to you and all you pray and celebrate with in these days!

11:12 AM  

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