Father Higgins: Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons
At a time when folly has reached such a level that there are people who would actually use ritual satanism as a way to épater la bourgeoisie (that is, doing things to shock conventional people), it is a solace to us to consider the Patronage of Saint Joseph under his title Terror of Demons. Historically, this Sunday in the Easter Cycle belongs to Saint Joseph. In 1847, at the beginning of his long reign as Pope, Pius IX introduced a feast of Saint Joseph during Eastertide. He called it the Patronage of Saint Joseph and it was appointed for the Third Sunday after Easter (4th Sunday of Easter).
Then in 1912, Pope Pius X changed the practice by having a Solemnity of Saint Joseph celebrated on the Wednesday of the third week of Easter and making this a feast with an Octave. Thus, the Sunday of the Patronage of Saint Joseph falls within the Easter Octave of Saint Joseph.
This Easter Solemnity of Saint Joseph remained in place until 1955 when Pius XII superseded it with a new feast of St. Joseph the Workman, which he appointed for May 1st, “May Day”—the very day which the Communist parties had appropriated as their show-of-force in the streets, with mass marches and parades. The Catholic Church’s Saint Joseph the Workman was to be the counter-point to a very powerful political ideology which claimed speak to exclusively for the working class and which, following Karl Marx, despised religion, particularly Christian religion, as the opiate of the people.
Devotion to Saint Joseph, and the faith-belief that is expressed through it, directs us to a confidence in prayer. Writing in the 1800s, Dom Prosper Guéranger says of Saint Joseph:
Extraordinary as is this power, need we be surprised at its being given to a man like Joseph, whose connections with the Son of God on earth were so far above other men? Jesus deigned to be subject to Joseph here below; now that He is in Heaven, He would glorify the creature to whom to whom He consigned the guardianship of His own Childhood and the honor of His Mother. He has given him a power which is above our calculations. Hence it is that the Church invites us on this day to have recourse, with unreserved confidence, to this all-powerful Protector.
St. Teresa of Avila (+1582) was instructed by Heaven with regard to the powerfulness of Saint Joseph’s intercession. She says:
I took for my patron and lord the glorious St. Joseph, and recommended myself earnestly to him. I saw clearly…that he rendered me greater service than I knew how to ask for. I cannot call to mind that I have ever asked him at any time for anything which he has not granted: and I am filled with amazement, when I consider the great favors which God hath given me through this blessed Saint, the dangers from which he hath delivered me, both of body and soul. To other Saints, Our Lord seems to have given grace to succor men in some special necessity; but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, to help us in all: and Our Lord would have us understand that, as He was Himself subject to him upon earth—for St. Joseph, having the title of father, and being His guardian, could command Him— so now in Heaven He performs all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they too know this by experience; and there are many who are now of late devout to him having had experience of this truth.
Reposted with permission from Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish, Newton MA