By Grace Small
The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph is a reference to the purity and holiness of the person of St. Joseph. Just as we honor Our Blessed Lord, by our devotion to His Most Sacred Heart and we honor Our Lady by our consecration to her Immaculate Heart, St. Joseph is the just and virtuous man privileged by God to be the virginal spouse and protector of the Virgin Mary and the Guardian of the Redeemer. We see the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph in his loving devotion to the Blessed Virgin and his great humility, recognizing his lowliness to be the protector of the King and Queen of Heaven and Earth. Their chaste virginal love for each other is the model of all married love. Just as the call to consecrated virginity is higher than Marriage, so too, their virginal Marriage was of the highest state, an eschatological sign of Heaven to which all hope to arrive. As Our Lord answered those who questioned whose husband the man who took many wives would belong, He answered, “For in the Resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in Heaven” (Mt 22:30). The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph exemplify the epitome of Divine charity and all the virtues of which the chastity, purity, self-denial, sacrifice and joy lived for the glory of God and our Salvation was their daily walk. The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph calls us to follow in this way according to our state in life.
One can say that no human being was more perfectly consecrated to Mary than St. Joseph and therefore in this sense we should also “Go to Joseph” to learn how to obtain, to find, to guard and even to restore the lost virtue of chastity. In our age immorality and vice proliferate by immodesty, fornication, contraception, divorce, adultery and abortion; the loss of the innocence of children occurs quickly either by parental neglect, exposure to indecent programs, social media and a perverse sex education in schools that indoctrinates the iniquitous gender theory; we live in a culture of death that approaches or surpasses the likes of Corinth, Sodom or Rome in its declining years. There is also the scandal caused by Catholic politicians who obstinately persist in promoting legislation in violation of the most fundamental truths of the Divine law. Our Lady of Fatima showed the three children hell in the July apparition 104 years ago, and told St. Jacinta years after that many souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh. As sinners, we must all turn to St. Joseph for help in the midst of a growing hedonistic culture that devalues the body to a degenerative state of immorality, immodesty and sterility. In this time of diabolical disorientation, when good is called evil and evil is called good, we need the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph to reorient the Mystical Body of Christ to our immortal and unchanging God. We are exhorted, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching” (Heb13:8-9).
The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph is a protecting heart whose sole concern is Jesus, Mary and YOU. When we turn to St. Joseph and entrust ourselves to him in reverence and confidence, he takes it as his obligation to help us save our souls through silence, prayer and penance so that we can regain the innocence we have lost in this culture. He will help us grow in chastity and purity of heart and lead us to the true love of God and neighbor. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ we must remember our dignity because we are members of the Holy Family and commit to conforming ourselves to this reality. We should examine our conscience every evening in the presence of St. Joseph. As a loving father with a merciful heart, he knows the cost of our Salvation is the Precious Blood of Jesus poured out for us on the cross; he mourned all his life in anticipation of the Passion of Our Lord, from the first shedding of the blood of the Child Jesus during the circumcision and in His presentation in the Temple. Joseph and Mary knew that the Messiah, their Son, was the suffering servant of Isaiah and the suffering which awaited Him for our Salvation. This Salvation is not “won and done” as our Protestant brethren believe, thinking they are saved once and for all regardless of subsequent sins and betrayals of Our Lord, but rather we must apply the merits of the Redemption to our daily lives cooperating with Our Lord and our sorrowful mother in loving gratitude, joy and sacrifice, even as we work out our Salvation daily in “fear and trembling” that we may not be lost. God is merciful but that is never a license for us to sin since we never know our final hour. Such presumption is foolhardy and we in humility must detach ourselves from this world as the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph did in his call by God to the duty of guarding Jesus and Mary, fleeing to Egypt to protect their lives from the persecution of Herod, to return when prompted by the angel after Herod’s death, to earn a decent living in honesty by the sweat of his brow to provide for the Holy Family
The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph is the heart of our Spiritual Guardian and intercessor before Jesus and Mary to preserve and protect us from a life of impurity and the road to hell which it leads. But we must invoke him, we must “Go to Joseph” in reverence and faith.
Small and her husband Bill have made their solemn profession as Third Order Franciscans of the Immaculate, through the Franciscans of the Immaculate in New Bedford.