Daily Prayer

WEDNESDAY THE TWENTY-SECOND OF MARCH, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

My adorable God, I humbly beseech you to accept the sacrifice I here, in all humility, desire to make you, of the remainder of my life; to be entirely employed, with the utmost vigour both of my soul and body, in your service and adoration. Pardon all the sins and offences of my life past, and be pleased to bestow upon me a steadfast faith, an ardent love, a humble and perfect obedience, and a will capable of no other inclination than what it shall continually receive from the absolute guidance of your divine will; to which I beg it may be ever perfectly subservient, with all readiness and cheerfulness. As all my thoughts and actions are continually before you, so I humbly beseech you, that they may never be unworthy of your divine presence, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

( Charles How )

PSALM SIXTY-TWO ( abridged )

Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul.

On God alone my soul in stillness waits;
from God comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.
In God is my strength and my glory;
God is my strong rock; in God is my refuge.

Put your trust in God always, my people;
pour out your hearts before God, for God is our refuge.
Put no trust in oppression; in robbery take no empty pride;
though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.

God spoke once, and twice have I heard the same,
that power belongs to God.

Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord,
for you repay everyone according to their deeds.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul.

O God, teach us to seek security,
not in money or theft,
not in human ambition or malice,
not in our own ability or power,
but in you, the only God,
our rock and our salvation. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Joseph of Nazareth (transferred from last Sunday)

All that we know of Joseph we learn from the first two chapters of Matthew and of Luke, together with passing references in the gospels. To say much else is to enter the wide field of speculation.

The story of Joseph in Matthew’s gospel leads us to understand that he had no marital relations with Mary prior to Jesus’ birth. So he is generally considered Jesus’ foster father. People speculate about Joseph’s age, since the last reference we have to him being alive is the curious story of Jesus at age twelve becoming separated from his parents on a trip to Jerusalem. Was he elderly? Had he been a widower with children from that marriage? Were the brothers and sisters of Jesus children he had with Mary, or step-children? Or cousins?

In the face of circumstances where a man of lesser character might have reacted very differently, Joseph graciously assumed the role of Jesus' father. He is well remembered in Christian tradition for the love he showed to the boy Jesus, and for his tender affection and care for Mary, during the twelve years and more that he was their protector. If we accept the doctrine of the Incarnation fully, then we understand that Jesus was born as any other child, and had to grow up as any child. Joseph then helps us understand this by the interactions of a boy with his father, raising Jesus faithfully in the traditions of Judaism, teaching him to be comfortable at the workplace, showing him a father’s love. If the grown Jesus went around preaching that God was a loving father, one wonders if the influence of Joseph was not helpful for Jesus in shaping that image.

The Gospels use the word "tekton' to describe Joseph, traditionally translated as 'Carpenter." Although it is also the same word used to describe an architect or builder. Justin Martyr, writing about 100AD makes a passing reference, that he has seen plows and ox-yokes still in use which were said to have been made in the carpenter-shop at Nazareth.

Whatever else we may say about him, the most lasting legacy of Joseph the carpenter, is what we see in the carpenter’s son.

Scripture. In the fourth chapter of "Proverbs," verses one to four, we read:

"Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight; for I give you good precepts: do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favourite, he taught me, and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.'"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for fathers.

... for carpenters, builders and architects.

... for workers, travellers, unborn children, immigrants and all congregations under the patronage of Saint Joseph.

... for universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. DETAILS

... for the continuation of peace and cooperation in Northern Ireland.

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From a sermon by Bernadine of Siena:

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favour chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfil the task at hand.

This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: “Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your lord.”

What then is Joseph’s position in the whole church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honourably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to Saint Joseph.

In him the "Old Testament" finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfilment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.

Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honour which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.

Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: “Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: “Enter into joy.”

His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate son and the spouse of his virgin mother: give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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