Friday, May 2, 2008

Fabri Filius

Christ our God did not esteem it beneath Him to be called the Son of a carpenter: for He was indeed the true Artisan and Architect and Author of the universe. Come, let us adore Him! And may St Joseph His foster-father intercede for us, that He may save our souls!

Since in the old calendar St Joseph the Workman is a 1st class feast [albeit only since its inception in 1956, displacing the Apostles Philip and James, no less, to the 11th!], it was transferred to today from yesterday by reason of the Ascension, and so completely supplanted St Athanasius for this year - whereas, in the new calendar, St Joseph the Worker is only an optional memorial, and so either was supplanted by Ascension Thursday, or celebrated at the choice of the priest yesterday in all places where the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday, thus leaving St Athanasius to be celebrated as a memorial today. Confusing?

In the event, since I use the modern Office, I read the Hours of St Athanasius, but his proper only contained a second reading and a collect, so, as is one's choice for memorials, the rest I took from the ferial day of the Friday after Ascension (as I had read the Ascension Office yesterday, tho' strictly here in Australia I should have waited till Sunday for that). My car having been repaired (see a recent posting below, and my comment updating the tale), when I got to the Pro. about ten past six in the evening, shortly after sunset, I found that all therein was instead, according to the '62 Ordo, in honour of St Joseph - we had Litany of St Joseph at the end of the Holy Hour, just prior to the actual Benediction, and Low Mass was of the feast, with Fr wearing his best white chasuble (bought in Rome last year), and preaching...

The sermon, as always, focussed on the saving of our souls (what else is as important?), and was vintage Fr Rowe: after talking of St Joseph, named in Holy Writ a "just man", who did nothing extraordinary, who did not preach or die martyred, but who did all for God and in God, and thereby won heaven, he mentioned the following examples of just and righteous workmen: St Isidore, a farmer; St Deusdedit, a humble shoemaker; St Florus, a stonemason (who was, however, a martyr); and St Onesimus and St Notburga, servants. May we be like the hermit who before any action cast his eyes up to heaven, remarking that if we remind ourselves of our goal - God - we will not miss our mark. Our having a good intention in all our works is a "holy alchemy", transforming merely natural goods into supernatural merits, for we ought in all things work for God, and do all our works in Him and by His grace.

St Joseph is the great model for us in our lives and labours: he who taught Our Lord his trade, and was graced above all other men to hold the high state of foster-father of the Son of God. To quote the prayer that is the second Alleluia verse today:

Fac nos innocuam, Joseph, decurrere vitam: sitque tuo semper tuta patrocinio.

(Joseph, make us to run an innocent life: and may it ever be shielded by thy patronage.)

St Isidore the farmer,
pray for us!

St Onesimus, patron of servants,
pray for us!

St Notburga, patroness of poor servants,
pray for us!

I made the happy error, BTW, of reading the ferial second reading at Office of Readings, before I corrected my mistake and read the proper one for St Athanasius, and thus I was granted to savour the magisterial, magnificent and majestic sermon of Pope St Leo the Great - what a Pope! - for the Ascension (Serm. II, nn. 1-4; read the whole sermon in an older translation here, or, better, let Fr Z read it to you!), commenting, in a manner very congenial to my personal adoration of our Lord, on the fact that we no longer know Christ "according to the flesh", κατα σαρκα (II Cor. v, 16), that is, as if He were but a man only, as during His earthly life He would have seemed to be to those lacking supernatural insight, but instead now as He truly Is, God Incarnate, our alone-sufficient Redeemer, because at once both God and Man:

...we commemorate and solemnize the day on which our lowly nature was raised up in Christ above all the host of heaven, above all the ranks of the angels, beyond the height of all the heavenly powers, to the throne of God the Father. We were founded and built on this succession of divine acts, so that the wonder of God's grace might become even greater; for, though everything that seemed to move us to due reverence is removed from our sight, our faith remains constant, our hope firm and our charity warm.
The viisble presence of our Redeemer passed over into sacraments; and so that faith might be more noble and firmer, it is grounded now not on sight but on doctrine.
The apostles... fixed their minds on Christ's godhead as he sat on his Father's right hand. The evidence of their eyes no longer held back their mental vision from contemplating this truth, that the Son descended from his Father without leaving him, and ascended from his disciples without leaving them.

For the Son of man, dearly beloved, was revealed more perfectly and more solemnly as the Son of God once he had returned to the glory of his Father's majesty, and in a mysterious way he began to be more present to them in his godhead once he had become more distant in his humanity.

Then faith gained deeper understanding and by a leap of the mind began to reach our to the Son as the equal of the Father.

Now I must attend to my Novena to the Holy Ghost...

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