March, Month of Saint Joseph

The month of March is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Mother.

Here and there in the stark March landscape, a few plants and trees are beginning to give evidence of the new life that winter’s frost and chill had concealed from our eyes. The Church’s vibrant new life has been obscured, too, by the austerity of the penitential season of Lent. But that life is indisputable, and it will burgeon forth on Easter as Christ coming forth from his tomb!

During this month we will continue our journey to the cross with our acts of penitence. We will reflect on our mortality (“Remember man thou art dust“) and the shortness of life (“and to dust thou shall return”). We will heed the call, “Now is the acceptable time, now is “the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).” Just like Our Lord’s earthly life every moment of our lives is leading up to the last moment – when for eternity we will either go to God or suffer the fires of hell. During this month we will go from the suffering of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. We will trade the purple of penance for the white of victory and resurrection. The feast of the Annunciation, normally celebrated on March 25, has been transferred to Monday, April 9, the first day following the Easter Octave.

Let us not tire of doing our good works and penance, but continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism.

May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey – and not a forced march.

The Just Man

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph falls during Lent, this year on Monday, March 19, and the entire month of March is dedicated to him. We don’t know much about him except what is mentioned in the Gospels. Joseph was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus. Holy Scripture proclaims him as a “just man,” and the Church has turned to Joseph for his patronage and protection.

St. Joseph is invoked as patron for many causes. He is the patron of the Universal Church. He is the patron of the dying, because Jesus and Mary were at his death-bed. He is also the patron of fathers, of carpenters, and of social justice. Many religious orders and communities are placed under his patronage.

The Church encourages us to be devoted to Joseph because he was a model in the heroic practice of all the virtues. The example of virtuous living that he gave in the exact fulfillment of the duties of his state of life is worthy of our reflection. Read the gospel and you will see his faith, hope and charity practiced under trying circumstances. He was prudent in caring for his wife and the child; he showed great leadership in protecting them and assisting them. He was religious in every sense, with that delicacy and sincerity of conscience that is proper to the saints of God. He was just in his dealings with God and man. He was conspicuous for his fortitude and courage. He was truly outstanding in the practice of virginal chastity. More: he protected and defended Mary’s virtue in the time of courtship and all during their life together. They had made a promise of chastity, and because they were resolved to live it for God they were blessed above all others. While Mary inspired him to practice this virtue perfectly, he, as a real man, understood the profound meaning of her inspiration and how it came from a heart that was steeped in the love of God. Time and again the Church has made it clear that Joseph is not a saint for only a certain number of souls, but that he can help all men. — Excepted from St. Joseph: a Theological Introduction by Michael D. Griffin, O.C.D. (read it here).

The Holy Father’s Intentions for March

That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

Liturgical Living in March

As we continue our journey “up to Jerusalem” during the month of March, three prominent ideas are proposed for our contemplation by the liturgy of Lent: the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, baptism, and penance.

The Solemnity of St. Joseph is a special landmark this month in which we will celebrate the great honor bestowed upon the foster father of Jesus.

And if you are Irish (who isn’t), St. Patrick’s feast is another cause for a joyful celebration.

The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Katharine Drexel (March 3), St. Casimir (March 4), Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (March 7), St. John of God (March 8), St. Frances of Rome (March 9), St. Patrick (March 17) and St. Toribio de Mogrovejo (March 23). The feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (March 18) is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

The Holy Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday – take place the last week of March.

Learn more about the highlights of the month of March here.

Source: Catholic Culture