Tuesday, May 15, 2007

St. Joseph, my old friend, pray for us!

I am less than a month away from retirement from the University of Delaware after 28 years. I am like a kid approaching summer vacation, so antsy and so eager for freedom that I can barely concentrate at work at all these days!

I stumbled across this prayer to St. Joseph on Franciscan Focus, a blog of a Secular Franciscan named Lisa who herself has a devotion to St. Joseph.

I prayed this prayer to start my day off, and hope for a better concentration at work these last few weeks.

As I was saying this prayer, I was flooded with gratefulness that I am not alone in loving and living the piety of the past centuries of Catholic culture. It was so difficult, when I came back to the Church, to see all of the effusive, open-hearted older prayers and devotions banished from the landscape, and to see the hip, with-it prayers that tried so hard to be relevant to modern sensibilities. When I was a young Catholic revert, I used to buy the saints' writings and the prayer books from Tan Publishers, who were just about the only people putting out any of the old stuff. The quality of the books was not great, and I felt like a Catholic nerd just embracing the older forms of piety that were so completely out of vogue during the 70's, 80's and 90's.

I remember doing novenas in my home, praying the rosary, having a crucifix, and feeling sad that I would never do those things again with others. I devoured the modern theology, loved David Tracy and Karl Rahner and the German Protestant biblical guys like Bultmann and Jeremias. But I was SO SAD that the pious practices I loved as a child were not only completely gone but were made fun of, trivialized, and otherwise consigned to the dustbin of "ignorant pre-Vatican II Catholicism."

I am glad I lived long enough to see a revival of Catholic culture and piety.

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who
devote their lives to labor,

Obtain for me the grace to work
in the spirit of penance
in order thereby to atone
for my many sins.

To work conscientiously,
setting devotion to duty
in preference to my own whims.

To work with thankfulness and joy,
deeming it an honor to employ and
to develop by my labor
the gifts I have received from God.

To work with order, peace,
moderation, and patience,
without ever shrinking from
weariness and difficulties.

To work above all with a pure intention
and with detachment from self,
having always before my eyes
the hour of death and the accounting
which I must then render
of time ill spent, of talents wasted,
of good omitted, and
of vain complacency in success,
which is so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary,
all in imitation of you,
O Patriarch Joseph!

This shall be my motto in life
and in death. AMEN.

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