In the beautiful litany of St. Joseph, we call upon our spiritual Father under many varied titles:
Guardian of Virgins…
Head of the Holy Family…
Mirror of Patience….
Each invocation is striking in its individuality and yet seamlessly part of the whole in painting for us, by the strokes of these titles, the figure of the greatest and last of the patriarchs. Any of these is worthy to be the subject of our meditation, but one that brings itself to the forefront on this occasion is: “Christi Defensor Sedule”, Zealous Defender of Christ.
The revelation of the Church as His Mystical Body given to us by Our Lord, so beautifully set forth by St. Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians, is articulated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in these words:
Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. (CCC 795)
In this movement of Eucharistic revival in the United States Holy Mother Church reminds us, through our Bishops, to recentralize our lives around the Eucharist and the mystery of Christ’s presence amongst us (He Who Is, and who promised to be with us always…). This of course calls explicitly for a deepening and nourishing of our Eucharistic devotional life. However one may argue that what will cultivate the wondering disposition of soul that draws one to worship Christ in the Eucharist is the recognition of Christ’s presence within the souls of all the baptized and all that this entails: that the saints and angels are within and without and around us always; that the Virgin Queen of Heaven is our Mother; that St. Joseph, Foster-Father of the Redeemer is our foster-father also.
This “zealous defender of Christ” has the power given by God to protect the Church and all her members from temporal, but more especially spiritual harm. It is St. Joseph who, hastening to guard His foster-son’s Mystical Body, will defend the Church from the tepidity and skepticism which wage war against our faith in, and devotion towards, Our Lord in the sacrament of His love. It is he who, ardent in his defense of Our Lord’s Eucharistic Body, will protect Our Lord from the sacrileges, outrages and indifferences by which He is offended, and stir us to love for and defense of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. May St. Joseph, guardian and father of the Christus totus increase your faith and love, on this his feast and always.
Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis!