Difficult times call for creative courage, and no one lived that virtue better than St. Joseph.
Every moment we know from his life was a moment of crisis. He faced an unplanned, out-of-wedlock pregnancy. At the time of the baby’s due date, he was forced by law to make a long, hard journey to Bethlehem. Then he had to flee with his family more than a thousand miles to avoid the wrath of his king. Finally, on a visit to the big city, he faced the horrible possibility of child loss.
Yet he faced every crisis with peace. He trusted God and the guidance of the guardian angels — and so he could go forward in confidence and strength. He could act more freely, knowing that heaven was on his side.
This Year of St. Joseph is our chance to learn to live the same way: to be creatively courageous. Pope Francis calls us to consider the example of this great family man, and to bring his beautiful qualities into our homes, our families, our parishes, and our neighborhoods.
It begins with trust in heaven’s goodness and heaven’s help. We grow in that trust as we pray with the Scriptures that tell of St. Joseph … as we celebrate his feast days … and as we live this special year in his honor.
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Indulgences for the Year of St. Joseph
“Nothing unclean will enter” heaven (Revelation 21:27). We must convert our lives entirely to God before we can enjoy his glory forever. We can be purified passively in purgatory after our death — or we can seek such purification now, through prayer and good works. The Church attaches “plenary indulgences” to certain acts that can bring about this conversion of life. Jesus entrusted the Church with this power (Matthew 18:18). Through these acts we clean away the residues of sin and bring about complete healing. We can offer these indulgenced acts for ourselves or on behalf of a deceased person.
To gain an indulgence you must be in the state of grace — that is, you must be a practicing Catholic, unaware of any unforgiven mortal sins. You must make a good confession and desire a complete detachment from all sin. You should receive communion near the time you complete the indulgenced act. And you should pray for the pope’s intentions.
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