Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Prayer to Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph has guided and protected our family, particularly over the past eight or so turbulent months. When we prayed for guidance and direction about where to live, our prayers for intercession were directed to Saint Joseph, beloved foster father of Our Blessed Lord. Although we are now happily moved and settled into a new home and parish, we have friends who are in the throes of moving or buying or selling houses, so we've continued our nightly novena to Saint Joseph for their intentions. I thought that those readers who have not come across it might want to add it to their prayer armoury.

The beautiful picture (above) of Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus hangs in our home. I was told by our dear friend Pater Michael Mary that it is a copy of a very old picture recovered from inside a chimney when the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer were renovating a building. You can obtain a copy of this lovely devotional picture for yourself from the Papa Stronsay website (it's possibly the best £2 you will ever spend).

The prayer can be said as a one-off, as a novena (with the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be appended to it) or (as we've done) as a rolling perpetual novena. However the prayer is said, Saint Joseph, the quiet man of the Gospels, is listening.

Prayer to Saint Joseph

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O Saint Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. 

Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. 

Holy Saint Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis!

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Versus populum Masses make me uncomfortable

It struck me the other evening how enriching the ad orientem orientation is for the layperson in the pews. As our priest led the faithful in the prayers of the (silent) Canon towards the consecration, I was absorbed in prayer, my eyes focused on the figure of the infant Jesus in his Blessed Mother's arms above the crucifix on the altar. There was something profoundly moving about the Blessed Sacrament being lifted in adoration towards both the representation of the Crucifixion and that of Our Lord and his Mother.

Later, in contemplation after Holy Communion it occurred to me that this intense visual focus would not have been possible if the priest was saying Mass versus populum: even if the priest was a master of directing his gaze away from the congregation, there would be something uncomfortable, even unseemly about staring in the general direction of a person for an extended period -- even if the stare wasn't directed at the priest.

Ad orientem, the priest all but disappears: he is in alter Christus  - he is a conduit for the sacrifice of the Mass, not the "show".  This applies whether the Mass is in English or Latin, the Traditional Mass or the Novus ordo.  In our culture staring at a person is considered bad manners, a habit avoided from childhood onwards. Ad orientem the priest as person disappears leaving the worshipper free to worship without constraint, without self consciousness, with fewer barriers to their relationship with God.