Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Devotion to St. Jospeh; Patron Sant of The Home

Crain's Chicago Business has a marginally thought-out article on the use of St. Joseph icons in home sales. There is a practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard of houses that are for sale.

Crain's polls a few sources for their opinion

"It's tacky; crass marketing," huffs Sister Anne Joan Flannigan, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, which operates the store. "It's making the statue an idol, as if it is magical." (note from JBP...Sr. Anne is a wonderful person, but not very reflective here on the context of Devotion)


Todd Williamson, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Divine Worship, says the church neither endorses nor prohibits the practice — or sale of kits at Catholic bookstores.

"There's no question that some people do that out of faith, others do it out of superstition or may not even know who St. Joseph is," he says.

Both of these opinions strike me as uncharitable at best and sacrilegious under scrutiny. A devotion to St. Joseph should certainly be welcomed by all Catholics and any respectful person who reflects on the history and traditions of Christianity. Surely there are multiple paths to find Christ, none of which should be dismissed as "idol worship" or "superstition". What better way to learn more about St. Joseph than to start with a devotion to Mary's husband?

A good friend of mine from Dwight, Illinois told me the history of the Keeley Institute, an alcohol treatment center that "cured" alcoholics by injecting them with gold dust (perhaps curing them by killing them first). As he stated, a devotion to St. Martin of Tours was certainly a more likely cure than the accepted scientific wisdom at the time.

I'll paraphrase Chesterton's Aquinas on the projection that St. Peter stands at the Gates of Heaven with a list of who is in and who is out. Aquinas said (something like) "Your belief can do no harm and serves the logic of the heavenly kingdom".

I think we have too few devotions today and should welcome more devotions to any and all of the Saints to assist us in our day to day lives.

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