Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Feast of St Joseph & St Joseph's Staircase to Heaven.

Selected Lenten Reflections: Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent. Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph March 19. We regularly ask St. Joseph for his intercession in building for us a staircase to Heaven. Tradition says he built the Miraculous Staircase in Loreto New Mexico.  

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, traditional families, virgins, workers, especially carpenters, expecting mothers and unborn children. Among many others, he is the patron saint of attorneys and barristers, emigrants, travelers and house hunters

The Loretto Chapel is a former Roman Catholic church in Santa Fe, New Mexico, now used as a museum and a wedding chapel. It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase (the "Miraculous Stair"), an exceptional work of carpentry that defies the laws of physics of its structure. The structure can stand on its feet without any kind of central support attached to it. An architectonical marvel.

While the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder are surrounded in mystery, the Sisters of Loreto credit St. Joseph with its construction.

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture.We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" Matthew 13:55. He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb - Luke 2:24

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew. both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38. Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly to not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him, 20 "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins," he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).

The Miraculous Staircase
Local tradition claim that when the chapel was ready, builders were faced with an unexpected problem: there was no way to climb from the nave to the choir, on the second floor. Some say it was an error in the design by the building’s architect, Antonio Mouly, could not solve, since he had already passed away

When the nuns insisted on building a staircase, the builders told them it would be impossible, and that building a normal, regular ladder would take too much room. They dvised the nuns to demolish the choir.The nuns decided they would pray a novena to St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters, asking for another solution.

Which reminds us of the prayer to
St. Joseph when we pray the Holy Rosay: "As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven."

On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. It is said that the staircase was built without nails, only wooden pegs. Questions alssurround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction. The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure, left without notice and without collecting his dues.

After searching for the man and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the full-length movie titled "The Staircase", starring William Petersen and Barbara Hershey.

Grant we pray almighty God that by Saint Joseph's intercession, your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


More Selected Lenten Reflections:

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The Catholic bishops of the United States has unanimously recommended the canonization of Servant of God, Dorothy Day.  On March 16, 2000, the Vatican granted the Archdiocese of New York permission to begin Dorthy Day canonization process. In 2021, her cause for Sainthood moved forward. 

Wednesday of the Fourth Week. 
Lenten Reflections: How Many Times Am Forgiven? How Many Times Do I forgive?

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent: Selected Lenten Reflections: Getting Ready to Celebrate St Patrick's Day - The Blessing of Beer

Mother St. Joseph , Noblewoman sold it all

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March 8, 2024 Friday Third Week of Lent Selected Reflections: Meet/Salute The Seven Women Saints Named In The Eucharistic Prayer At Mass

March 7, 2024 Thursday of Third Week of Lent Selected Reflections: 40 Hours Devotion

March 5, 2024 Tuesday of Third Week of Lent Selected Reflections: 24 Hours for the Lord

Pope Francis will open the 11th edition of the "24 Hours For The Lord" Lenten initiative this Friday, March 8, at the Roman parish of San Pio V.

March 4, 2024 Monday of Third Week of Lent Selected Reflections: Eucharistic Miracle

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March 4, 2024 Monday of Third week of Lent - Selected Reflections: See a need, fill a need, Myrtilla Miner

"If God allows me to live, I will devote my entire life to teaching slaves" - Myrtilla Miner

March 2, 2024, Third Saturday of Lent - Selected Reflections: The Power of Prayer, Padre Pio

March 2, 2024, Third Saturday of Lent - Selected Reflections: The Power of Prayer, Padre Pio

February 29, 2024, Thursday, the Second Week in Lent - Selected Reflections: Leap for Joy!

The only Leap Year Pope is Pope Paul III, born on Italy on February 29, 1468

February 28, 2024, Wednesday the Second Week in Lent - Selected Reflections: Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican

When my neighbor fails to kill my family, then calls me to visit him in prison. What do I do?

February 26, 2024, Monday of the Second Week in Lent - Selected Reflections

"The only time our Lord asked the apostles for anything was the night He went into agony. Not for activity did he plead but for an hour of companionship." - Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

February 23 2024 Friday, First Week of Lent, Selected Lenten Reflections: Servant of God Julia Greely

February 22 2024 Thursday, First Week of Lent, Selected Lenten Reflections: Blessed Carlo Acutis Highway to Heaven


Pope recalls importance of Holy Week in leaving lasting mark on our lives

In a video message to the Confraternities of Mérida, Spain, Pope Francis recalls how Holy Week is "a time of grace" to be dedicated to prayer and to our brothers and sisters most in need

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