Click here to read "QUAMQUAM PLURIES" Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on devotion to St. Joseph

Pope Leo XIII, Quamquam Pluries: The dignity of the Mother of God is certainly so sublime that nothing can surpass it; but none the less, since the bond of marriage existed between Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, there can be no doubt that, more than any other person, he approached that supereminent dignity by which the Mother of God is raised far above all created natures. For marriage is the closest possible union and relationship whereby each spouse mutually participates in the goods of the other. Consequently, if God gave Joseph as a spouse to the Virgin he assuredly gave him not only as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, and the guardian of her honor, but also as a sharer in her exalted dignity by reason of the conjugal tie itself.


Pope Leo XIII, Quamquam Pluries: For Joseph, of royal blood, united by marriage to the greatest and holiest of women, reputed the father of the Son of God, passed his life in labor, and won by the toil of the artisan the needful support of his family. It is, then, true that the condition of the lowly has nothing shameful in it, and the work of the laborer is not only not dishonoring, but can, if virtue be joined to it, be singularly ennobled. Joseph, content with his slight possessions, bore the trials consequent on a fortune so slender, with greatness of soul, in imitation of his Son, who having put on the form of a slave, being the Lord of life, subjected himself of his own free-will to the spoliation and loss of everything.


Pope Leo XIII, Quamquam Pluries:  The Blessed Patriarch Joseph looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided especially to his trust - this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.

St. Joseph is pure, humble and obedient, whereas the Devil and his followers are the far opposite. They know nothing of love or purity and since these attributes are a part of the embodiment of St. Joseph, they are afraid of him. The serpent who seduced in the Garden of Eden—the Dragon who makes war on the Church in the Book of Revelation, is terrified of all that is true and holy. The Devil tempts Eve to disobey God because he is afraid of those who follow the Lord. By being afraid and at the same time too proud, the Devil resorts to manipulation and seduction to divert Eve from what is good, with Adam falling with her. The downfall of Adam and Eve is the Serpent’s triumph. Satan, in the guise of the Dragon of Revelation, makes war on the wondrous Woman Clothed with the Sun and seeks to devour her Son and those who follow him. The Dragon seeks to destroy what he does not know. He does not know love; therefore he is afraid of it, seeking to eradicate it. Since the Church is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, which was instituted by Christ himself, the Devil wants to destroy it. If he can conquer the Church, and those who are a part of it, he is victorious.

 

Pope Leo XIII knew this, and even after going to St. Michael the Archangel, he still wanted more reinforcement. In 1889 he composed the Encyclical Quamquam Pluries concerning devotion to St. Joseph. He called upon St. Joseph, because no saint, save the Blessed Virgin Mary, is as holy, as valiant, and as powerful as he is. Just as Satan is afraid of the Immaculate One, so too is he terrified of her Blessed Spouse. St. Joseph is pure of heart, body, mind and intention. St. Joseph was a man, born of a woman, and yet he is holier than the angels themselves! The demons were once holy angels and their pride brought about their downfall, so seeing this man who is all holy and all obedient to God, scares them. How could a mere man attain such greatness and glory through God? Their pride will not allow them to see this man. They are blinded with rage and are confused as to why God chose to subject himself as the Son of St. Joseph of Nazareth, a mortal.


When on Earth the Infant Jesus was hunted by King Herod, St. Joseph took him and his mother, stealing them away into the night. The Devil hoped that through the tyrant King, Jesus would be found and killed—putting a stop to God’s plan for salvation. Even before Jesus was born, St. Joseph himself was tempted to abandon the Blessed Virgin and the Son of God, but Satan would be disappointed as Joseph would prove to be, by the grace of God, the most determined of men. St. Joseph was to become one of the Devil’s greatest adversaries—even to this day.


St. Joseph was rewarded for all that he had done on Earth for God’s greater glory and has become a Prince in the Royal Court of Heaven as well as in the Holy Church on Earth. He has been granted the gifts of power and position and Satan knows this and loathes him for it. He reels with anger as he contemplates this man who God has deigned to elevate as the noble Prince of the Church. Since the Devil cannot destroy Jesus Christ, he tries to destroy the Church and those souls who are a part of it.


Pope Leo XIII, knowing the importance of St. Joseph and his position in Heaven, turns the Church, and the souls of the faithful, over to his care. The prayer he has composed is thematically similar to the prayer addressed to St. Michael, stressing the invocation for protection:


To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most Holy Spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through  that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin   Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength. O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. + Amen.


Pope Leo XIII has given the command to invoke and venerate a man and an angel—both beloved by the Heavenly Father. St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel are given to us by God as militant saints who are entrusted with the honorable duty of defending the Mystical Body of Christ. Let us not ignore the pleadings of this great Pontiff but rather take heed and listen to his words. The message of Pope Leo is just as urgent now as it was in the 19th century.


Thirty-three years later St. Joseph appeared at Fatima, Portugal on the very anniversary of the Vision of Pope Leo, October 13, 1917. In this apparition, St. Joseph traced the Sign of The Cross with his right hand, blessing the world, as if to say that he was still vigilant in his role as Patron of the Church and still keeping watch over the faithful. He will not abandon God’s Church, nor His people.