Since Wednesday is Saint Joseph’s day, this feast of the “Terror Dæmonum” is such a treasure. It is only celebrated by certain religious orders in the Traditional Latin Mass, the third Wednesday after Easter (tomorrow). It is commemorated mainly by Discalced Carmelite monks and nuns in the Carmelite Rite of the Divine office, and if the priest celebrates the Carmelite Rite of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, this glorious feast day is also kept. If you are reading this, most of you have most likely never heard of this feast day; that is not surprising. I never heard of it either, until I entered Carmel, and was immersed in the particular liturgical calendar of the Carmelites. Because Saint Joseph’s feast of March 19th, consistently falls during Lent, this day is called the “solemnity” so it can be celebrated with “alleluia’s” during the season of Our Lord’s Resurrection more solemnly. There is also Saint Joseph the Worker, but that feast is immovable; it is always on May 1st. In a very beautiful way, since a solemnity is something celebrated in the highest rank in the Catholic Church, this feast of the Good Saint Joseph is the most important. So why is it kept hidden you may ask? Great question. Why does Saint Joseph speak not once in the Gospels? This tender Foster Father of Christ is a devoted lover of silence, and as my former Novice Mistress once said, “Our Lord likes to keep the things He loves most hidden for Himself alone.”
A few short but profound statements shared with me by my former Carmelite Confessor, now my current Spiritual Director:
I confided to this holy priest once, the powerful words from the holy rule of Carmel of, “in silence and hope shall your strength be”. I told him Mary was my hope and he immediately answered and said, “may Saint Joseph be your silence”. There was also a moment filled with providence with this same zealous member of the clergy. Before going to weekly confession with him, I desired to know the Seven Sorrows and Joys of Saint Joseph. I walked into the confession box saying nothing to Father about this desire, but when the confession ended, Father said, “for your penance meditate on the Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of Saint Joseph”. I left the confessional so bewildered, but full of awe and wonder. Proof that Our Lord truly speaks through His priests and fulfills all the desires of the heart, especially when they are really His desires all along. Since this was indeed my penance, I was able to ask my Mother Mistress for these Sorrows and Joys of the Saint and take them to heart right away. Plus, it’s nice to do something more than the standard “Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be” is it not? There were two sisters in my previous community named after Saint Joseph. One sister had March 19th for her feast, while the other had the Solemnity. It was a comical moment when the nun with the 19th feast said “wait, so does this mean my feast is not as important as sister’s [who had the Solemnity]?” Let us put it this way, ALL feasts of Saint Joseph are precious, so it has been a joy for me to see our Lady’s order celebrate the most feasts of Her beloved spouse, in the Carmelite Calendar. I may be prejudice, but I am a sole lover of an order that belongs totally, utterly and completely to Mary and the loyal Saint Joseph.
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass propers: