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Accueil > Family of Louis and Zelie > The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #35

The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #35

March 13, 2020

One day Mother Agnes saw Saint Thérèse, her sister, sitting in the garden of Carmel in her wheelchair throwing flowers at the statue of Saint Joseph wedged in the wall. She asked her: « What are you doing? » Is it to obtain some grace? » And Thérèse replied: « Ah no! It’s to make him happy. »

It’s to make him happy

In this month of March dedicated to Saint Joseph, it is good for us to remember this gratuitous love that Thérèse bore him and to “make him happy” in our turn by celebrating the solemnity of his feast on the 19th.

Described as a « just man, » Saint Joseph turns out to be so when learning that the Virgin Mary is pregnant – and having no reason to doubt the one in whom he had put his trust – he decides by obedience to the law to repudiate her, but do so in secret. Then, enlightened by the angel’s message, he does not hesitate to take her into his home. He proves to be a « righteous man » by this trust that he manifests in the hands of the Lord, consenting to let himself submit to his purposes. Allowing himself to submit…

This love of Thérèse for Saint Joseph, we also find it in the life of her parents

It is beautiful to think that after having entrusted their two boys to him by putting them under his patronage, and despite this, after having lost them both, the Martin couple does not hold it against him. In fact, they do not follow the advice that Sister Marie-Dosithée gives to her sister to call the child she is carrying François if he is a boy, « as if she suspected the good Saint Joseph to have taken my children! I replied that he would die from it or not die from it, but that I would call him Joseph. » (CF 87 to her brother Isidore, March 1, 1873)

The child turns out to be a girl: Thérèse. When she went from worse to worse, and having only the meager hope of Rose Taillé’s breastmilk to be saved, it was to Saint Joseph that Zélie turned when going up to her room. « I knelt at the feet of Saint Joseph and asked him for mercy, that the little one be cured, resigning myself completely to the will of God if He wanted to take her. I don’t cry often, but I cried while I was praying. » (CF 89 to her sister-in-law, March 1873) And we know how her prayer was heard…

Like the Martin family, Pope Francis shows great confidence in Saint Joseph

As Saint Pope John XXIII had done for the first Eucharistic prayer, he asked that the name of « Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, » after that of the Virgin, be mentioned in three Eucharistic prayers. And we remember his words during his inauguration Mass on March 19, 2013, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph: « In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! »

We can meditate on the Announcement made to Joseph (Mt 1,18-21,24)

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

And the commentary given by Saint Pope John Paul II (in his apostolic exhortation Redemptoris custos on the figure and the mission of Saint Joseph in the life of Christ and the Church of August 15, 1989)

17. In the course of that pilgrimage of faith which was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God’s call until the end. While Mary’s life was the bringing to fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the moment of Joseph’s own « annunciation » he said nothing; instead he simply « did as the angel of the Lord commanded him » (Mt 1:24). And this first « doing » became the beginning of « Joseph’s way. »

Let us pray with these verses from Psalm 118

105. Your Word is the light of my steps,
the lamp of my road. […]
108. Accept my prayer as an offering, Lord:
teach me your decisions.
111. Your demands will remain my heritage,
the joy of my heart.

And finally, give your greeting to St Joseph, like the one we give to the Virgin Mary

I salute you, Joseph,
You that divine grace has showered.
The Savior rested in your arms and grew before your eyes.
The Savior rested in your arms and grew before your eyes.
You are blessed among all men
and Jesus, the divine child of your virginal wife is blessed.
Saint Joseph, given as father to the Son of God,
pray for us in our family, health and work concerns, until our last days,
and deign to rescue us at the hour of our death. Amen

You can count on the prayers of the sanctuary of Louis and Zélie in Alençon.

Fr. Thierry Hénault-Morel
Rector of the Shrine of Louis et Zélie in Alençon