by ~G.K. Chesterton
If the stars fell; night's nameless dreams
Of bliss and blasphemy came true,
If skies were green and snow were gold,
And you loved me as I love you;

O long light hands and curled brown hair,
And eyes where sits a naked soul;
Dare I even then draw near and burn
My fingers in the aureole?

Yes, in the one wise foolish hour
God gives this strange strength to a man.
He can demand, though not deserve,
Where ask he cannot, seize he can.

But once the blood's wild wedding o'er,
Were not dread his, half dark desire,
To see the Christ-child in the cot,
The Virgin Mary by the fire?

**G. K. Chesterton wrote a poem early on in his life, entitled Joseph. In this poem he uses his own experience in falling in love with the woman he would go on to marry (and who helped him take the final steps to convert to Christianity) – Frances – to enter into the experience of Saint Joseph. We do not have here a description of the duties that Joseph would have had as guardian of Our Lord and protector of Our Lady, but Chesterton conveys beautifully the sense of yearning and of infinite possibility that accompanies one when falling in love. It is in this context – of Joseph’s pure love for Mary (modelled in part on Chesterton’s own love for Frances) – that we read of the ‘strange strength‘ that God gives a man in order to become a husband, and are given intimations of the great fidelity shown by Saint Joseph as husband of the Mother of God.
As for Mary herself, she does admittedly play something of a passive role in this poem, but it is only so that we may consider just how pure of heart and great of soul (as well as physically beautiful) she is – the Joseph of this poem is led to speak with such reverence as he does because of the greatness of the Lady he loves, and her unsurprising virtue is thereby implicit. Finally though, in the last stanza, Chesterton makes a bold move and considers the feelings of Saint Joseph after ‘the blood’s wild wedding o’er‘ – i.e.; after the emotions of love had subsided somewhat, and he is left with the awesome task of protecting and providing for the Christ-child and the Blessed Virgin. The image employed here invokes a feeling of homeliness, but is also accompanied by a fearfulness, for he is not only now shouldering the responsibilities that any husband and father must, but is watching over the Word of God and the sinless one who bore Him:
Remember, O most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, my beloved Patron, that never it has been heard that anyone invoked your patronage and sought your aid without being comforted. Inspired by this confidence I come to you and fervently commend myself to you. Despise not my petition, O dearest foster father of our Redeemer, but accept it graciously.

Saint Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I come to you as an example for holiness, for you are especially close with God. Therefore, I humbly commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:
(Mention your request)
O glorious St. Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor we now request. (mention your request)
O guardian of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
J~O~S~E~P~H J~O~S~E~P~H Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 03:41 Rating: 5

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