Man at Play by Hugo Rahner, S.J.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working my way through Der spielende Mensch (Man at Play), originally published in German in 1952, by the lesser known of the Rahner Brother. Hugo is the older brother of Karl Rahner and is perhaps better know for his work in Mariology.  Pope Benedict XVI notes that the Marian title of “Mother of the Church” is derived from Hugo’s work on Ambrose. I was introduced to this book about a decade ago when I was in school and started reading it in the library but never finished reading it. I finally got a copy of the book so I was able to finish it, and this post is going to be like an overview of my thought on the whole book so it will be a bit long.

Often as we grow up we are told to “put away childish thing” and forget about play to focus on the serious things in life. However, this book takes a look at the role of play in the life of humankind. We start in the preface where Walter Ong, SJ talks about how work and play derive from the same source noting that the Latin word ludus translates to both school and play. This is where it begins as children are learning through play this method is used in several educational approaches. Ong continues that the best players in a game are professionals and their work is play this is similar to how the best workers are doing something where they can play around with things. Play at it’s core is imitation from children playing house and with dolls assuming the roles of parents to when you are becoming a teacher you get up in front of a class to present something. Sure most of the time when we think of play it is as a child playing outside or playing video games or our minds drift to the world of the arts. Ong suggests the play need to take play more seriously. We are the results of God’s play as it is the giving of life, first by creation and then by redemption.

Turning to the book, we start with an introduction which gives us the general idea of what is to come in the book. Rahner starts with looking at how we have understood play from the Early Church to the modern times with F.J. J. Buytendijk and Herman Hesse. Rahner begins with Thomas Aquinas, who devotes a whole section in his Summa Theologica (II. II. q 168. art 2-4) to play. In this section Aquinas mentions the Aristotelian concept of eutrapelia, which is the mean between boorishness and buffoonery to which we should all strive for or you could put it as is the nimbleness of mind which is an essential human ideal. Aristotle also says that “Recuperative rest and cheerful play seem to be necessary for life.” Aquinas puts this idea to the very heart of the Christian life.

Rahner divides the book into five chapters. The first looks at God at play Deus ludens from there he turns in chapter  two to the playing of man Homo ludens  The third chapter combines to two and look at the playing of the church which leads into the heavenly dance between the two in chapter four. Rahner concludes the book focusing on Eutrapelia which comes from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics which Aquinas also pulls from.

In God at Play we start with Plato’s idea that human kind is a plaything of God, which is the highest perfection of creation. Rahner then bring up the idea that the creation of the world and man happened though a divinely meaningful act was by no mean necessary. We serve not purpose for God other than being a plaything, and Rahner says that this is the best thing about us as it points us to make of ourselves the noblest game. Both Creation and incarnation are expression of God’s love and this love is a love that works in creative freedom wholly ungoverned by necessity or constraints

Turning to Man at play Rahner begins once again rooting ourselves in the Greek tradition with Plotinus, who called Man a living plaything and expressed that all things strive to the vision of God. Rahner continues we all imitate, as far as in us lies the quality of God’s own creative power. This idea is expressed very well by Stephen Schwartz in his musical Children of Eden where he wrote that “I am an echo of the eternal cry of Let there be” in the song Spark of Creation “The spark of creation, is flickering within me/ The spark of creation, is blazing in my blood/ A bit of the fire that lit up the stars/And breathed life into the mud, the first inspiration.” This brings us to two important aspects of Earthly life, firstly existence is a joyful thing and secondly it is also a tragic thing.  This makes humankind “grave-merry”, a mingling of the light-hearted and the serious.

As we look at the playing of the Church Jesus is brought into this conversation, as God gave us Jesus and we can only respond to this with a love that is equally uncalculating and free. Rahner turns some Doctors of the Church, Gregory of Nazianzus who mentioned God’s playing that is in the incarnation when God became man in Jesus. This is a wonderful love-play hybrid and we all encounter this in different ways. As Thérèse of Lisieux desired to be nothing more than a toy, a little ball for the child Jesus, for a toy has no value a ball can be thrown on the ground and left or it can be treasured. This is where many get lost but it’s just echoing the call for “the little children to come to me.” The Church itself find itself in the actions of its members, we need to remember that we all the little Children that are being called no matter how old we are and we need to listen.

The next section we turn to the Heavenly Dance between the sacred and us. In fact there is a secret hidden at the core of play, that we hope for another life taking visible form in gesture. This is the longing for a vision of the divine and when we play is it a reaching out to this. Distilled one can say that play is dance. Scholars, philosophers and rhetoricians all seems fixated on this dance. Lucian of Samosata, wrote that “a man can only dance correctly and with beauty if he knows human nature and so is truly wise” he continues calling dance “the art of incarnating the spiritual and making visible the invisible.” Here is a deep concept that seems simple we must learn and grow to be able to be apart of the heavenly dance. The dance has been described through the ages like the stars as we are stardust or we are made of star stuff. Philo of Alexandria notes that God desires that the soul of the wise should be like heaven brought down to earth. Rahner then turns to the famed dancer from the Bible, David as he dance before the Lord with all of his might. To join in this dance isn’t to step up with our bodies but with our soul as well for dancing means changing the manner of our lives and bringing our body and soul into harmony.

We finally have gotten to the section on Eutrapelia, Aristotle’s golden mean between boorishness and buffoonery. Rahner calls this the forgotten virtue and talk about how Thomas Aquinas found this concept in Aristotle and it’s been stuck at the same point ever since in the moral theology. I find it easy to understand as it is a balance between the work and play is essential in all of our lives. Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics says that eutrapelia is play for the sake of seriousness and he also tells us of Anacharsis’s motto “Play in order that you may work” which seems like a radical idea even today when so many of us are so focused on the seriousness of life but it is great advice. There is also some discussion that there is a time and place for everything and we should keep this in mind. As we try to bring balance to the world through play.

I think what this really all boils down to is love. Sure it’s one of the major topic I talk about here but it is the most important thing that we can do in out lives. It goes back to that Great Commandment or the Golden Rule, you know as the Ancient Egyptian put it “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.” As we enter this season of Lent let us all be inspired to bring eutrapelia back to the world and try to encounter the world with love first and foremost as well as being open to the call from the Lord to “Come to him like little children”.

Admirabile Signum

In the latest Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis he turns his attention to the Nativity Scene. Admirabile Signum is on the meaning and importance of the Nativity scene. The Nativity/Creche is a way to draw us into the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, where we are invited to start a spiritual journey as Francis points out “We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.”  His Holiness encourages us all to put up a Nativity scene in our homes and workplace, in schools, hospitals, prisons and town squares. This tradition come from our parents and grandparents, and Francis hopes that this tradition never gets lost.

We next go through the History of the Creche, from the Gospel and early Church Fathers we can see that the emphasis on Christ as food was there from the start with Jesus being laid in a manger. The Creche we know comes from Francis of Assisi who in late November of 1288 was in the town of Greccio, near Rieti in Italy coming back from getting his Rule approved by Pope Honorius III, which reminded Francis of the Bethlehem countryside. Francis asked a local man to help Francis see what it might have looked like a manger, an ox and a donkey. On Christmas of that year the friars came to the Caves in Greccio where they experienced, a new and indescribable joy in the presence of the Christmas scene, and they celebrated the Eucharist over the manger echoing the Early Church Fathers. From this event everyone went home filled with joy.

This turns to the different aspects of the Nativity scene where there are some standards but if we add more to it why not as it shows that the whole world has come to embrace Jesus. The Creche is one of the important parts of the season but it also is an example of the passing down of our faith. If you have some time during this Christmas seasons to read this whole letter why not go for it. Just a reminder that the season begin today and  we’ve got at least 11 more days of Christmas to go



Christus Vivit

Pope Francis recently released the Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit from the synod on the Youth. It is rather long document consisting of nine chapter which are made up of around 300 paragraphs and took me awhile to get through it all. This is a long post and I hope that it breaks down this monumental text as it is something that needs to be read by everyone.

It starts with Pope Francis giving an overview of whats to come he addresses not only young people but all people and that he is going to sort of summarize the proposal the final Document from the Synod that he considers most significant. The first chapter just goes through the Bible and points out like every time youth or young is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Pointing out some of the many young in the Bible from Joseph, David and others. This continues by puling some of the many great quotes from the classic like the humble oneself like the little children. In the second chapter the focus is put on Jesus noting that we hardly get anything from when Jesus was a youngster, we go from the Presentation in the Temple to the escape to Egypt to the finding in the Temple then time passes and it’s the Baptism. It also goes on to talk about Mary and “young Saints” from Saint Sebastian to Blessed Chiara Badano. Sure, the Church has had it problems with trying to address the young along with the problems with the sexual and financial scandals that have plagued the church in recent years.

Turning to the third chapter the Pope points out that the young are not just the future of the world but also today. So many in the world tend to ignore what the youth are saying, just look at the US and gun control after two decades of school shooting and nearly nothing has changed. Pope Francis goes on to say that the concept of youth doesn’t exist and there are “only young people, each with the reality of his or her own life.” From here it shifts and looks at the various difficulties that these young people face including the digital world; a glance at sex even mentioning homosexuality and gender identity; Migrants and their upheaval; finally a mention of the sex abuse crisis and the goal of ending all forms of abuse. Subsequently, Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio/Apostolic Letter on abuse which basically says report the crime when it happens and puts in provision for what to do with bishops as well. This section end with a bit about how there is a way out, pointing to the Venerable Carlo Acutis who said “everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies”.  Francis hopes that we don’t let that happen to ourselves as we need to live in community.

The fourth chapter Pope Francis pulls out three great truths to keep in mind. First off God loves you “Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved.” This even means that even if/when we argue with God we are still loved. The second thing is that Christ has saved us because he loves us. The Cross and Crucifixion are the biggest signs of love that we have and there need to be more mention of this, it’s like the footprints in the sand poem. Finally that Christ is Alive. Christ is alive and still in the world seeking us all out we just need to be open to be able to find him. Here, Pope Francis mentions the Holy Spirit who is always there with God and Jesus, and who according to John Paul II is what keeps the Church forever young.  The Fifth Chapter is about the myriad paths of how the young people can experience the world, take it by the horns and run with it. However we need to remember that God is there for one to turn to in the sorrow and disappointments in our lives but also in the joys. Friendship and community engagement are also key aspect in the section. Our faith life isn’t supposed to be a once a week thing but we are tasked each week to go and proclaim the good news to the world.

In the Sixth Chapter we look at roots. This starts with the simple request Don’t become shallow. As Francis said in Panama at World Youth Day “care for your roots, because from the roots comes the strength that is going to make you grow, flourish and bear fruit.” Now what are these roots it’s your parents and grandparents, and even more so others as well as wisdom is passed down from generation to generation. At the Synod “one of the young auditors from the Samoan Islands spoke of the Church as a canoe, in which the elderly help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead.” This is what Society needs for the young and old to come together and become the change that we want to see in the world.

In the seventh chapter we turn to Youth Ministry, it starts with the general notion that it isn’t the adults who are the ministers but the young people themselves. Youth ministry needs to address the problems that they face but not solve them and be flexible in the world today. There are two things that are needed outreach and growth, we need to be more open to whoever want to come to whatever type of event and hopefully they will enjoy it and join. In college I was involved in Campus Ministry and we’d have a dinner after the 5pm Mass on Sunday that was open to whomever wanted to come and there’d be a wide variety of events throughout the week from just hanging out and having lunch with friends to intramural sports or going out to laser tag along with the more religious events like a weekly rosary night or a Bible Study or small group faith sharing. This is something parishes need to do offering a variety of events at times when people can attend them. A couple of parishes around me over the summer put on musicals with kids from high school open to all those in the area.  These are examples of things that seem to work. You know “Preach the Gospel at all times use words sparingly.”

The eighth chapter focuses on Vocations, now this isn’t about becoming a priest or a religious of some sort although it does come up at the end but the general sense of Vocation we all have to do something from the simple friendship to the more complex in love and family but also that of a job itself we all need something to do in out lives and shouldn’t be sponges off others. I enjoy that Pope Francis understands where the world is today and that “sometimes you have to accept whatever is available, but I ask you never to give up on your dreams, never completely bury a calling, and never accept defeat. Keep seeking at least partial or imperfect ways to live what you have discerned to be your real calling.” In the final chapter we look at discernment as we need to take some time to make decisions and it is only through discernment when we as the Holy Spirit to help us to figure it out in solitude and silence. Pope Francis end this Exhortation with a request “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.””

New Saints

On Sunday, Pope Francis named seven new Saint this was the first Canonization ceremony this year and it has been a year since the last Canonization.  Those named Saints were the headliners Pope Paul VI, the Pope after John XXIII and before John Paul I and Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass. There were five others as well Francesco Spinelli was an Italian Priest who founded the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Vincent Romano another Italian Priest known as “The Worker Priest” due to his work with the poor and for his commitment to the social needs of all people he is noted for his simplistic and frugal manner of living and for his great care of orphans; Nunzio Sulprizo another Italian, he was an apprentice blacksmith and had poor health throughout his life Pope Leo XIII proposed him as a model for all workers. The other two are women Maria Katharina Kasper, a German nun and founder of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; and Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, a Spanish nun and founder of the Missionary Crusades of the Church, she was born in Spain moved to Mexico, served in Bolivia and Argentina.

Pope Francis noted in his homily that “Jesus is radical. He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart.” and that “All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind.” Let us try to keep this in our minds are we go about our lives as we in society today tend to be divided on some of these things.

Synod on Young People

The Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishop began yesterday the focus of this synod is “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment” with “the aim to accompany young people on their way of life towards maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they can discover their life project and realize it with joy, opening the encounter with God and with men, and actively participating in the building up of the Church and society.” Now this is an interesting topic since this is a difficult time for young people in the Church as it seems that so many have been leaving and they want this to stop or at least ebb. This is the first time that the focus will be on young people and it sort of pick up the theme from the last Synod which was on the Family.  Pope Francis said to open the Synod that “the church needs to listen, including to those young people who often do not feel understood by the church in their originality and therefore not accepted for who they really are and sometimes even rejected.” and that “A church that does not listen…cannot be credible, especially for the young who will inevitably turn away rather than approach.”

It seems that next year we will get an Apostolic Exhortation and there is bound to be some dissent about what’s in it since there will be talk about sexuality and pornography along with hopefully some discussion of the sexual abuse crisis that is still around. Well, this will be happen throughout the month of October.

October Rosary request from Pope Francis

On Saturday, the Vatican (Holy See) Press Office released an official communique about the upcoming month of October. In it Pope Francis expresses his wishes that all the faithful, of all the world, pray the Holy Rosary every day, during the entire Marian month of October. This is a regular request so it wasn’t really that much of surprise. His Holiness also added that we add at the end of the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation “Sub tuum praesídium”, and with the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. The Sub Tuum is one of the most ancient prayers to Mary, it was originally in Greek and it dates to the fourth century.  The hymn is still used in modern time in both East (mostly during Great Lent or on the Eve of Theophany) and West (Little Office of Mary or Liturgy of Hours), the Marists and Salesians hold it a special place. The Latin version has been set to music numerous times.

The prayer is nice I’m putting the Greek translation and the Latin one here Greek first.

Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.
the Latin one
We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen

The Prayer to St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. It used to be recited at the end of Low Mass, although depending where you are it might be recited at the end of like Daily Mass and in some dioceses it has has re-emerged in light of the recent scandal have reintroduced it to all masses.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


The Jeweller’s Shop (1988)

The Jeweller’s Shop is a film based on the play written by Karol Wotyja before he became Pope John Paul II. This is sort of a rough draft or companion piece to Love and Responsibility which eventually  led to Theology of the Body. At least that’s what it seems like I haven’t read either of them. If you have the time I am sure that there are several productions and the film can be found on YouTube

The Jeweler’s Shop was written in 1960 and it is a Meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Passing on Occasion into a Drama. The story follows pairs of couples, each couple in their own story: the first happily planning their wedding, the second long-married and unhappy, the third about to marry but full of doubts. We begin on a hiking trip where Andrew and Teresa along with Stefan and Anna are out with their friend Father Adam. Andrew and Teresa have been friend a long time and for Stefan and Anna it’s love at first sight. Andrew and Teresa stop by a Jeweler’s Shop where Andrew proposes they buy rings, at the shop they meet the Jeweler who is the best character in the film, as he pops us in all three couples stories.  The second part take us a couple of year later and meet up with Stefan and Anna who have moved to Canada to escape World War II they have kids but their life is filled with emptiness and disillusion. They both it seems to have given up on their relationship Anna visits a jeweler to sell her ring, but they say that it’s worthless since her husband is still alive. Anna runs into Father Adam one day in Canada and he reminds Anna about the Parable of the Ten Virgins (five came prepared with extra oil and five didn’t and had their light go out while waiting for the Bridegroom). Anna is reminded that they can still love one another. The last story is sort of intertwined with Anna and Stefan, and the focus is on the Son and Daughter of the couples  Christopher is the son of Andrew and Teresa and Monica is the daughter of Stefan and Anna as they contemplate marriage. Both of these children have ideas of what love is based on their parents, Christopher fears losing love as his father died when he was young and Monica is afraid that her marriage will end up like her parents. They too go to a jeweler’s shop and buy wedding rings.

It’s a decent film and offers some general ideas that we should all reflect upon like what is the worth of mankind. If you want a nice film to watch with the family or with a spouse to reflect on your marriage or a fiance as you prepare for your wedding day. While the film isn’t the best or worst film that I’ve ever seen it the story is the key and it is pretty decent. I wouldn’t recommend everyone picking  us this movie but theme seem to be universal but it does have a bit of Catholicism in there as well since the writer was the Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow.

Humanae Vitae at 50

Humanae Vitae is a controversial encyclical that came out fifty years ago today, I posted a short overview back in 2013. It was the last encyclical by Pope Paul VI  Humanae Vitae or Of Human Life: On the Regulation of Birth, it basically reaffirms the traditional orthodox teaching of the Church. Marriage is the union of a loving couple with a loving God, and the sole purpose of sex is for procreation and the use of contraception is bad. It was published and sure there were some not enthused by these teachings asking “What do celibate male have to say about sex?” George Weigel points out that Karol Wojtyła (JPII)’s 1960 book Love and Responsibility made better arguments about these issues.  Since it was published more and more people have been siding with the Winnipeg Statement which states that those who can’t accept the teaching are not shut off from the Catholic Church, and individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they made an honest attempt to accept the directives. It is still one of the biggest issues that people have with the Church.

John Paul II took up Humanae Vitae in his Theology of the Body which sort of take Humanae Vitae  and furthers the teaching. Benedict XVI reflects on it with the idea of love “that the fullness of a person is achieved by a unity of soul and body, but neither spirit nor body alone can love, only the two together. If this unity is broken, if only the body is satisfied, love becomes a commodity”. Francis himself continues this by saying that in an interview in 2014 that “Everything depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, in the end, urged confessors to be very merciful and pay attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to take a stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a cultural restraint, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do.”

Was this prophetic or is that just people looking back with reverence on an Encyclical, I am not sure which to say. With the recent release of the book all about the birth of the Encyclical, we’ve learned a bit more about what went into it Was the publication of the Encyclical necessary sure has society slipped to the point of no return with the vulgarity, abundance of pornography and the lack of love of our neighbor

Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph

Just as Mary has her Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys, Saint Joseph has a set of seven himself, although it is just a combination of both in this prayer

The prayer itself is pretty unique as after each section you recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. It’s that simple, three prayers everyone knows after each section.

St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep Joy that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter Sorrow which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the Joy which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the Joy that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy Joy when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

St. Joseph, by thy Sorrow when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy Joy in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the Joy in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

St. Joseph, by the bitter Sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy Joy which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who in Thine ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Ancient prayer to Joseph

While I was looking around at different prayers to Saint Joseph in the Josephology, the theological study of Joseph, and found this one which many have said is the oldest prayer to Joseph that we have.

This old postscript is commonly included with this prayer:

This prayer was found in the 50th year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505, it was sent from the pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death or be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy or be burned in any fire or be overpowered in battle. Say for nine mornings for anything you desire. It has never been known to fail.

The Prayer

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.