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St. Joseph had suffered, laid in him the founda- tions of the most profound humility... Why have I not kissed the earth thy steps have trod, and served thee kneeling? How shall I dare to raise my eyes in thy presence, or open my lips to speak with thee! Lord, give me grace, grant me strength to pray for pardon!

 The doubts and uncertainty which 
St. Joseph had suffered, laid in him the founda- 
tions of the most profound humility, necessary 
for him to whom was confided the dispensation 
of the most holy counsels of the Lord. The re- 
_ membrance of what had passed served as a les- 
son for his future life. 

Having rendered thanks to the divine Majesty, 
the holy man began to reproach himself. ‘“‘O my 
divine spouse,” said he, ‘most sweet dove, chosen 
by the Most High to be His own mother, how hast 
thy unworthy servant dared to call in question 
thy fidelity! How could he, who is only dust 
and ashes, suffer her who is Queen of Heaven 
to serve him? Why have I not kissed the 
earth thy steps have trod, and served thee 
kneeling? How shall I dare to raise my eyes 
in thy presence, or open my lips to speak with 
thee! Lord, give me grace, grant me strength 
to pray for pardon! Inspire her to show me 


94 LIFE OF ST. JOSEPH. 


mercy, so that she will not reject her unworthy 
servant as he deserves. Alas! how clearly she 
must have penetrated all my thoughts: how can 
I have the boldness to appear in her presence? 
I see now the grossness of my conduct, and my 
stupid mistake; and if Thy justice for my chas- 
tisement had permitted me to execute my im- 
prudent intention, what would not be now 
my wretchedness! Thanks to Thee, my God, 
throughout eternity, for so great a blessing, I 
will present myself to my Princess, my spouse, 
confiding in the sweetness of her clemency, and, 
prostrate at her feet, I will beseech her pardon, 
so that for her sake, Lord, Thou wilt regard me 
with pity, and pardon my fault.” 

Saint Joseph went forth from his humble 
chamber very unlike what he was before his re- 
cent slumber. Now he was happy; yet he dared 
not disturb our blessed Lady, who was still em- 
ployed in the sweets of her contemplation. 
While awaiting the favorable moment, the man 
of God with tearful eyes unbound the little 
packet that he had prepared—-but with senti- 
ments far different from those which had pre- 
viously occupied him. Having learned the 
honor due to our blessed Lady, our saint water- 
ed the house with his tears; he swept it and 
prepared other little household work, which, 


LIFE OF ST. JOSEPH. 95 


while ignorant of her dignity, he had intrusted 
to the care of his blessed spouse. 

He now resolved to change his deportment 
towards her, by appropriating to himself the 
office of servant, reserving that of mistress for 
her majesty. Further on we shall relate the 
loving disputes which he had with our queen to 
decide which of the two should serve and take 
the humbler place. At the proper time the 
saint presented himself at the chamber of our 
blessed Lady, who awaited his coming with the 
sweetness and complacency which we shall 
recount in the following chapter. Let us take 
an example from St. Joseph, who believed, with- 
out delay and without doubting, that which the 
angel revealed to him, in such wise that he 
merited to be elevated to a great recompense, 
and to a sublime dignity. And if he abased 
himself with so much humility, not having com- 
mitted any sin in what he did, but only in having 
been greatly troubled under circumstances which 
seemed to give so much occasion for anxiety, 
consider how much we ought to humiliate our- 
selves—we who are nothing but miserable 
worms of the dust—by weeping over our negli- 
gences and our sins, so that the Most High may 
regard us as father and spouse. 

 

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