On this Solemnity of St. Joseph, I am pleased to share my translation of a brief story from an Italian devotional book. I translated the text as it was found on the blog Cordialiter.
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A rich man had been married for many years and had received from God the gift of three sons. He was devoted to St. Joseph and every year he solemnly celebrated March 19th, begging the Patriarch’s blessing upon his children.
It happened that precisely on the feast day of St. Joseph one of his sons died. The next year – and again, exactly on March 19th – the second son died. The pious father did not stop honoring the saint. But he was exceedingly aggrieved when the anniversary neared, fearing that the third son might die as well.
Absorbed in sad thoughts, he found himself one day in the country and there he received the gift of a clarifying vision. He saw dangling from the branches of a tree two young men who had been hanged. An angel appeared to him and said, “Do you see these two young men hung by a rope? That is how your sons’ lives would have ended if they had reached an older age! But since you have been devoted to St. Joseph, he obtained for you from God that they should die at a young age, to save you from affliction and dishonor and them from eternal damnation. So do not cease celebrating the saint’s feast day – to whom you shall be indebted for yet another grace, seeing as your remaining son will lead a holy life and one day be a bishop.”
When the vision ended the good father recovered his composure. And things thereafter took place as the angel had said.
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St. Joseph, pray for us!