Commentary on the St. Joseph Prayer part 3

The prayer in full is found here.

The last line of the second stanza read:
“and of all those born in the fallen state, none is greater than you or John.”

Jesus, in His human nature, and Mary are each entirely untouched by original sin and personal sin. They were not conceived or born in the fallen state. But who is holiest among those who were conceived in original sin and born in the fallen state? Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist are among those at that level of holiness, below Mary, but above most Saints.

[Matthew]
{11:11} Amen I say to you, among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Among those persons conceived and born in the usual manner, that is, conceived in original sin and born in the fallen state, none is greater than John. But some may be his equal, including Saint Joseph.

In addition, in my understanding of eschatology and the book of Revelation, there will be a set of persons during the second part of the tribulation who are like Joseph and John, conceived in original sin, baptized in the womb, and given the special grace to be free from all personal sin their entire lives.

[Revelation 14]
{14:1} And I saw, and behold, the Lamb was standing above mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.
{14:2} And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of a great thunder. And the voice that I heard was like that of singers, while playing on their stringed instruments.
{14:3} And they were singing what seemed like a new canticle before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one was able to recite the canticle, except those one hundred and forty-four thousand, who were redeemed from the earth.
{14:4} These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are Virgins. These follow the Lamb wherever he will go. These were redeemed from men as the first-fruits for God and for the Lamb.
{14:5} And in their mouth, no lie was found, for they are without flaw before the throne of God.

The number 144,000 is figurative; that is not the exact number of those who are sealed by this and other special gifts (so as to assist the Church during the End Times). They are “not defiled with women”, which means more generally that they are all virgins. Certainly, there will be many women among 144,000. And their virginity is not merely of the body, but of the heart and mind as well. They have purity from sexual sins in the mind and heart. They have spiritual purity in their utter faithfulness to God. So they are temporal and spiritual virgins.

But since none is greater than John the Baptist, they can only be his equal (or lesser in holiness than John and Joseph). Given the description above in Sacred Scripture, the First Fruits are probably equal to John and Joseph in holiness. So the prayer describes Joseph as being like those First Fruits from Revelation chapter 14:

For like the First Fruits, who will welcome your Son at His Return,
you remained always a virgin, undefiled in heart, mind, and body,
and you follow the Lamb wherever he will go,
and in your mouth, no lie was ever found,
and you are without flaw before the throne of God.

The lines above are adapted from Sacred Scripture, from Revelation 14:1-5.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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