Monday, August 8, 2016

Guardian of the Redeemer (Pauline Books and Media)

On August 15th, 1889 (the Feast of the Assumption), Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical entitled on Devotion to St. Joseph. You wouldn't think the Church would need to be reminded of such an important saint, but for centuries, this third member of the Holy Family was largely ignored/forgotten. One could feel bad for him because of this, but I'm sure he prefers it that way. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of this encyclical, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled Guardian of the RedeemerPauline Books and Media released a special 25th anniversary edition with commentary by Dr. Joseph C. Atkinson. The Apostolic Exhortation is divided into the following six parts:

1. The Gospel Portrait
2. The Guardian of the Mystery of God
3. A Just Man - A Husband
4. Work As an Expression of Love
5. The Primacy of the Interior Life
6. Patron of the Church in Our Day

The first section is very brief, which is not surprising. since Joseph doesn't appear in Sacred Scripture much. However, the section focuses primarily on Joseph's interaction with Mary and finding out that she is pregnant. It is presented in contrast with the Annunciation and provides a fascinating parallel. Part Two focuses on Joseph's fatherhood. We see the nativity, Jesus' circumcision and naming, his presentation in the Temple, the flight from Egypt, and other key events in which Joseph's fatherhood and protection of Jesus was demonstrated. The other sections focus on Joseph as a husband, a carpenter, and his interior life, which was reflected by his outward silence. The last part focuses on the importance of St. Joseph for the Church today. Just like he was the defender and protector of the Holy Family, so too is he the Church's defender and protector.

Like other anniversary editions from Pauline Books and Media, the text is presented in its entirety with each portion concluding with three sections - Ponder, Pray, and Act. In the Ponder section Dr. Atkinson presents us with three key points to focus on, a tried and true number often used by effective presenters. He also relies heavily on the Catechism in this section, which shows a good grounding in the Church's beliefs and teachings. The Pray sections contain original prayers that are brief but poignant, and the Act sections invite us to both rely on St. Joseph more and imitate the way he lived his life. This book is the perfect complement to Mother of the Redeemer and I recommend you pick up copies of both to read, especially if you are a parent. After all, these are the two best earthly examples of parents that there ever were.

This book was provided to me for free by Pauline Books and Media in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!