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Musings 2006/209

And, because Jesus is God-made-man, His association with Mary and Joseph, individually but as part of the Holy Family,

gives witness that Mary and Joseph
surpass all other creatures in existence.

I have always known this of Mary, for so The Church has always taught, but it is something new to me to think of Joseph in this marvellous light.
However, The Church has always respected Joseph to the highest degree for She has named him as Patron of The Universal Church.
The ancient prayer
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we give you our hearts and our souls is another suggestion approved by The Church that points to the greatness of Joseph.
Because Joseph is Father of Jesus, the Eternal-priest and indeed, The Source of the Priesthood, then it can be said

that Joseph is The Father of Priests.

Thank you, St. Joseph, for being Jesus' earthly Father and Mary's Spouse, for surely you represented all humanity in this august role; in these fabulous honours.
50 15  13  Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John.
The key word in Christ's declaration is
man that is to say a human being.
It has been a question to me for decades, this saying of Jesus, for I am aware of a dog's devotion for its master.
Many a dog has laid down his life for his master!
Can a dog's devotion compare to the
love that Jesus speaks about?
Of course not. But where is the difference?
It seems to me that the difference lies in the fact that the Ten Commandments are written in the heart of every human being, from conception.
The dignity of a life of a human being becomes of majestic proportions because his
freewill is enabled to follow the Ten Commandments and this in turn, draws him into the very Life of The Trinity...
The life of a dog does not have this dignity and its forfeiture of life in saving the life of his master, does not draw upon the dog the same merits from God.
While the dog shows what we consider to be great courage and extraordinary love, it is not what we
perceive to be the case, but what is in fact, the case.
The dog does not know
love.
It is an instinct to him - a part of his animal characteristic - to take care of his own. It is part of his preservation-of-the-species, found in every creature, where, in the case of the dog, has enveloped his human master.
I am not degrading the loyalty of the dog - indeed, the very reason I considered this subject was my great admiration of such a dog.  My admiration was such as to wonder how it was that giving up his life for his 'friend' - his master -  was lesser in a dog then in a human!
It is by comparing this wonderful act of devotion with the human  act of love that the reality can be missed.
But many animals can jump over a fence as can a human - most of them better. They can run, hunt and survive and do all of the feats of a man in the physical sense, but the unbridgeable difference is the inner reasoning and inner consciousness behind each and every deed.

In no case whatsoever,
will any animal ever consciously carry out a feat
for the love and the gratitude and the glory of God.

Notwithstanding that every animal, by its very existence and in its insurmountable ignorance, gives glory to God by everything it does. So also, do the trees and other vegetation.
They do this because they function exactly as God planned they should act - unlike the human who is supposed to know better.
And does know better.
For this reason an animal who kills wantonly does not commit murder and will not go to hell. Any animal who thieves what it needs (or what it does not need) is not guilty of sin and God is not going to punish it in life-everlasting.
And so, the animal who copies the heroics of man, will not go to Heaven - for the very same reason.
And, for the very same reason, the dog who saves his master's life - admirable as it is - is not to be compared to a human, whose life has the greatest possible dignity before God, who forfeits his life for his friend.
The Love that Jesus speaks of is The very Love of God - The Spirit working in us.
While The Spirit give energy to all creation, including animals, the devotion of a dog for his master, is definitely not The Love of God working in the dog.
When Jesus gave His Life for His friends, The Love that prompted this was, purely, The Spirit of God and this is the same Love that His disciples have in them.
And it is in imitation of Jesus The Christ, that His disciples give up their lives for their friends.
This can not be even remotely said of any animal who dies for his 'friend'.   

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