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Sunday, January 4, 2009

St. Joseph and the Real Estate Market

Ok, I admit that I have buried a St. Joseph statue or two in my lifetime thinking that his intercessions would sell our home more quickly. Call me an opportunist (and I probably am), I've buried him head down, head up and when I couldn't find one in the store, half considered using the "good one" from the nativity set that I was gifted. Thanks be to God, I did not follow thru on that plan. PS: I have also lost a poor St. Joseph statue and the thought of him still mired in the muck bugs me a little.

Father Philip Neri Powell from his blog responds to a FAQ about the practice of burying the St. Joseph statue. I especially like the the simple and direct approach to prayer that he tags on towards the end. Take it or leave it, it's a great read.

Ok, Father, Do I need to go to confession for this?

Q. I don't get what you are saying about prayer. Don't we pray to God for what we need? Why not ask St Joseph for help in selling a house?

A. My objection to the use of St Joseph statues to sell a house hinges on the superstitious use of a sacramental. If God does not will your house to be sold, it will not be sold. . .you can bury hundreds of St Joseph's statues, and it won't make a bit of difference. Burying statues will not change God's mind. Magic is the belief that we can alter reality by using willing it to be altered. Prayer is not magic. What we do in prayer is train our hearts and minds to receive as gifts all the blessings God has already given us. Every blessing you will ever receive has already been given to you. Prayer is your way of receiving those blessings in thanksgiving. The best prayer is: "Lord, I receive today all the blessings you have given me and give you thanks for them." Petitions are designed to keep us constantly aware that everything we have and everything we are is a direct gift from God. We ask for food, shelter, clothing so that we are reminded that food, shelter, clothing are God's gifts to us for our use. The "claim it and get it" school of prayer is a fraud. When Jesus says, "Ask and you shall receive," he means "You have been given, now ask for it." This is a spirituality of humity and gratitude. Think of it this way: God, from eternity, has willed that you get a new job. He has also willed that you will actually get that job when you ask for it with thanksgiving. Don't ask, don't get. So, the best thing to do is to assume that God always wills the absolute best for you; align yourself with His will for you; ask for what you need, according to His will, and give thanks BEFORE and after you get it.

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