Monday, September 21, 2009

Catholic book review -- St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent

st joe
St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent
by Stephen J. Binz
Servant Books ©2003
ISBN 1-56955-361-0

The intercession of St. Joseph is sought in all sorts of family matters, including the sale of a home. It is now a popular belief that burying a St. Joseph statue on your property can help you in the sale of your house. As webmaster of the Virtual St. Joseph Altar, I get many questions about burying St. Joseph. It was my hope that St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent would shed a bit more light on this increasingly popular practice.

Author Stephen J. Binz presents a light and sometimes personal look at the life of St. Joseph. Although not much is actually known or written about St. Joseph, Binz, a Catholic biblical scholar, brings the reader to the town of Nazareth where he explores the details of the daily life of the foster-father of Jesus. St. Joseph becomes your friend as his life as a carpenter, husband, and father unfolds. The author shares with the reader his own personal journey towards true devotion to St. Joseph.

Only a small portion of the book delves into the actual practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph. Binz rightly encourages the reader to get to know St. Joseph and cultivate a friendship with him. This is not a superstitious ritual and it must be approached with faith and sincerity. In fact, you don't even need to bury the statue. At the back of the book there is a section of prayers which includes: a prayer service for the burial of a St. Joseph statue; blessing a home; a spouse's prayer; a parent's prayer; and a prayer for daily work.

Binz confirms that the statue burying ritual has no endorsement by the Church and no one knows how or where it began, but I have my own theory. The tradition may have began hundreds of years ago during the time when St.Teresa of Avila was opening Carmelite Convents throughout Europe. Taking only the bare necessities and their statue of St. Joseph, her nuns would set out in search of land or buildings suitable for a new convent. St. Teresa of Avila always encouraged her nuns to pray to St. Joseph. It is believed that, on one particular search, the nuns found a piece of property perfect for their needs. Having no money, the nuns immediately started to petition St. Joseph for the funds needed to buy the property. In the meantime, having no place to stay, the nuns decided to bury their statue of St. Joseph on the property so he would not get stolen or broken. After the nuns prayed to St. Joseph, someone purchased the land and built them a convent. When it was finished, the sisters dug up the statue and built a beautiful shrine inside in honor of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph's popularity is on the rise and not just because of his so-called home selling skills. Binz states:
. . . Our society has been described as father-hungry. We have too many absent fathers, deadbeat dads, daughters without fathers to encourage them, and sons without dads to look up to. . . . For the father-hungry people of the world, for the million deprived of a healthy, fulfilling relationship with a father, Joseph is an ideal foster father. When we need the attention that only a father can give, the man that Jesus called Dad is ready to listen.

St. Joseph is a saint for today. Seek his intercession and you will be pleasantly surprised. When asking for the intercession of St Joseph to sell your home, the emphasis should properly be placed on our belief in the communion of the Saints and our desire to do all things according to the will of God.

cc reviewer

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent.

No comments: