Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. (Matthew 1:19)

Saint Joseph's Disease

A man from Saipan was telling me the story how his father, in early 1944, was conscripted by the Japanese to join the work crews unloading weapons, ammunition and equipment that were shipped from Japan for the defense of Saipan against the Americans.

Workers were obliged to work round the clock with just a four hour visit to their wives and families.

Around that time, the man's wife found herself pregnant. At first, he thought nothing of it. But during those long hours at the dock, unloading military arsenal, he started to wonder if he had found the time and the energy to father a child. He just couldn't remember, as he would crash to his bed and go out like a light from pure exhaustion when he had his four-hour family visit.

So the man telling me this story said, "Nina'ye ni chetnot San Jose."

"He came down with Saint Joseph's disease."

Why Saint Joseph?

Saint Joseph faced a similar predicament when he took Mary for a wife but had no relations with her. When she was found to be pregnant, Joseph was totally perplexed. He knew he was not the father, but then who was? Mary was a virtuous woman completely above suspicion. So how then can a righteous woman be pregnant? Thus his decision to end the marriage, which had no yet been completed.

Eventually, an angel informs Joseph that it is the Holy Spirit who enabled Mary to conceive without human participation, and then a relieved Joseph continued with the completion of the wedding.

In the icon (painting) above, a perplexed Saint Joseph sits by himself in a confused and bewildered state, with the devil, disguised as an old shepherd, tempting him to doubt the divinity of the Christ Child. Of course, Joseph resisted this temptation and proved his righteousness.

The man's dad wondered to himself, "Is my wife pregnant with a Japanese soldier's baby?"

The man knew that his wife would not willingly have consorted with a local man, nor with a Japanese soldier or anyone else. But only a Japanese soldier would have had the power to force himself on the woman.

To his relief, when the baby was born, he didn't have a trace of Japanese looks on his infant face. By the time the boy was ten, he looked just like a younger version of his Chamorro father. 

He was cured of the Chetnot San Jose.

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