Prayers to St. Joseph

The Holy Family with the Little Bird - Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Last year, one of the sisters recommended I pray to St. Joseph to intercede on my behalf regarding resolution of my student loans so I may be free to enter formation.  She had faced the same hurdle, began praying a novena to St. Joseph and doors began to open until her student loans were no longer an issue.  Honestly, I hadn’t thought much about St. Joseph, beyond what is written in the Bible.  But, I was eager to spend some time with Jesus’ foster father, so, with copies of the novena in hand, I returned home and began to pray.  Then I found a couple books on St. Joseph and picked them up to read them.  St. Joseph again came to the forefront of my devotions when, at the beginning of this year during a community drawing for annual patron saints, he was drawn as my patron for 2013.  As I continue to reflect on what we know about St. Joseph and ask his intercession, I am continually inspired and challenged.

St. Joseph provides a beautiful example of true manhood.  He wasn’t full of pride and machismo.  He didn’t seek fame, fortune or power.  He wasn’t lazy or distant from family and friends.  He was a quiet, observant Jew.  He was a just man who loved and cared for Mary and the child Jesus she carried.  He was a man of faith and courage.  When he was told to take Mary as his wife, he obeyed.  I can imagine the pain and frustration he must have felt when he was knocking on doors, asking for shelter in Bethlehem, only to be told time and again there was no room for them.  But he persevered with his task of caring for Mary and the infant Jesus she would shortly deliver. When he was told to flee for Egypt, he packed up his family and made the arduous journey to a foreign land, leaving behind all that was familiar.  Surely there were roadblocks and dangers along the way.  Eventually, when told in a dream it was safe to return to his homeland, he led and protected his family once again on the long journey home. 

St. Joseph led his family to settle in Nazareth, where he provided for Mary and Jesus by the work of his hands and sweat of his brow as a carpenter.  He taught Jesus his trade and how to be a good Jew.  To accomplish these things requires a man of strength, meekness, and extraordinary character – a man who lays down his life and places the needs of his wife and child ahead of his own.

So what can I, a single woman who has discerned religious life, learn from St. Joseph?  Plenty.  Naturally, there are the lessons of having faith in God, and treating others with the honor and justice they deserve as humans made in God’s image.  There is the lesson of perseverance, even when all doors seem to close in your face.  But more than that, St. Joseph, as an example of manhood, inspires me to grow in the fullness of womanhood.  Think of this: St. Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus.  Really, he wasn’t needed for Jesus to be conceived and born.  Yet God saw fit to ensure Mary had a husband and Jesus had an earthly father.  Why?

We could list many reasons, but the one I want to focus on is found in the complementarity we see in St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  There’s an old saying that, “a man builds the house, but a woman makes it a home.”  Woman’s genius, as termed by Bl. Pope John Paul II, is her gift to nurture and bring forth life.  Physically, she is privileged to bear children.  But she also brings forth and nurtures life in other ways, particularly through spiritual motherhood.  Would Mary have been as free to live out her vocation of womanhood, as mother to Jesus and eventually the Church, if she did not have St. Joseph as her spouse during her pregnancy and Jesus’ childhood? 

St. Joseph reminds me that in order to more fully follow in the example of Mary, I too need to be receptive to the gifts, wisdom and guidance of others.  I need to trust in God’s provision and worry less about taking care of things “on my own.”  And I need godly, honorable men in my life, to offer guidance and inspire, to defend that which is beautiful and vulnerable, to assist with things outside my talents and abilities, and to help buffer against the harshness that exists in this world.

 When I let go and allow (and encourage) the men in my life to be men – whether young or old, single, married, or ordained – I discover a deeper peace and freedom.  My heart is able to expand with a greater capacity for love and a desire to carry these men in my heart and to God in prayer.  And my hope for them grows, that they would grow in virtue and holiness, persevering to a holy death, in the example of St. Joseph.

deathjos

As my love and devotion for St. Joseph has grown, I regularly ask his intercession that provision would be made for me and my fellow TLS aspirants that we would be able to enter formation.  Would you join me in a prayer to St. Joseph for my vocation, and others like mine, that are currently hindered due to student loans?

JOSEPHANDJESUSPRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request).

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

 
MEMORARE
 
Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen.

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/novena/joseph.htm

Comments

  1. Praise The LORD!

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