In Praise of Saint Joseph

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One of the great things for me in finding Christ’s Church is the abundance of examples Catholics have for living a holy life. The saints show us Christian life: what to expect from it and how to live it. When I came into the Church three years ago this coming Easter, my wife and I chose St. Joseph as my patron. As a new husband, it seemed a natural if somewhat uninspired, choice. I also was not very familiar with any other saints and at least new Joseph from the Christmas story. However, as I learned more Church history and began to familiarize myself with the lives of the saint, I must sadly confess that I began to wonder if some other less well-known or more “exotic” saint would have been a “cooler” choice. It wasn’t until the birth of my son that I really began to understand how significant and beautiful is St. Joseph. Through what has proven to be some of the toughest years in mine and my wife’s lives, I have felt his gentle but strong working man’s hand on my shoulder. In a very real sense Our Lady’s Most Chaste Spouse has been with me every step of the way. I don’t think I truly understood marriage and family life until I discovered Saint Joseph and his place in the Holy Family. Through my Baptist heritage I was obviously aware of Joseph but mostly as a backdrop in the Nativity story. Neither Joseph nor Mary were the subject of any particular devotion and once Christmas was over they were literally and figuratively put back in the attic.

I especially look to him and ask for his intercession as I struggle to provide for my family during this recession. For several reasons but mostly economic ones, my wife and I recently returned to my hometown after living on the East Coast for many years. The economy here, while not great, has faired much better than many other parts of the country and it is nice to have my parents nearby so they get to spoil their new grandson. These days I often think of St. Joseph leading his young wife and child into the unknown of Egypt. How difficult must that have been? At least I am familiar with the place the Lord has led us. I may be wrong, but I do not think Joseph was in any way familiar with the land of the pharaohs, regardless, he trusted God absolutely and relocated. We see that even in what must have seen the bleakest of times, God provided for him so that he could provide for the Blessed Mother and the Infant Christ. I feel an especial love for Saint Joseph on this day as I look upon this love and trust in God. Herod’s attempt to slaughter the Christ Child was an attempt by Satan to destroy our Hope before most of the world even knew He existed. In a sense, Joseph with the Holy Family was fleeing despair. In similar fashion, we must always follow God’s will for us and not our own, even if we are unsure where He is leading us. Let us ask for the intercession of Blessed Saint Joseph for all the needs of our family, for the protection of our loved ones and the protection of the Church founded by Christ.

EWTN.com has a great page on Saint Joseph on this page.

12 Responses to In Praise of Saint Joseph

  • Tito Edwards says:

    John Henry,

    So basically nothing changes when you get married then right?

    ;~)

    I have adopted the entire Holy Family as the standard that I want to strive for, especially St. Joseph himself. He is an excellent role model to follow, the strong and stable man that protected the Holy Family, nurtured his Son and wife, and led an exemplary life of chastity and obedience.

  • Elaine says:

    Here’s one facet of St. Joseph’s life that I’ve only seen touched upon once, but I believe is significant.

    I take it as a given that Mary, of course, was a virgin for life and never had any other children besides Jesus. I also assume that the same was true of Joseph, although this is not a matter of defined doctrine (the Eastern tradition holds that Joseph was a widower who had children by his first wife, who became the “brothers” of Jesus referred to in Scripture).

    However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they PLANNED it that way from the start. Some older Catholic tomes assume that Mary and Joseph both took a vow of chastity before they married and intended all along to live as brother and sister. I’m not so sure about that, since there was no tradition of celibacy among ordinary Jews at the time (outside of, perhaps, small sects such as the Essenes) and most observant Jews regarded it as their duty to “be fruitful and multiply.”

    I read the following scenario in one of Our Sunday Visitor’s Scripture commentaries about 20 years ago (sorry I can’t remember which one) and it seems to make sense to me. Mary and Joseph were both young (Joseph probably in his later teens and Mary a little younger), their families probably had known each other forever, and when they got betrothed or engaged, they had every intention of having a normal married life with lots of kids.

    However, when God intervened and Mary concieved Jesus “by the Holy Spirit,” and Joseph realized what had happened, they realized that Mary in essence had become the “spouse” of Yahweh and therefore was off limits to anyone else. So they then agreed to live as brother and sister.

    I wonder if they ever had doubts about whether they really made the right decision, or felt sad that they couldn’t have more children? People probably looked down on Mary if she “only” had one child and never had any more after that. How could she possibly explain their situation? Not to mention her baby being born suspiciously soon after their wedding. It can’t have been easy for them to deal with.

  • Ivy Abat says:

    NOVENA TO SAINT JOSEPH

    To say every day for nine consecutive days

    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

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…

    Day 1
    O Saint Joseph, Pillar of Families! Foster Father of Jesus, protect our families from the sufferings of separation and divorce. Be a lighthouse for fathers and father-figures alike, so that they may lead virtuous lives and be good role models to our children. Amen.

    DAY 2
    O Saint Joseph, Guardian of Virgins! Loving, chaste spouse of our Blessed Mother, protect the chastity of marriages so that our children may grow up in strong united families. We also ask you to protect the virginity of the youth so that they may be spared from unnecessary sufferings, and to help those living the consecrated life to be ever more faithful to their vocations. Amen.

    Day 3
    O Saint Joseph, Patron of the Unborn! Your faith was necessary to bring about the glory of the incarnation. Teach us all to have unbending confidence in the promises of Christ. May we submit ourselves wholeheartedly to His will and trust that His providence will see us through in difficult moments. Amen.

    Day 4
    O Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons! Help us defeat our untamed passions, imaginations and memories. Teach us to listen to the voice of our Father in the silence of our hearts, and give us the strength to have dominion over our senses. In times of weakness, may we closely depend on our intellect and will, and most importantly the graces generously given to us through prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Day 5
    O Saint Joseph, Hope of the sick and the dying. Heal us from our bodily ills, emotional troubles and worldly fears. Be with us in times of frailty, and comfort us with hope in eternal life. May our hearts be anchored in Jesus every day of our lives and may we never be separated from him. Amen.

    Day 6
    O Saint Joseph, Patron of the Church! Protect the intentions of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, our Cardinals, Bishops, priests and all religious who work faithfully to shepherd the people. Keep them away from temptation, and deliver them from all unholy and corrupting influences. May our Church remain free from all contagion of error and be constantly reinvigorated by the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    Day 7
    O Saint Joseph, Patron of Workers! Comfort us during the desolation of unemployment, and bring compassion into our hearts during times of prosperity. Teach us the right paths and the right words, so that we may be able to meet our temporal needs. We also ask that you keep our hearts aflame with the Word of God, that we may always be conscious that our need for daily bread is not restricted to bread alone, but Jesus in the Eucharist. Amen.

    Day 8
    O Saint Joseph, Lover of Poverty! Solace of the wretched! Be our friend in time of suffering, and help us appreciate the virtues we can harvest through struggle and sacrifice. Keep us away from the snares of pride and self-importance. Let us remember the poverty of our Lord so that we can dutifully imitate his life in humility and obedience. Amen.

    Day 9
    O Saint Joseph, humble, poor, and obedient servant of the God the Father! We praise you participation in the glory of the incarnation, as faster father of Jesus Christ and most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Keep us all close to your heart, and may the faithful works of Blessed Brother André continue to bring glory to God for years to come. May all those who seek your intercession and his be met with expedient relief or consolation. Amen.

  • Anandhi says:

    Thanks a lot for the Novena Ivy Abat. That was really great. I am planning to receive a miracle from our saint and this is going to be just great.Thanks again.

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