DAILY DEVOTIONS TO ST. JOSEPH by St. Alphonsus Liguori
PRAYER FOR EACH DAY ( Read the reflection proper to the day and then close each day with the following prayer 🙂 Most holy patriarch, St. Joseph, I rejoice at the great dignity to which you have been raised in being made foster father of the Son of God, endowed with authority to command Him Whom heaven and earth obey. My holy patron, since Jesus Himself respected and served you as His father, I, too, wish to enroll myself in your service. I choose you, after Mary, for my principal advocate and protector. I promise to honor you every day with some special devotion, and each day I will place myself under your protection. As you enjoyed the sweet company of Jesus and Mary during your life on earth, grant that I may ever live close to them and never be separated from God by losing His grace. And as you were assisted by Jesus and Mary at the hour of your death, so grant me protection at the hour of my death, that, dying in your presence and that of Jesus and Mary, I may one day go to thank you in paradise, and in your company praise and love God for all eternity. Amen. *St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, protect us. Protect our Holy Father, the Pope, and our Mother, Holy Church.
FIRST DAY God, because of the great love He bears us, and His great desire to see us saved, has given us among other means of salvation the practice of devotion to the saints. It is His will that they, who are His friends, should intercede for us, and by their merits and prayers obtain graces for us which we ourselves do not deserve. But everyone must know that, after the Mother of God, St. Joseph is, of all the saints, the one dearest to God. He has, therefore, great power with Him and can obtain graces for His devout clients. Let us then frequently say: *St. Joseph, give me the greatest confidence in your powerful intercession.
SECOND DAY We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father. “Christ,” says Origen, “gave to Joseph the honor due to a parent.” The Holy Scriptures speak of him, as the father of Jesus. “His father and mother were marvelling at the things spoken concerning Him” (Luke 2:33). Mary also used this name : “in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee” (Luke 2:48). If, then, the King of Kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to endeavor to honor him as much as we can. *St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to your service forever. Protect me all the days of my life.
THIRD DAY The example of Jesus Christ, Who wished to honor St. Joseph so much, and to be subject to him on earth, ought to inflame all with a fervent devotion toward this great saint. Since the Eternal Father shared His own authority with St. Joseph, Jesus always regarded him as a father, and respected and obeyed him for thirty years. St. Luke says He “was subject to them” (Luke 2:51). These words mean that during all this time the sole occupation of the Redeemer was to obey Mary and Joseph. To St. Joseph, as head of the little family, belonged the office of commanding, and to Jesus as a subject, the duty of obedience. Hence, a learned author has justly said: “Men should pay great honor to him whom the King of Kings wished to raise to such a height.” *St. Joseph, by the obedience which Jesus rendered to you, make me always obedient to the will of God.
FOURTH DAY St. Bernardine of Siena says that we should be persuaded that Our Lord, Who respected St. Joseph on earth as His father, will refuse Him nothing in heaven; but on the contrary, will most abundantly grant His petitions. Jesus Himself advised St. Margaret of Cortona to cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, and never to allow a day to pass without rendering some homage to him as His foster father. Let us not, then, fail to recommend ourselves each day to St. Joseph and to ask him for graces. *St. Joseph, make me faithful in invoking you daily.
FIFTH DAY All the faithful should be devoted to St. Joseph in order to obtain the grace of a good death, and this for three reasons. 1. Because Jesus Christ loved him not only as a friend, but as a father, and, therefore, his intercession is more powerful than that of the other saints. 2. Because Our Lord, in return for having saved Him from Herod, has given St. Joseph the special privilege of protecting the dying against the snares of the devil. 3. Because St. Joseph, who died in the company of Jesus and Mary, is the model of a holy death and can obtain this grace for his clients. *St. Joseph, obtain for me that, like you, I may die in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
SIXTH DAY According to St. John Damascene: “God gave St. Joseph the love, the care, and the authority of a father over Jesus. He gave him the affection of a father that he might guard Him with great love; the solicitude of a father, that he might watch over Him with care; and the authority of a father that he might feel sure that he would be obeyed in all that he arranged concerning this Son.” *St. Joseph, be always a father to us; and grant that we may be always your faithful children.
SEVENTH DAY When God, destines anyone for a particular office, He gives him the graces that fit him for it. Therefore, since God chose St. Joseph to fill the office of father over the person of the Incarnate Word, we must certainly believe that he conferred upon him all the sanctity which belonged to such an office. Gerson says that among other privileges Joseph had three which were special to him. 1 . That he was sanctified in his mother’s womb, as were Jeremias and St. John the Baptist. 2. That he was at the same time confirmed in grace. 3. That he was always exempt from the inclinations of concupiscence — a privilege with which St. Joseph by the merit of his purity, favors his devout clients by delivering them from carnal appetites. *St. Joseph, shining light of chastity, preserve the angelic virtue in me.
EIGHTH DAY In the Gospels St. Joseph is called “just.” What is meant by a just man? St. Peter Chrysologus says: “It means a perfect man — one who possesses all virtues.” Joseph was already holy before his marriage: but how much must his sanctity have increased after his union with the Blessed Virgin? The example of his holy spouse sufficed to sanctify him; and since Mary is the dispenser of all the graces which God grants to men, in what profusion must she not have showered them down upon her spouse, who she loved so much and by whom she was so tenderly loved! *St. Joseph, increase my devotion to Mary.
NINTH DAY The two disciples, going to Emmaus were inflamed with divine love by the few moments which they spent in company with our Savior, and by His words. What flames of holy love must not, then, have been enkindled in the heart of St. Joseph, who for thirty years conversed with Jesus Christ, and listened to His words of eternal life; who observed the perfect example which Jesus gave of humility and patience, and saw the promptness with which He obeyed and helped him in his labors, and all that was needed for the household! *St. Joseph, inflame us with the love of Jesus.
TENTH DAY St. Paul writes that in the next life Jesus Christ “will render to every man according to His works” (Rom. 2:6). What great glory must we not suppose that He has bestowed upon St. Joseph, who served and loved Him so much while He lived on earth! Our Lord has promised a reward to him who gives a cup of cold water to the poor in His name. What, then, must be the reward of St. Joseph, who can say to Jesus Christ: “I not only provided You with food, with a dwelling, and with clothes, but I saved You from death, delivering You from the hands of Herod.” *St. Joseph, increase our zeal for growing in holiness by the hope of eternal reward.
ELEVENTH DAY We must believe that the life of St. Joseph, spent in the presence of Jesus and Mary, was a continual prayer, abounding in acts of faith, confidence, love, resignation, and oblation. Since, then, the reward of the saints corresponds to their merits during life, consider how great must be the glory of St. Joseph in heaven. St. Augustine compares the other saints to the stars, but St. Joseph to the sun. It is, then, very reasonable to suppose that St. Joseph, after Mary, surpasses all the other saints in merit and glory. The Venerable Bernardine de Bustis says that when St. Joseph asks any grace for those who are devoted to him, his prayers have in a certain manner the force of a command with Jesus and Mary. *St. Joseph, obtain for us a great spirit of prayer.
TWELFTH DAY To prove the power which St. Joseph possesses in paradise, St. Bernardine of Siena writes thus: “We cannot doubt that Christ accords to St. Joseph, now that he is in heaven, even more perfectly the respect and reverence which He paid to him on earth. Our Lord, Who on earth revered St. Joseph as His father, will certainly deny him nothing that he asks in heaven.” Let us then say to him with confidence: *St. Joseph, powerful protector of souls, keep us from all sin.
THIRTEENTH DAY Oh great St. Joseph, since God has served you, I also wish to enroll myself in your service. I wish henceforth to serve you, to honor and love you. Take me under your protection and dispose of me as you please. My holy St. Joseph, pray to Jesus for me. Having obeyed all your commands on earth, He will certainly never refuse anything you ask Him. Tell Him to pardon me the offenses that I have committed against Him. Tell Him to detach me from creatures and from myself. Ask Him to inflame me with His holy love. *St. Joseph, watch over us, your children.
FOURTEENTH DAY Most holy patriarch, now that you are on a lofty throne in heaven near your beloved Jesus, Who was subject to you on earth, have pity on me, who am exposed to the attacks of so many enemies, to the evil spirits, and the passions that continually strive to rob me of the grace of God. Through the grace given to you on earth of enjoying the continual society of Jesus and Mary, obtain for me the grace of living during the remaining days of my life united to God, by resisting the attacks of hell. Grant, too, that I may die with the love of Jesus and Mary in my heart so that I may be able one day to enjoy with you their company in the kingdom of heaven. *St. Joseph, grant me a horror of sin and the grace to conquer my passions.
FIFTEENTH DAY St. Bernard, speaking of St. Joseph’s power of dispensing graces to his devout servants, makes use of the following remarkable words: “To some of the saints power is granted to succor us in particular necessities; but to St. Joseph power is granted to succor in all necessities, and to defend all those who, with devotion, have recourse to him.” Let us then often say to him: *St. Joseph, help us when we are in need.
SIXTEENTH DAY St. Teresa says: “I do not remember to have asked any favor from St. Joseph which he did not grant. An account of the many graces which God has bestowed upon me, and of the dangers, corporal and spiritual, from which He has delivered me through this saint would excite wonder. The Lord appears to have given power to the other saints to assist us in a single necessity; but experience shows that St. Joseph gives aid in all. The Lord gives us to understand that, as He was to be subject to St. Joseph on earth, so in heaven He does whatever the saint asks.” *St. Joseph, obtain for me the grace of perseverance in prayer.
SEVENTEENTH DAY St. Teresa also writes: “I would wish to persuade all the world to be devoted to St. Joseph, because I have long experience of the great favors which he obtains from God. I have never known any soul especially devoted to him that did not always advance in virtue. I ask, for God’s sake, that they who do not believe me will at least make a trial of this devotion. I cannot believe that favors are not granted to St. Joseph in return for the help which he gave on earth to Jesus and Mary.” *St. Joseph, patron of the interior life, lead me to that perfection which God requires of me.
EIGHTEENTH DAY Let us ask St. Joseph for the grace to love our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the particular grace which St. Joseph obtains for those who are devout to him — a tender love toward the Incarnate Word. The saint merited the power to bestow this grace upon his servants by the great love which he himself bore toward Jesus while he lived on earth. *St. Joseph, make me love Jesus with all my heart.
NINETEENTH DAY When Jesus lived in this world in the house of St. Joseph, could a sinner who desired to obtain forgiveness from Our Lord have found a more efficacious means of obtaining pardon than through St. Joseph? If, then, we desire to receive the forgiveness of our sins, let us have recourse to St. Joseph who, now that he is in heaven, is more loved by Jesus Christ than he was loved by Him on earth. *St. Joseph, obtain from Jesus the pardon of my sins.
TWENTIETH DAY “And Joseph also went from Galilee out of the town of Nazareth into Judea to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4). In response to the decree of Caesar Augustus, St. Joseph made the long journey across the hills from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, who bore beneath her heart the Incarnate Son of God. What sweet conversations must Mary and Joseph have held on this journey on the mercy of God in sending His Son into the world to redeem the human race, and on the love of this Son in coming into this valley of tears in order to atone by His suffering and death for the sins of men! *St. Joseph, I wish to belong entirely to you, so that through you I may belong entirely to Jesus and Mary.
TWENTY-FIRST DAY “And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for her to be delivered were fufilled. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7). How great must have been the sorrow of St. Joseph when he could find no shelter for Mary on the night of the birth of the Divine Word, and was obliged to bring her to a stable! How his heart must have been pierced with anguish to see his holy spouse, who was pregnant, and near the time of childbirth, trembling with cold in that damp cave, which was open on every side. Dear St. Joseph, through the pain which you felt in seeing the Divine Word born in a stable, so poor, without fire, without clothes, and in hearing the cries caused by the cold which afflicted Him, I pray you to obtain for me a true sorrow for my sins, by which I have drawn tears from Jesus. *St. Joseph, penetrate my heart with contrition and obtain for me the grace never to sin again.
TWENTY-SECOND DAY “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). How great must have been the joy of St. Joseph when he heard Mary calling him and saying “Joseph, come, and adore our infant God, Who is just born in this cave. Behold how beautiful He is. Look at the King of the world in this manger, on this straw. See how He, Who makes the seraphs burn with love, trembles with cold. Behold how He Who is the joy of paradise weeps!” Dear St. Joseph, through the joy which you received at the first sight of the infant Jesus in the crib, so beautiful and lovely that your heart began from that moment to beat with love for Him alone, obtain for me also the grace to love Jesus with an ardent love on earth so that I may one day go to enjoy Him in heaven. *St. Joseph, share with me a little of the burning love that you bore to Jesus.
TWENTY-THIRD DAY “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will” (Luke 2:14). Consider how great was the love and tenderness of St. Joseph when he beheld with his own eyes the Son of God become an infant; when he heard the angels singing around their newborn Lord, and saw the stable filled with light. Kneeling down and weeping with love and compassion, Joseph said: “I adore You, yes I adore You, my Lord and my God. How great is my happiness to be the first, after Mary, to see You born, and to know that in this world You wish to be called and reputed my Son! Allow me, then, also to call You my Son, and to say: My God and my Son, to You I consecrate my whole being. My life shall be no longer mine, but shall be Yours without reserve!” *St. Joseph, grant that I may spend my life, like you, in the service of God.
TWENTY-FOURTH DAY “An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, ‘Arise, and take the child and His mother and flee into Egypt’ ” (Matt. 2:13). Consider the ready obedience of St. Joseph, who raised no doubts about the time of the journey, nor about the manner of traveling, nor about the place in Egypt in which they were to stay, but immediately prepared to set out. He instantly makes known to Mary the command of the angel, and on the same night sets out without guide on a journey of 400 miles through mountains, across rugged roads and deserts. *My holy protector, obtain for me the grace of perfect obedience to the divine will.
TWENTY-FIFTH DAY How much St. Joseph must have suffered on the journey into Egypt in seeing the sufferings of Jesus and Mary! Their food must have been a piece of hard bread. They could have slept only in some poor hut, or in the open air. Joseph was indeed conformed in all things to the will of the Eternal Father, but his tender and loving heart could not but feel pain in seeing the Son of God trembling and weeping from cold and the other hardships which He experienced. *St. Joseph, obtain for me the grace that in my journey to eternity I may never lose the company of Jesus and Mary.
TWENTY-SIXTH DAY “The boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and his parents did not know it” (Luke 2:43). How great was the pain of St. Joseph when Jesus was lost in the temple! Joseph was accustomed to the enjoyment of the sweet presence of his beloved Savior. What, then, must have been his sorrow when he was deprived of it for three days, without knowing whether he should evermore find Jesus, and most painful of all, without knowing why he had lost Him. How great, on the other hand, was Joseph’s joy when he found Jesus and realized that the absence of the Child did not arise from any neglect on his part, but from a zeal for the glory of the Father. *St. Joseph, through the merits of the pains which you suffered at losing Jesus, obtain for me tears to weep always for my sins.
TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them” (Luke 2:51). Reflect on the holy life which Joseph led in the company of Jesus and Mary. In that family there was no business except that which tended to the greater glory of God; there were no thoughts or desires except the thought and desire of pleasing God; there were no discourses except on the love which men owe to God, and which God has shown to men, especially in sending His only begotten Son into the world to suffer and to end His life in a sea of sorrows and insults for the salvation of mankind. *St. Joseph, through the tears which you shed in contemplating the future passion of Jesus, obtain for me a continual remembrance of the suffering of my Redeemer.
TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY Consider the love which St. Joseph bore to Mary, his holy spouse. She was the most beautiful of all women. She was more humble, more meek, more pure, more obedient, more inflamed with the love of God, than all the angels and than all men that have been or shall be created. Hence, she merited all his love. Add to this his realization of the love that she bore for him, and the fact that God had chosen her as His beloved Mother. *St. Joseph, obtain for me a great love for Mary, your most holy spouse.
TWENTY-NINTH DAY Consider the love which Joseph bore to Jesus. This love was not purely human like the love of other fathers, but superhuman; for he loved Jesus not only as his son but also as his God. Joseph knew from the angel that his child was the Divine Word Who had become man to save mankind. He realized, too, that he himself had been chosen from among all men to be the protector and guardian of this divine Infant. What a flame of holy love must, then, have been enkindled in the heart of Joseph by reflecting on all these things, and by the sight of his Lord obeying him like a little boy, opening and closing the door, helping him to saw or to plane, gathering fragments of wood, or sweeping the house! *St. Joseph, remove from my heart all that could be an obstacle to the love of God.
THIRTIETH DAY “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones” (Ps. 115:6). After having faithfully served Jesus and Mary, St. Joseph reached the end of his life in the house at Nazareth. There, surrounded by angels, assisted by Jesus Christ the King of angels, and by Mary, his spouse, who placed themselves at each side of his poor bed, filled with the peace of paradise, he departed from this miserable life. Who shall ever be able to understand the sweetness, the consolation, the blessed hope, the acts of resignation, the flames of charity which the words of eternal life coming alternately from the lips of Jesus and Mary, breathed into the soul of Joseph at the end of his life? *St. Joseph, grant me peace and resignation to God’s will at the hour of my death.
THIRTY-FIRST DAY Great, indeed, will be the comfort of those, who, at the hour of death shall be protected by St. Joseph. For this great saint has received from God power to command the devils and to drive them away, less they tempt his servants in their dying moments. Happy is the soul that shall be assisted by this great advocate, who, on account of having died with the assistance of Jesus and Mary, and because of having preserved the infant Jesus from the danger of death by his flight into Egypt, has received the privilege of being the patron of a good death, and of delivering his clients from the danger of eternal death. *St. Joseph, defend me from the attacks of the devils at the last moment of my life. NOTE FROM THE TRANSCRIBER: To the best of my knowledge, this text is out of copyright, and not readily available. If I am mistaken, I apologize. Due to benefits received and prayers answered from St. Joseph, I wanted to make this available freely to those interested, in order to increase devotion to this example of obedience, trust in God, and quiet strength. If you find this useful to you, I humbly ask a prayer for the transcriber, his family, and business. Feb, 2017
Novena to St. Joseph
*(prayer to be said at the end of each day’s devotion)
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.
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
FOSTER-FATHER OF JESUS
Saint Joseph, you were privileged to share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the foster-father of Jesus. Mary alone was directly connected with the fulfillment of the mystery, in that she gave her consent to Christ’s conception and allowed the Holy Spirit to form the sacred humanity of Jesus from her blood. You had a part in this mystery in an indirect manner, by fulfilling the condition necessary for the Incarnation — the protection of Mary’s virginity before and during your married life with her. You made the virginal marriage possible, and this was a part of God’s plan, foreseen, willed, and decreed from all eternity.
In a more direct manner you shared in the support, upbringing, and protection of the Divine Child as His foster-father. For this purpose the Heavenly Father gave you a genuine heart of a father — a heart full of love and self-sacrifice. With the toil of your hands you were obliged to offer protection to the Divine Child, to procure for Him food, clothing, and a home. You were truly the saint of the holy childhood of Jesus — the living created providence which watched over the Christ-Child.
When Herod sought the Child to put Him to death, the Heavenly Father sent an angel but only as a messenger, giving orders for the flight; the rest He left entirely in your hands. It was that fatherly love which was the only refuge that received and protected the Divine Child. Your fatherly love carried Him through the desert into Egypt until all enemies were removed. Then on your arms the Child returned to Nazareth to be nourished and provided for during many years by the labor of your hands. Whatever a human son owes to a human father for all the benefits of his up-bringing and support, Jesus owed to you, because you were to Him a foster-father, teacher, and protector.
You served the Divine Child with a singular love. God gave you a heart filled with heavenly, supernatural love — a love far deeper and more powerful than any natural father’s love could be.You served the Divine Child with great unselfishness, without any regard to self-interest, but not without sacrifices. You did not toil for yourself, but you seemed to be an instrument intended for the benefit of others, to be put aside as soon as it had done its word, for you disappeared from the scene once the childhood of Jesus had passed.
You were the shadow of the Heavenly Father not only as the earthly representative of the authority of the Father, but also by means of your fatherhood — which only appeared to be natural — you were to hide for a while the divinity of Jesus. What a wonderfully sublime and divine vocation was yours — the loving Child which you carried in your arms, and loved and served so faithfully, had God in Heaven as Father and was Himself God!
Yours is a very special rank among the saints of the Kingdom of God, because you were so much a part of the very life of the Word of God made Man. In your house at Nazareth and under your care the redemption of mankind was prepared. What you accomplished, you did for us. You are not only a powerful and great saint in the Kingdom of God, but a benefactor of the whole of Christendom and mankind. Your rank in the Kingdom of God, surpassing far in dignity and honor of all the angels, deserves our very special veneration, love, and gratitude.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of His Divine Son. As a token of your own gratitude to God for this your greatest privilege, obtain for me the grace of a very devoted love for Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior. Help me to serve Him with some of the self-sacrificing love and devotion which you had while on this earth with Him. Grant that through your intercession with Jesus, your foster-Son, I may reach the degree of holiness God has destined for me, and save my soul.
VIRGINAL HUSBAND OF MARY
Saint Joseph, I honor you as the true husband of Mary. Scripture says: “Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of her was born Jesus who is called Christ” (Matt. 1:16). Your marriage to Mary was a sacred contract by which you and Mary gave yourselves to each other. Mary really belonged to you with all she was and had. You had a right to her love and obedience; and no other person so won her esteem, obedience, and love.
You were also the protector and witness of Mary’s virginity. By your marriage you gave to each other your virginity, and also the mutual right over it — a right to safeguard the other’s virtue. This mutual virginity also belonged to the divine plan of the Incarnation, for God sent His angel to assure you that motherhood and virginity in Mary could be united.
This union of marriage not only brought you into daily familiar association with Mary, the loveliest of God’s creatures, but also enabled you to share with her a mutual exchange of spiritual goods. And Mary found her edification in your calm, humble, and deep virtue, purity, and sanctity. What a great honor comes to you from this close union with her whom the Son of God calls Mother and whom He declared the Queen of heaven and earth! Whatever Mary had belonged by right to you also, and this included her Son, even though He had been given to her by God in a wonderful way. Jesus belonged to you as His legal father. Your marriage was the way which God chose to have Jesus introduced into the world, a great divine mystery from which all benefits have come to us.
God the Son confided the guardianship and the support of His Immaculate Mother to your care. Mary’s life was that of the Mother of the Savior, who did not come upon earth to enjoy honors and pleasures, but to redeem the world by hard work, suffering, and the cross. You were the faithful companion, support, and comforter of the Mother of Sorrows. How loyal you were to her in poverty, journeying, work, and pain. Your love for Mary was based upon your esteem for her as Mother of God. After God and the Divine Child, you loved no one as much as her. Mary responded to this love. She submitted to your guidance with naturalness and easy grace and childlike confidence. The Holy Spirit Himself was the bond of the great love which united your hearts.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the virginal husband of Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus with all my heart, as you did, and love Mary with some of the tenderness and loyalty with which you loved her.
MAN CHOSEN BY THE BLESSED TRINITY
Saint Joseph, you were the man chosen by God the Father. He selected you to be His representative on earth, hence He granted you all the graces and blessings you needed to be His worthy representative.
You were the man chosen by God the Son. Desirous of a worthy foster-father, He added His own riches and gifts, and above all, His love. The true measure of your sanctity is to be judged by your imitation of Jesus. You were entirely consecrated to Jesus, working always near Him, offering Him your virtues, your work, your sufferings, your very life. Jesus lived in you perfectly so that you were transformed into Him. In this lies your special glory, and the keynote of your sanctity. Hence, after Mary, you are the holiest of the saints.
You were chosen by the Holy Spirit. He is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son — the heart of the Holy Trinity. In His wisdom He draws forth all creatures from nothing, guides them to their end in showing them their destiny and giving them the means to reach it. Every vocation and every fulfillment of a vocation proceeds from the Holy Spirit. As a foster-father of Jesus and head of the Holy Family, you had an exalted and most responsible vocation — to open the way for the redemption of the world and to prepare for it by the education and guidance of the youth of the God-Man. In this work you cooperated as the instrument of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the guide; you obeyed and carried out the works. How perfectly you obeyed the guidance of the God of Love!
The words of the Old Testament which Pharaoh spoke concerning Joseph of Egypt can well be applied to you: “Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God, or a wise man like to him?” (Gen. 41:38). No less is your share in the divine work of God than was that of Egypt. You now reign with your foster-Son and see reflected in the mirror of God’s Wisdom the Divine Will and what is of benefit to our souls.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for having made you the man specially chosen by Him. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to imitate your virtues so that I too may be pleasing to the Heart of God. Help me to give myself entirely to His service and to the accomplishment of His Holy Will, that one day I may reach heaven and be eternally united to God as you are.
Saint Joseph, you lived for one purpose — to be the personal servant of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Your noble birth and ancestry, the graces and gifts, so generously poured out on you by God — all this was yours to serve our Lord better. Every thought, word, and action of yours was a homage to the love and glory of the Incarnate Word. You fulfilled most faithfully the role of a good and faithful servant who cared for the House of God.
How perfect was your obedience! Your position in the Holy Family obliged you to command, but besides being the foster-father of Jesus, you were also His disciple. For almost thirty years, you watched the God-Man display a simple and prompt obedience, and you grew to love and practice it very perfectly yourself. Without exception you submitted to God, to the civil rulers, and to the voice of your conscience.
When God sent an angel to tell you to care for Mary, you obeyed in spite of the mystery which surrounded her motherhood. When you were told to flee into Egypt under painful conditions, you obeyed without the slightest word of complaint. When God advised you in a dream to return to Nazareth, you obeyed. In every situation your obedience was as simple as your faith, as humble as your heart, as prompt as your love. It neglected nothing; it took in every command.
You had the virtue of perfect devotedness, which marks a good servant. Every moment of your life was consecrated to the service of our Lord: sleep, rest, work, pain. Faithful to your duties, you sacrificed everything unselfishly, even cheerfully. You would have sacrificed even the happiness of being with Mary. The rest and quiet of Nazareth was sacrificed at the call of duty. Your entire life was one generous giving, even to the point of being ready to die in proof of your love for Jesus and Mary. With true unselfish devotedness you worked without praise or reward.
But God wanted you to be in a certain sense a cooperator in the Redemption of the world. He confided to you the care of nourishing and defending the Divine Child. He wanted you to be poor and to suffer because He destined you to be the foster-father of His Son, who came into the world to save men by His sufferings and death, and you were to share in His suffering. In all of these important tasks, the Heavenly Father always found you a faithful servant!
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God’s faithful servant. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were. Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father; to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God.
PATRON OF THE CHURCH
Saint Joseph, God has appointed you patron of the Catholic Church because you were the head of the Holy Family, the starting-point of the Church. You were the father, protector, guide and support of the Holy Family. For that reason you belong in a particular way to the Church, which was the purpose of the Holy Family’s existence.
I believe that the Church is the family of God on earth. Its government is represented in priestly authority which consists above all in its power over the true Body of Christ, really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, thus continuing Christ’s life in the Church. From this power, too, comes authority over the Mystical Body of Christ, the members of the Church — the power to teach and govern souls, to reconcile them with God, to bless them, and to pray for them.
You have a special relationship to the priesthood because you possessed a wonderful power over our Savior Himself. Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament. To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us — as it is the priest’s function to bring Him to us in the Mass — for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him. You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you! Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for the Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion.
God has appointed you patron of the Church because the glorious title of patriarch also falls by special right to you. The patriarchs were the heads of families of the Chosen People, and theirs was the honor to prepare for the Savior’s incarnation. You belonged to this line of patriarchs, for you were one of the last descendants of the family of David and one of the nearest forebears of Christ according to the flesh. As husband of Mary, the Mother of God, and as the foster-father of the Savior, you were directly connected with Christ. Your vocation was especially concerned with the Person of Jesus; your entire activity centered about Him. You are, therefore, the closing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New, which took its rise with the Holy Family of Nazareth. Because the New Testament surpasses the Old in every respect, you are the patriarch of patriarchs, the most venerable, exalted, and amiable of all the patriarchs.
Through Mary, the Church received Christ, and therefore the Church is indebted to her. But the Church owes her debt of gratitude and veneration to you also, for you were the chosen one who enabled Christ to enter into the world according to the laws of order and fitness. It was by you that the patriarchs and the prophets and the faithful reaped the fruit of God’s promise. Alone among them all, you saw with your own eyes and possessed the Redeemer promised to the rest of men.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul. Bless the priests, the religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God’s love and faithfulness in His service. Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies. Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world — the glory of God and the salvation of souls!
PATRON OF FAMILIES
Saint Joseph, I venerate you as the gentle head of the Holy Family. The Holy Family was the scene of your life’s work in its origin, in its guidance, in its protection, in your labor for Jesus and Mary, and even in your death in their arms. You lived, moved, and acted in the loving company of Jesus and Mary. The inspired writer describes your life at Nazareth in only a few words: “And (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them” (Luke, 2:51). Yet these words tell of your high vocation here on earth, and the abundance of graces which filled your soul during those years spent in Nazareth.
Your family life at Nazareth was all radiant with the light of divine charity. There was an intimate union of heart and mind among the members of your Holy Family. There could not have been a closer bond than that uniting you to Jesus, your foster-Son and to Mary, your most loving wife. Jesus chose to fulfill toward you, His foster-father, all the duties of a faithful son, showing you every mark of honor and affection due to a parent. And Mary showed you all the signs of respect and love of a devoted wife. You responded to this love and veneration from Jesus and Mary with feelings of deepest love and respect. You had for Jesus a true fatherly love, enkindled and kept aglow in your heart by the Holy Spirit. And you could not cease to admire the workings of grace in Mary’s soul, and this admiration caused the holy love which you had consecrated to her on the day of your wedding grow stronger every day.
God has made you a heavenly patron of family life because you sanctified yourself as head of the Holy Family and thus by your beautiful example sanctified family life. How peacefully and happily the Holy Family rested under the care of your fatherly rule, even in the midst of trials. You were the protector, counselor, and consolation of the Holy Family in every need. And just as you were the model of piety, so you gave us by your zeal, your earnestness and devout trust in God’s providence, and especially by your love, the example of labor according to the Will of God. You cherished all the experiences common to family life and the sacred memories of the life, sufferings, and joys in the company of Jesus and Mary. Therefore the family is dear to you as the work of God, and it is of the highest importance in your eyes to promote the honor of God and the well-being of man. In your loving fatherliness and unfailing intercession you are the patron and intercessor of families, and you deserve a place in every home.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of living in the Holy Family and being its head. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain God’s blessing upon my own family. Make our home the kingdom of Jesus and Mary — a kingdom of peace, of joy, and love.
I also pray for all Christian families. Your help is needed in our day when God’s enemy has directed his attack against the family in order to desecrate and destroy it. In the face of these evils, as patron of families, be pleased to help; and as of old, you arose to save the Child and His Mother, so today arise to protect the sanctity of the home. Make our homes sanctuaries of prayer, of love, of patient sacrifice, and of work. May they be modeled after your own at Nazareth. Remain with us with Jesus and Mary, so that by your help we may obey the commandments of God and of the Church; receive the holy sacraments of God and of the Church; live a life of prayer; and foster religious instruction in our homes. Grant that we may be reunited in God’s Kingdom and eternally live in the company of the Holy Family in heaven.
PATRON OF WORKERS
Saint Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the Will of God that you and your foster-Son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for the working classes!
It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind, that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth, He read the words of Isaiah and referred them to Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). It was God’s Will that you should be occupied with work common to poor people, that in this way Jesus Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, His foster-father, and by freely embracing it. Thus our Lord teaches us that for the humbler class of workmen, He has in store His richest graces, provided they live content in the place God’s Providence has assigned them, and remain poor in spirit for He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced — a virtue most pleasing to Him. He chose for His earthly surroundings not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man. What a touching example for the worker of today!
While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the Divine Master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as He worked He adored His Father and recommended the welfare of the world to Him, Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with Him who said of Himself, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”
As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and limitless power.
The light of divine faith that filled your mind, did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the saintly Youth working beside you was truly God’s own Son.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
FRIEND IN SUFFERING
Saint Joseph, your share of suffering was very great because of your close union with the Divine Savior. All the mysteries of His life were more or less mysteries of suffering. Poverty pressed upon you, and the cross of labor followed you everywhere. Nor were you spared domestic crosses, owing to misunderstandings in regard to the holiest and most cherished of all beings, Jesus and Mary, who were all to you. Keen must have been the suffering caused by the uncertainty regarding Mary’s virginity; by the bestowal of the name of Jesus, which pointed to future misfortune. Deeply painful must have been the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the disappearance of Jesus at the Paschal feast. To these sufferings were surely added interior sorrow at the sight of the sins of your own people.
You bore all this suffering in a truly Christ-like manner, and in this you are our example. No sound of complaint or impatience escaped you — you were, indeed, the silent saint! You submitted to all in the spirit of faith, humility, confidence, and love. You cheerfully bore all in union with and for the Savior and His Mother, knowing well that true love is a crucified love. But God never forsook you in your trials. The trials, too, disappeared and were changed at last into consolation and joy.
It seems that God had purposely intended your life to be filled with suffering as well as consolation to keep before my eyes the truth that my life on earth is but a succession of joys and sorrows, and that I must gratefully accept whatever God sends me, and during the time of consolation prepare for suffering. Teach me to bear my cross in the spirit of faith, of confidence, and of gratitude toward God. In a happy eternity, I shall thank God fervently for the sufferings which He deigned to send me during my pilgrimage on earth, and which after your example I endured with patience and heartfelt love for Jesus and Mary.
You were truly the martyr of the hidden life. This was God’s Will, for the holier a person is, the more he is tried for the love and glory of God. If suffering is the flowering of God’s grace in a soul and the triumph of the soul’s love for God, being the greatest of saints after Mary, you suffered more than any of the martyrs.
Because you have experienced the sufferings of this valley of tears, you are most kind and sympathetic toward those in need. Down through the ages souls have turned to you in distress and have always found you a faithful friend in suffering. You have graciously heard their prayers in their needs even though it demanded a miracle. Having been so intimately united with Jesus and Mary in life, your intercession with Them is most powerful.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to suffer for Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to bear my suffering patiently for love of Jesus and Mary. Grant that I may unite the sufferings, works and disappointments of life with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass, and share like you in Mary’s spirit of sacrifice.
PATRON OF A HAPPY DEATH
Saint Joseph, how fitting it was that at the hour of your death Jesus should stand at your bedside with Mary, the sweetness and hope of all mankind. You gave your entire life to the service of Jesus and Mary; at death you enjoyed the consolation of dying in Their loving arms. You accepted death in the spirit of loving submission to the Will of God, and this acceptance crowned your hidden life of virtue. Yours was a merciful judgment, for your foster-Son, for whom you had cared so lovingly, was your Judge, and Mary was your advocate. The verdict of the Judge was a word of encouragement to wait for His coming to Limbo, where He would shower you with the choicest fruits of the Redemption, and an embrace of grateful affection before you breathed forth your soul into eternity.
You looked into eternity and to your everlasting reward with confidence. If our Savior blessed the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, John the Baptist, and others, because they greeted His presence with devoted hearts for a brief passing hour, how much more did He bless you who have sanctified yourself for so many years in His company and that of His Mother? If Jesus regards every corporal and spiritual work of mercy, performed in behalf of our fellow men out of love for Him, as done to Himself, and promises heaven as a reward, what must have been the extent of His gratitude to you who in the truest sense of the word have received Him, given Him shelter, clothed, nourished, and consoled Him at the sacrifice of your strength and rest, and even your life, with a love which surpassed the love of all fathers.
God really and personally made Himself your debtor. Our Divine Savior paid that debt of gratitude by granting you many graces in your lifetime, especially the grace of growing in love, which is the best and most perfect of all gifts. Thus at the end of your life your heart became filled with love, the fervor and longing of which your frail body could not resist. Your soul followed the triumphant impulse of your love and winged its flight from earth to bear the prophets and patriarchs in Limbo the glad tidings of the advent of the Redeemer.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death. May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God’s Holy Will, and die, as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!
The Litany of Saint Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us .
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, etc.
Light of the patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most valiant,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen ,
Glory of domestic life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of His household,
R. And prince over all His possessions.
Let Us Pray
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother, grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in Heaven, Thou Who livest and reignest forever and ever. R. Amen.