Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Novena to St. Joseph begins today.

Go to Joseph.

The Novena.

This year, I'm turning with greater urgency and solemnity to our holy father St. Joseph, and I get the sense many Christians are doing so as well.  Certainly the Universal Church turns to her patron with great fervor, so I unite my prayer to the prayer of the Church.

My devotion to St. Joseph developed under Franciscan and Carmelite influence and tradition - especially as promoted by St. Teresa of Avila.  I too have experienced  that St. Joseph helps us in every need we entrust to him.
"I took for my advocate and lord the glorious St. Joseph and earnestly recommended myself to him. I saw clearly that as in this need so in other greater ones concerning honour and loss of soul this father and lord of mine came to my rescue in better ways than I knew how to ask for. I don't recall up to this day ever having petitioned him for anything that he failed to grant.

...whereas with this glorious saint I have experience that he helps us in all our needs and that the Lord wants us to understand that just as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth—for since bearing the title of father, being the Lord's tutor, Joseph could give the Child commands—so in heaven God does whatever he commands.

This has been observed by persons, also through experience, whom I have told to recommend themselves to him. And so there are many who in experiencing this truth renew their devotion to him." - Teresa of Avila

I like to think about him, to wonder what his life must have been like.  Did you know some Spanish friars once told me they believe that St. Joseph was assumed into heaven?

I think the Copts believe he wasn't a virgin but was married before.   I believe he was a virgin however.  He was most pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I can only understand this by thinking St. Joseph must have been pre-sanctified - perhaps like St. John the Baptist - and was preserved from concupiscence.  I like to think that.

Somewhere I read that the house where the Holy Family lived has been found in the Holy Land.  It is thought that a small edifice was constructed at the mouth of a small cave, containing a few 'rooms', was the place Jesus grew up.  Some speculated that the Blessed Virgin and Jesus lived in the antechamber, and Joseph slept separately in the back.  I don't know how they lived, but I doubt it was in that way.  I think they were well integrated as a family and they shared the space as any family would.  Certainly sleeping arrangements would be different - but I wonder if they had the luxury of separate rooms?  They were very ordinary people, after all.

I like to think of St. Joseph as an example, a model, a patron of chastity, for those committed to a chaste life - even in the most irregular circumstances.  After all, he was husband to the most chaste Virgin Mary and foster father to the Son of God.  He is a helper and model for men and women, be they single or married, living a common life, or living alone.  Likewise, he is the protector of virgins - male and female.

He's a father to the fatherless, the abused, the abandoned, the desperate, the lonely.

He's a provider.  He finds a home for the lonely.  He finds work for the unemployed.

He's a friend for the friendless.

He teaches us to pray.

He's the patron of a holy death.

He loves us as a father and friend - he will come to our aid in even better ways than we know what to ask for.  Did you know some Spanish images dedicated to his honor give him the title of "Refuge of sinners"?  He is certainly that - he helped me many times - especially when I fell from grace.  He never gives up - he is the preeminent saint of the impossible.

Go to Joseph!

A very good devotion in honor of St. Joseph are the prayers honoring the Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph.  They can be found here.


  1. May glorious St. Joseph watch over and intercede for all of God's little ones. Just this afternoon, I read that ISIS is claiming they plan to behead more Christian captives and have threatened to burn their children in cages, alive, if they do not renounce their faith in Christ.

    May God have mercy on us all.

    St. Joseph, pray for us!

  2. Well our family has a particular need at this time so I'm joining in the novena and have asked all my children and grandchildren to join as well. I hope we will all have great stories to tell after Dear St. Joseph's feast day!

  3. Thank you Terry for this; I have found it very inspiring to read...a source of hope...Lou

  4. Thanks for this reminder, Terry. My oldest son and I have an intention that is perfect for a novena to St. Joseph, example of 1) obedience and diligence in work (for the sometimes surly 9 year-old) and 2) being a loving, tender father (for the sometimes impatient and angry father of the 9 year-old). We said the first prayer together last night. (We used this one: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-joseph-novena/ because I think you need to be an adult to appreciate the flowery, formal language in the one you linked.)

  5. Thanks very much for this reminder. I am very late again, as usual!!...


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