to St. Joseph
PRAYER (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.
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.
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