Daily Novena Prayer
This prayer is to be said at the end of each day's devotion to Saint Joseph. After the prayers, we have provided a meditation about Saint Joseph for each day.
I, thy unworthy child, greet thee. Thou art the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate thee. Thou knowest that I have special confidence in thee and that, after Our Lord and Our Lady, I place all my hope of salvation in thee, for thou art especially powerful with God and will never abandon thy faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke thee and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belongs to me, to thy intercession.
I beg thee, by thy love for Our Lord and Our Lady, 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 Thou didst in the arms of Our Lord and Our Lady.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to thee to implore thy 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: [State your request here.]
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that thy prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
A Meditation about Saint Joseph for Each Day of the Novena
By Pope Leo XIII
The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory.
In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures. For marriage is the most intimate of all unions which from its essence imparts a community of gifts between those that by it are joined together.
Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity. And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men.
Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents.
From this twofold dignity flowed the obligation which nature lays upon the head of families, so that Joseph became the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was. And during the whole course of his life he fulfilled those charges and those duties.
He set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing; he guarded from death the Child threatened by a monarch's jealousy, and found for Him a refuge; in the miseries of the journey and in the bitterness of exile he was ever the companion, the assistance and the upholder of the Virgin and of Jesus.
Now the divine house which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father, contained within its limits the scarce-born Church. From the same fact that the most holy Virgin is the mother of Jesus Christ is she the mother of all Christians whom she bore on Mount Calvary amid the supreme throes of the Redemption; Jesus Christ is, in a manner, the first-born of Christians, who by the adoption and Redemption are his brothers.
And for such reasons the Blessed Patriarch looks upon the multitude of Christians who make up the Church as confided specially to his trust - this limitless family spread over the earth, over which, because he is the spouse of Mary and the Father of Jesus Christ he holds, as it were, a paternal authority. It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.
Saint Joseph: Marytr of Grandeur
By Plinio Correa de Oliveira
To even begin to comprehend the nature of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we must bear in mind two awe-inspiring facts. St. Joseph is the virgin-husband of Our Lady and the guardian-father of Our Lord.
The husband must be proportional to the wife. Saint Joseph's spouse is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most perfect of all creatures and masterpiece of the Creator's handiwork. In her incomparable person, we find the sum of all the virtues of all the angels, and saints, indeed all creation until the end of time. Even these poor considerations, of course, fail to convey adequately the sublime perfection of the Most Holy Mother of God.
From among all men, God chose one man worthy to love and honor the Mother of His Only-Begotten Son as her husband He was a husband proportional to his wife in love of God, purity, wisdom, justice-in every virtue. Saint Joseph was that man.
However there remains something even more incomprehensible. The father must be proportional to his son, and, as we have noted, the Son for Whom God sought an earthly father was none other than His Own. There could be but one man fit for such an awesome responsibility, the man God created for precisely this vocation and whose soul He crowned with every virtue. That man, too, was Saint Joseph.
Saint Joseph is proportional to the Blessed Mother and her Divine Son. What greater homage could we render him? It is beyond our power to imagine the grandeur of Saint Joseph's exaltation. Words cannot express the depth of his penetration of the most holy soul of Our Lady and the degree of his intimacy with the Incarnate Word.
Saint Anthony of Padua is commonly depicted holding the Child Jesus. Because the Divine Child rested in his arms for a few moments, we deem Saint Anthony particularly blessed. Yet how many times did Saint Joseph hold the Christ Child in his arms?
Saint Joseph's were the pure lips that taught Jesus and answered His questions. Consider Saint Joseph's carpenter shop in Nazareth, where a son learns the trade of his father. If you can conceive of a man with the purity, humility, and wisdom to govern the Holy Family as its lord, you may begin to appreciate the sublime virtue of Saint Joseph. But how did Saint Joseph's contemporaries react in the face of this grandeur?
Saint Luke provides clear testimony. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)
These last words reveal a bitter truth. In their petty selfishness, men find it difficult to accept that which is great - much less that which is divine. We may think that men like to deal with important matters. Indeed some men do enjoy such things, but in a superficial and selfish manner. What attracts men is not so much grandeur as mediocrity, a mixture of good and evil in which evil predominates.
So we can understand why the innkeepers of Bethlehem were unwilling to make room for the Holy Family. Saint Joseph and Mary showed them the most tender kindness. Their majesty was unmistakable, even in their poverty.
However distinction is only acceptable when it is accompanied by wealth, for the latter pardons the former. Moreover, greed incites flattery, which takes the place of respect. Thus, when a poor man of great distinction knocks at the door, there is no room. It would have taken but five minutes to arrange ample accommodation for mediocre rich men, but there was no room in the inn for Saint Joseph or for his wife with Child. Even had they known that the Child was the promised Messiah, they still would not have received them. As Donoso Cortes aptly reminds us, "The human spirit hungers for absurdity and sin."
The Child Jesus resembled Our Lady. She was the prefigure of the Redeemer. Saint Joseph also looked like Him, but there was no room in the inn for the Holy Family. Thus history records the first refusal of the Hebrew people. Our Lord knocks at the doors - at the hearts of men, through the paternal intercession of Saint Joseph and He is refused.
Saint Joseph, prince of the House of David, the royal family from which would come the Hope of the Nations - knocks at the door and is rejected, but in this rejection lies his glory. Taking another step toward martyrdom, he leads his august spouse to a poor stable, where the Lord of the Universe will be born.
To this glory would be added many others: the glory of being considered a person of little worth; the glory of taking upon himself the humiliation, ignominy and opprobrium that was to fall upon Our Lord; or the glory of being scorned by men for the grandeur of his soul. Even to this day, that same glory leads us to implore, "Saint Joseph, Martyr of Grandeur, Pray for us!"
Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman
By Pope St. Pius X
O glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor, the gifts received from God.
To work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties. To work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having death always before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
How Strongly do you Confide in Saint Joseph?
By Saint Teresa of Avila
“Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint, for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him and honored him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him.
It is now very many years since I began asking him for something on his feast, and I have always received it. If the petition was in any way amiss, he rectified it for my greater good. I ask for the love of God that he who does not believe me will make the trial for himself—then he will find out by experience the great good that results from commending oneself to this glorious Patriarch and in being devoted to him” Saint Joseph, Pray for us!
Selfless love for hierarchy
By Plinio Correa de Oliveira, Nov. 2 1992
Let us see the example of St. Joseph, Our Lady and Our Lord Jesus Christ to understand hierarchy in its purest, most clear and most perfect expression. A practice of this virtue that was devoid of all egoism and pretension; one that is a pure love of God. It begets the love for every sort of hierarchy without the preoccupation of being great, doing much or having a lot of power.
It is the love of hierarchy for God's sake.
Souls who have the true sense of hierarchy selflessly love their superiors. For them, the word majesty has meaning. It is the mystery and special light that makes kings and emperors venerable and respectable, even when due to personal defects, they do not deserve the homage they receive for being who they are.
If a king or emperor corresponds in someway to being what he was called to be, this correspondence however small, is like the scent from a most extraordinary flower. A single drop of scent from this august flower produces an effect upon the upright man similar to that produced by greater holiness upon lesser holiness. This is an analogy of what took place among the three unspeakably sublime persons of the Holy Family - one of them God.
These are reflections about the lofty admiration and enthusiasm that true hierarchies should spark in souls that are upright and authentically Catholic. Like the perfect hierarchy that existed in the Holy Family in an archetypal manner.
Saint Joseph: Participant in the Greatest Events in History
By Plinio Correa de Oliveira
The great Saint Joseph was of illustrious ancestry, yet lived in obscurity among those of the lowest social class of his time; a marked contrast with his high birth. He has little of the natural means by which men become great. He has neither armies nor subjects to spread about the glory of his name.
He had not the funds to climb to high position. He lived humbly and unknown in the shadow of the majestic temple of David, in the land where Solomon’s wisdom once reigned. Nevertheless, he shines with the fire of charity. His intense love of God, his admirable spirituality and interior life, make his soul pleasing to the Most Holy Trinity. It is this humble man who is called to participate directly in events that caused the most remarkable facts in history, such as the Redemption of mankind.
Excerpt from a sermon on Saint Joseph
By Saint Bernardine of Siena
It is beyond doubt that Christ did not deny to Joseph in heaven that intimacy, respect and high honor which he showed to him as to a father during his own human life, but rather completed and perfected it. Justifiably the words of Our Lord should be applied to him, "Enter into the joy of your Lord."
Although it is the joy of eternal happiness that comes into the heart of man, Our Lord prefers to say to him "enter into joy".
The mystical implication is that this joy is not just inside man, but surrounds him everywhere and absorbs him, as if he were plunged in an infinite abyss.
Therefore be mindful of us, blessed Joseph and intercede for us with Him Whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favor of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the Mother of Him Who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.
The Virtues of Saint Joseph
By Saint Francis de Sales
"All virtues and perfections were then reflected absolutely in Saint Joseph, so that it almost seemed as if he were as perfect and possessed all virtues in as high a degree as the glorious Virgin, our Mistress." Conf XIX, On the Virtues of Saint Joseph, p. 368.
"Certainly Saint Joseph is most justly said to resemble the palm (tree), always constant, persevering, strong and valiant. There is a great difference between these four virtues.
We call a man constant when he remains firm and prepared to suffer the assaults of the enemy, without surprise or loss of courage during the combat. Perseverance, however, has chiefly to do with a certain weariness of mind which comes upon us when we have suffered a long time, and this weariness is as powerful an enemy as we can meet with. Now, perseverance enables a man to disregard this enemy that he gains the victory over it by continual calmness and submission to the will of God.
Strength makes a man vigorously resist the attacks of his enemies, and valor is a virtue which makes us not only hold ourselves in readiness to fight or to offer resistance when the occasion presents itself, but also to attack the enemy at the moment when he least expects it." Conf XIX, On the Virtues of St. Joseph, p. 378.
Saint Joseph's Constancy
By Saint Francis de Sales
"Now, our glorious Saint Joseph was endowed with all the virtues of constancy, perseverance, strength and valor, and practiced them marvelously well.
As regards his constancy, did he not display it wonderfully when seeing Our Lady with child and not knowing how that could be, his mind was tossed with distress, perplexity, and trouble?
Yet, in spite of all, he never complained, he was never harsh or ungracious towards his holy Spouse, but remained just as gentle and respectful in his demeanor as he had ever been.
But what valor and strength did he not display in the victory which he gained over the two greatest enemies of man, the devil and the world, and by the practice of a most perfect humility, as we have said, throughout the whole course of his life? The devil, who for want of humility, and because he would not accept if for his inseparable companion, was driven out of heaven and cast down into hell, is so great an enemy to the lowly virtue, that there is no sacrifice or invention he will not use to make men fall away from it - so much the more because it is a virtue which renders them infinitely pleasing to God.
We may therefore well say, "Valiant and strong in humility; he will be conqueror at once of the devil and of the world, which is full of ambition, vanity and pride." Conf XIX, On the Virtues of St. Joseph, p. 379.