“Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph

Last week I said I would return to the series, Mary in the Old Testament, but again I am going to suspend that series for one more week to focus on the Intercession of Saint Joseph by providing you some prayers and litanies that ask for his intercession. I can write about Saint Joseph as part of my “Mondays with Mary” series since he is so closely connected with Mary, most especially through their marital vows. Although Saint Joseph never utters a single word in the Sacred Scriptures, his presence is never forgotten and his heroic fortitude is never shaken. He listens to the Lord and in turn is obedient to Him.

Because he was the Guardian of the Redeemer and the protector of the Redeemer’s mother, Saint Joseph stands as the Patron of the Universal Church – he protects the Church as he protected Jesus and Mary. However, with Mary, he shares in her divine motherhood by protecting and interceding for that which is most precious to all of humanity. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Paul II says,

“Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way…The path that was Joseph’s – his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father… Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian.”

So how does one ask for intercession to St. Joseph? Although there are a variety of prayers, the three most common that I personally turn to in prayer are below. The first is pretty short and focuses on any difficult affairs we might be facing. The second is a litany and I provide you with the link to the EWTN page. The third focuses exactly on my points today – his Guardianship in union with Mary. It is my hope for you that if you don’t know St. Joseph well, these prayers will begin your time with him.

O Glorious St. Joseph, whose power can render possible even things which are impossible, come to my aid in my present trouble and distress. Take under thy protection the important and difficult affairs which I entrust to thee, that they may end happily. (Pause – Petition)

My beloved Father, all my confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that I invoked thee in vain; and since thou art able to obtain everything before Jesus and Mary, show me that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.

Litany of St. Joseph

In our tribulation we fly to thee, O blessed Joseph; and, after imploring the help of thy most holy Spouse, we ask also with confidence for thy patronage.

By the affection which united thee to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and the paternal love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee to look kindly upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ acquired by His Precious Blood, and by thy powerful aid to help us in our needs.

Protect, most careful Guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep us, most loving father, from all pestilence of error and corruption.

Be merciful also to us, most powerful protector, from thy place in heaven, in this warfare with the powers of darkness; and, as thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from danger of death, so now defend the Holy Church of God from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.

Guard each one of us by thy perpetual patronage, so that, sustained by thine example and help, we have live holiness, die a holy death, and obtain the everlasting happiness of heaven. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Patron and Guardian of the Holy Catholic Church…Pray for Us.

To read more about St. Joseph, see Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Family in God’s Plan

Today in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, which is the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, we commemorate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It’s today that we try to understand with our finite minds the infinite and unconditional love and sacrifice that existed between Jesus Christ and his parents, Mary and Joseph.

On this feast of the Holy Family in 1964, Blessed Pope Paul VI said,

“The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus – the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life.”

Since the perfect example for every Christian family today and throughout the history of the Church is the Holy Family, I found it fitting today to share with you what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the family in God’s plan –

“Honor your father and your mother” [Deut 5:16; Mk 7:10] (#2247).

According to the fourth commandment, God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents and those whom he has vested with authority for our good (#2248).

The conjugal community is established upon the covenant and consent of the spouses. Marriage and family are ordered to the good of the spouses, to the procreation and the education of children (#2249).

The Holy Family - Raphel

The Holy Family with Palm Tree – Raphael

“The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life” [GS 47 § 1] (#2250).

Children owe their parents respect, gratitude, just obedience, and assistance. Filial respect fosters harmony in all of family life (#2251).

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children in the faith, prayer, and all the virtues. They have the duty to provide as far as possible for the physical and spiritual needs of their children (#2252).

Parents should respect and encourage their children’s vocations. They should remember and teach that the first calling of the Christian is to follow Jesus (#2253).

For a complete understanding of the role of the family in God’s plan, I would suggest also reading paragraphs 2196-2233 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also check out my blog posts – The 20th Anniversary of the Year of the Family and 12 Quotes from Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.

In a time and culture when the traditional family is being attacked, when there are many attacks on the beauty of marriage between one man and one woman, let us pray with great fervor that we may have the strength to withstand these attacks and visibly witness for the world the truth, beauty, and goodness of traditional marriage and family. May the Holy Family pray for us as we look toward their perfect example of love and sacrifice.

475th Blog Post 

The 20th Anniversary of the Year of the Family

Today in the western lung of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the great feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. On this day, we seek to understand the unconditional love and sacrifice that existed between Jesus Christ, his mother, Mary and his earthly father, Joseph. The Holy Family is the perfect prototype for every Christian family.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 533 states,

“The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life: The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus – the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character… A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the “Carpenter’s Son”, in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work…” (Pope Paul VI, Feast of the Holy Family 1964).

Twenty years ago today, Blessed John Paul II declared the Year of the Family for 1994. Drawing on the text, Familiaris Consortio, the Church sought to focus on the family as the “domestic church”, to promote the dignity and value of each person in the human family, and to promote the importance of traditional marriage and family life.

pope-john-paul-IIKnowing the importance of marriage and family life in the modern world, the soon-to-be Saint, Blessed John Paul II wrote, Gratissimam Sane (Letter to Families). In the twenty years since this document was written, our views on marriage, which come directly from the Sacred Scriptures, have been mocked, ridiculed, and threatened by those seeking to demolish the traditional family as we know it. As Catholics, we must stand up against these forces and declare the Truth of Jesus Christ and His Church.

The words of wisdom from Blessed John Paul II should be a battle cry for us Catholics –

“Among these many paths, the family is the first and the most important. It is a path common to all, yet one which is particular, unique and unrepeatable, just as every individual is unrepeatable; it is a path from which man cannot withdraw… The family has its origin in that same love with which the Creator embraces the created world, as was already expressed “in the beginning”, in the Book of Genesis (1:1)” (#2).

“Prayer increases the strength and spiritual unity of the family, helping the family to partake of God’s own “strength.”” (#4).

“The family has always been considered as the first and basic expression of man’s social nature. Even today this way of looking at things remains unchanged. Nowadays, however, emphasis tends to be laid on how much the family, as the smallest and most basic human community, owes to the personal contribution of a man and a woman. The family is in fact a community of persons whose proper way of existing and living together is communion: communio personarum”(#7).

Holy family Icon

“Marital consent defines and consolidates the good common to marriage and to the family. “I, N., take you, N., to be my wife/husband…First, the common good of the spouses: love, fidelity, honour, the permanence of their union until death—”all the days of my life”. The good of both, which is at the same time the good of each, must then become the good of the children” (#10).

“In the newborn child is realized the common good of the family. Just as the common good of spouses is fulfilled in conjugal love, ever ready to give and receive new life, so too the common good of the family is fulfilled through that same spousal love, as embodied in the newborn child. Part of the genealogy of the person is the genealogy of the family, preserved for posterity by the annotations in the Church’s baptismal registers, even though these are merely the social consequence of the fact that “a man has been born into the world” (cf. Jn 16:21)” (#11).

“Who can deny that our age is one marked by a great crisis, which appears above all as a profound “crisis of truth“? A crisis of truth means, in the first place, a crisis of concepts. Do the words “love”, “freedom”, “sincere gift”, and even “person” and “rights of the person”, really convey their essential meaning?…Only if the truth about freedom and the communion of persons in marriage and in the family can regain its splendour, will the building of the civilization of love truly begin and will it then be possible to speak concretely—as the Council did—about “promoting the dignity of marriage and the family” (#13).

“The civilization of love evokes joy: joy, among other things, for the fact that a man has come into the world (cf. Jn 16:21), and consequently because spouses have become parents. The civilization of love means “rejoicing in the right” (cf. 1 Cor 13:6). But a civilization inspired by a consumerist, anti-birth mentality is not and cannot ever be a civilization of love” (#13).

“Every effort should be made so that the family will be recognized as the primordial and, in a certain sense “sovereign” society! The “sovereignty” of the family is essential for the good of society. A truly sovereign and spiritually vigorous nation is always made up of strong families who are aware of their vocation and mission in history. The family is at the heart of all these problems and tasks. To relegate it to a subordinate or secondary role, excluding it from its rightful position in society, would be to inflict grave harm on the authentic growth of society as a whole” (#17).

More of this document will be presented in tomorrow’s “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mother of Fairest Love.’

Holy_Family_icon1