Novena to St. Joseph
Since Pope Francis has called for a year dedicated to St. Joseph, I think it could be providential to live a novena to St. Joseph each month, from the 11th to the 19th, since his biggest feast day is March 19th.
The novena has prayers for every day, a reflection from Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, Patris Corde, on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as patron of the universal Church. There is also a practical challenge for each day, so we can learn from St. Joseph, who did such a good job taking care of Jesus and Mary.
Each day, you can pray the prayer to St. Joseph, read the passage for the day and spend some moments in quiet reflection. Then look at the challenge and see how you can make it happen. You will see how in nine days, you will be a better friend of St. Joseph.
Prayer to St. Joseph
To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.
Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
“Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support, and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“As a descendant of David (cf. Mt 1:16-20), from whose stock Jesus was to spring according to the promise made to David by the prophet Nathan (cf. 2 Sam 7), and as the spouse of Mary of Nazareth, Saint Joseph stands at the crossroads between the Old and New Testaments.” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“The history of salvation is worked out “in hope against hope” (Rom 4:18) through our weaknesses. All too often, we think that God works only through our better parts, yet most of his plans are realized in and despite our frailty. Thus Saint Paul could say: “To keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor 12:7-9).” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
We know that God’s truth does not condemn, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us. That truth always presents itself to us like the merciful father in Jesus’ parable (cf. Lk 15:11-32). It comes out to meet us, restores our dignity, sets us back on our feet, and rejoices for us, for, as the father says: “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v. 24). (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
Even through Joseph’s fears, God’s will, his history, and his plan were at work. Joseph, then, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties, and our weaknesses. He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course. At times, we want to be in complete control, yet God always sees the bigger picture. (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“In the first dream, an angel helps him resolve his grave dilemma: “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21). Joseph’s response was immediate: ‘When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’ (Mt 1:24). Obedience made it possible for him to surmount his difficulties and spare Mary.” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. He trusted in the angel’s words. ‘The nobility of Joseph’s heart is such that what he learned from the law he made dependent on charity. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal, and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man. Even though he does not understand the bigger picture, he makes a decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity,,and her life. In his hesitation about how best to act, God helped him by enlightening his judgment’.” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“Often in life, things happen whose meaning we do not understand. Our first reaction is frequently one of disappointment and rebellion. Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. Unless we are reconciled with our own history, we will be unable to take a single step forward, for we will always remain hostage to our expectations and the disappointments that follow.” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
“Joseph’s attitude encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak, for God chooses what is weak (cf. 1 Cor 1:27). He is the “Father of orphans and protector of widows” (Ps 68:6), who commands us to love the stranger in our midst. I like to think that it was from Saint Joseph that Jesus drew inspiration for the parable of the prodigal son and the merciful father (cf. Lk 15:11-32).” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde)
11th Clean your desk or work area. St. Joseph surely kept his workbench orderly.
12th Imitate the silence of St. Joseph. Avoid superfluous words.
13th Make a special visit to Mary. Joseph loved Mary very much.
14th Clean your bathroom and shower. Joseph wanted a well-ordered house for the Holy Family.
15th Make a visit to Christ in the Eucharist. Joseph loved Jesus with all his heart.
16th Imitate the humility of St. Joseph. Avoid harsh words or pointless arguments.
17th Fix something broken. St. Joseph was a master carpenter.
18th Do something nice for somebody. St. Joseph served others constantly.
19th Make an act of faith. St. Joseph is a model of faith and obedience.