Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ chose to live family life within the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Isn’t that a wonderful, beautiful thought? The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work” (paragraph 564).
Let’s look briefly at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about the family:
“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than ‘the family of God.’ From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers ‘together with all [their] household.’ When they were converted, they desired that ‘their whole household’ should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.
“In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica.
“It is in the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example… the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation’” (paragraphs 1655 and 1656).
“The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (paragraph 1666).
Commenting on St. Joseph, Pope John Paul II said:
“What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith. Joseph of Nazareth is a ‘just man’ because he totally ‘lives by faith.’
“He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth.
“And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness… He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.”
St. John Paul II also said: “This patronage [of St. Joseph] must be invoked, and it is always necessary for the Church, not only to defend it against dangers ceaselessly cropping up, but also and above all to support it in those fearful efforts at evangelizing the world, and spreading the new evangelization among nations where the Christian religion and life were formerly the most flourishing, but are now put to a difficult test….
“May St. Joseph become for all a singular master in the service of the saving mission of Christ that is incumbent on each and every one of us in the Church: To spouses, to parents, to those who live by the work of their hands or by any other work, to persons called to the contemplative life as well as to those called to the apostolate.”
When you have a pressing need, we suggest a novena to St. Joseph! He loves to intercede for us.
The Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph below can be prayed as a St. Joseph Novena on nine consecutive days.
It is said that this prayer dates back to the first century. According to popular information, it was sent by the pope to Emperor Charles in 1505 when he went into battle, and some say it has never been known to fail provided that the request is for one’s spiritual benefit or that of those for whom we are praying. (Of course, God always answers prayers, just not always in the way we expect or desire.)
Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph (Saint Joseph Novena)
O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ our Lord, so that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.
Some information adapted from www.aleteia.org