St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus and ‘Terror of Demons’
Today is the feast of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph never speaks a word in the Bible, but he always immediately does whatever God tells him to do. He has therefore always been considered, since the earliest days of Christianity, as a model of quiet and humble obedience to God, and of the manly protector who sacrifices himself for his loved ones and does whatever needs to be done quickly and well.
As such, he is a wonderful model for Christians in a world where men are denigrated, where men are told they should not be providers and protectors, and where everybody is encouraged to be prideful and rebellious against God. While he is particularly a patron for husbands, fathers, and working men, as part of the Holy Family and the person closest to Jesus and Mary for most of their lives, Joseph is ready and willing to help everyone. St. Joseph has long been considered a special patron of the Catholic Church and a saint to invoke against the temptations of demons (and demonic forces are most certainly attacking our society). Joseph has been called “terror of demons”.
I would like to share a few prayers written by other saints through history and addressed to St. Joseph, excellent prayers for our world struggling with an all-out attack of evil. We can ask St. Joseph, who was always so close to Jesus, to intercede with God for us.
From Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914):
“Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity.”
From St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622):
“Glorious St Joseph, spouse of Mary, grant us thy paternal protection, we beseech thee by the heart of Jesus Christ. O thou, whose power extends to all our necessities and can render possible for us the most impossible things, open thy fatherly eyes to the needs of thy children. In the trouble and distress which afflicts us, we confidently have recourse to thee. Deign to take under your charitable charge this important and difficult matter, cause of our worries. Make its happy outcome be for God’s glory and for the good of His devoted servants. Amen.”
A Greek epigraph found on a gem from the fourth or fifth century, one of the oldest extant prayers to St. Joseph, and very easy to memorize:
“O Joseph, assist me in my labors and give me grace.”
Finally, since the old saying from St. Augustine is that “he who sings prays twice,” here is a medley of hymns to Saint Joseph—“O Blessed St. Joseph,” “Dear Guardian of Mary,” and “Hail, Holy Joseph, Hail”:
Have a blessed St. Joseph’s Day!
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