The Novena to Saint Joseph

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There are Catholics, belonging to a certain theological "caste", who sniff condescendingly at novenas and other expressions of popular devotion. They forget, perhaps, the words of Our Lord in the Gospel: "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones" (Mt 11:25).

Pope Benedict XVI addressed the place of popular devotions with the clergy of Rome on February 22nd:

Popular piety is one of our strengths because it consists of prayers deeply rooted in people's hearts. These prayers even move the hearts of people who are somewhat cut off from the life of the Church and who have no special understanding of faith. All that is required is to "illuminate" these actions and "purify" this tradition so that it may become part of the life of the Church today.

Several years ago my father gave me a wonderful old prayer book that has been handed down from generation to generation in the family. The Treasury of the Sacred Heart Abridged from the Larger Work, With Epistles and Gospels for All Sundays and Festivals of the Year was published by Charles Eason, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin in 1860. It contains, among other precious texts, a popular Novena to Saint Joseph, which Novena begins today.

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The section On Novenas is preceded by a very wise pastoral introduction. Again, this was published in 1860! Here is the text of the introduction:

"By a Novena, is meant a devotion of nine days in honour of some mystery of our Redemption, to obtain a particular request: or in honour of the Blessed Virgin, or any of the Saints; to beg their intercession in obtaining a favour from God.

It may be made of any prayer according to each person's devotion, and is certainly a holy practice, which has often been found successful in obtaining favours from God. Those who perform it with the conditions necessary for prayer; in particular with a lively hope of having their request granted, and perfect resignation, should it be refused, may be assured that Christ, who has said ask and you shall receive, will grant them some grace or blessing as the fruit of their prayer, though, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, he may refuse the particular favour which they implore.

'If," says Saint Augustine, 'he seems deaf to their cries, it is only to grant their main desire, by doing what is more expedient to them.' God alone knows what is good for us: how often is the refusal of our requests a far greater favour than would be the grant of them!'"

The Novena to Saint Joseph begins today. Addressing Saint Joseph, my 147 year old Irish prayer book says: "Thou art the most hidden, though the greatest saint." "Go to Joseph," then. You will not be disappointed.

NOVENA PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH FOR PRIESTS

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Protector of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.
Amen.

PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH FOR A PARTICULAR PRIEST

Saint Joseph,
I present to you this day
Father N., priest of Jesus Christ,
and beg you to be to him
advocate and defender,
counselor and friend.
Open your heart to him
as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect his holy priesthood
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring him light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.
For the sake of the tender love that bound you
to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,
be for him, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul
so that, in spite of his weaknesses and sins,
his priesthood may bring glory to Christ
and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
in his bride the Church.
Amen.

A PRIEST’S PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH

Saint Joseph,
I take you this day as my advocate and defender,
my counselor and my friend.
Open your heart to me
as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect my holy priesthood
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring me light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.
For the sake of the tender love that bound you
to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,
be for me, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul
so that, in spite of my weaknesses and sins,
my priesthood may bring glory to Christ
and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
in his bride the Church.
Amen.

4 Comments

My Favorite Prayer to St. Joseph...which promises to bring great graces throughout one's life:

PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH FOR PURITY IN ONE'S STATE OF LIFE

Saint Joseph, father and guardian of virgins, to whose faithful keeping Christ Jesus, innocence itself, and Mary, the virgin of virgins was entrusted, I pray and beseech you by that twofold and most precious charge, by Jesus and Mary, to save me from all uncleanness, to keep my mind untainted, my heart pure, and my body chaste; and to help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity. Amen.

I don't sniff at novenas - I think they are very contemplative.

Will you pray to St. Joseph very hard during your novena for me? St. Joseph knows what's wrong with me, and I need his help. Thanks.

Father, the painting of the Holy Family is beautiful, esp. Joseph. Do you know the name of the artist?

Dear Saint Joseph, thank you for your intercession to God and to Jesus to let my friend believe and know the truth and for everything between me and him be alright, as it was before. Thank you also for your constant intercession to God and to Jesus also for letting the friendship i share with my friends, especially with Cabb today, improve. :-)

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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