OK, so we are, looking into the desert. The lenten desert that is. Feeling parched already? Feeling that stumbling sense of “how are we gonna find our way through this?” That’s lent all right, and right on cue. It’s lent, it’s hard, it’s supposed to be. I think we are supposed to be trembling a bit, holding our breath as we enter into that desert. It’s a toughie. Because we need to remember that we can’t do this, ANY of this…this life mom parenting living loving persevering STUFF…..on our own.
So, today is the day to officially start the Novena to St. Joseph. I’m asking my son if he wants to joing me, and you too, in praying this novena. It begins today. Say yes.
Because you know what that means: I will put it up on blog. Every day. So, really, you might as well follow along, right? Of course! It’s more fun and meaningful to pray together, but regardless, I’ll have your intentions in my novena and prayers as well. Yes, you know who you are!
But, really, it’s to St. Joseph, patron of families, workers, earthly father to Christ. He gets it. He got old, tired, worked hard, loved much and faithfully, endured adversity, followed God’s will, even hauling his young new family to Egypt when prompted to go…saving them, obediently, in blind faith. So I think he’s a good one to turn to now, in the desert. He’s been there, literally (uh, Egypt, Israel, remember) and figuratively. Plus, he’s a dad. So, he’ll listen kindly with an open heart to our worries and then pray on our behalf to his son. And, as we know the prayers of a just man mean much, and as we (Ok, I) beg folks all the time for prayers for this or that….why not hit up someone who ‘get’s it” and is close to Christ: his earthly dad.
I mean, this is what I love about novenas…..don’t your kids come to you get you to petition Dad for things? “Please mom, talk to him about letting me go to that dance. Mom, can you talk to Dad? I really want to go to that school, you know……” Well, my kids do it. I do it still. A novena is the same deal. It’s asking folks for prayers for you, for petition about your concerns. But in a much more expanded way than our constricting earthly selves. I think it’s beautiful…and I’m grateful for them.
So, without further ado. (You’re welcome.) Here it is.
Day One. Novena to St Joseph.
FOSTER-FATHER OF JESUS
Saint Joseph, you were privileged to share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the foster-father of Jesus.Mary alone was directly connected with the fulfillment of the mystery, in that she gave her consent to Christ’s conception and allowed the Holy Spirit to form the sacred humanity of Jesus from her blood. You had a part in this mystery in an indirect manner, by fulfilling the condition necessary for the Incarnation — the protection of Mary’s virginity before and during your married life with her. You made the virginal marriage possible, and this was a part of God’s plan, foreseen, willed, and decreed from all eternity.
In a more direct manner you shared in the support, upbringing, and protection of the Divine Child as His foster-father. For this purpose the Heavenly Father gave you a genuine heart of a father — a heart full of love and self-sacrifice. With the toil of your hands you were obliged to offer protection to the Divine Child, to procure for Him food, clothing, and a home. You were truly the saint of the holy childhood of Jesus — the living created providence which watched over the Christ-Child.
When Herod sought the Child to put Him to death, the Heavenly Father sent an angel but only as a messenger, giving orders for the flight; the rest He left entirely in your hands. It was that fatherly love which was the only refuge that received and protected the Divine Child. Your fatherly love carried Him through the desert into Egypt until all enemies were removed. Then on your arms the Child returned to Nazareth to be nourished and provided for during many years by the labor of your hands. Whatever a human son owes to a human father for all the benefits of his up-bringing and support, Jesus owed to you, because you were to Him a foster-father, teacher, and protector.
You served the Divine Child with a singular love. God gave you a heart filled with heavenly, supernatural love — a love far deeper and more powerful than any natural father’s love could be.
You served the Divine Child with great unselfishness, without any regard to self-interest, but not without sacrifices. You did not toil for yourself, but you seemed to be an instrument intended for the benefit of others, to be put aside as soon as it had done its word, for you disappeared from the scene once the childhood of Jesus had passed.
You were the shadow of the Heavenly Father not only as the earthly representative of the authority of the Father, but also by means of your fatherhood — which only appeared to be natural — you were to hide for a while the divinity of Jesus. What a wonderfully sublime and divine vocation was yours — the loving Child which you carried in your arms, and loved and served so faithfully, had God in Heaven as Father and was Himself God!
Yours is a very special rank among the saints of the Kingdom of God, because you were so much a part of the very life of the Word of God made Man. In your house at Nazareth and under your care the redemption of mankind was prepared. What you accomplished, you did for us. You are not only a powerful and great saint in the Kingdom of God, but a benefactor of the whole of Christendom and mankind. Your rank in the Kingdom of God, surpassing far in dignity and honor of all the angels, deserves our very special veneration, love, and gratitude.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of His Divine Son. As a token of your own gratitude to God for this your greatest privilege, obtain for me the grace of a very devoted love for Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior. Help me to serve Him with some of the self-sacrificing love and devotion which you had while on this earth with Him. Grant that through your intercession with Jesus, your foster-Son, I may reach the degree of holiness God has destined for me, and save my soul.