Friday, March 18, 2005

A Devotion to St. Joseph

Joseph has a unique share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the spouse of Mary and the reputed father of Jesus Christ. It is through the roles in the Mysteries that any who share his offices - particularly parents, particularly fathers - have a mode of piety for salvation.

The idea of devotion to Joseph has been advocated by popes and saints for more than a century, and its propriety is without doubt. With Joseph, through Mary, to Christ. As its popularity has grown, so has the number of forms of devotion, be they novenae, chaplets, or prayers. A little more than a year ago, while in prayer, I enjoyed an impression of a devotion to St. Joseph that reflects his participation in God's "system of salvation." How too must we follow the Holy Family, with Joseph at its head, as a component of the Church, for everlasting life because, as Pope John Paul II has noted, "As the family goes, so goes the nation." Indeed, so goes the world. Through study and discerning prayer, I offer the following, a consecration to the Devoted Heart of St. Joseph.

The devotion is actually a layer of devotions said year-round. Its core is the exhortation, which may be said throughout the day and is suitable for meditation:

Shadow of the Father, by your intercession, guide my office for the sake of yours.
The consecration may be said upon arising, or as part of the chaplet of the Devoted Heart of Joseph:

O blessed St. Joseph, I consecrate myself with body and soul, through my thoughts, words, and actions, that your example of devotion may lead me for the greater glory of God the Father, in union with your charges, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
The chaplet of the Devoted Heart of Joseph is suitable for daily use and includes:

Sign of the Cross
Hail Mary
Consecration Prayer
10 Exhortations

The chaplet concludes with the petition:

Son of David, may the piety of your Devoted Heart guide us on the way to salvation,
and the Sign of the Cross.

The chaplet of consecration to the Devoted Heart of Joseph is particularly suited for the feasts of the Mysteries of the Rosary and other Marian feasts.

Using a Rosary, begin with the Sign of the Cross, the Apostle's Creed, Our Father, and three Hail Mary's. On the large beads beads, pray the consecration. On the small beads, pray the exhortation. After each decade, pray the petition and the Fatima Ejaculation. Conclude with a Memorare to St. Joseph:
Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession was left unassisted. Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection. Despise not, O Guardian of the Redeemer, my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.
During each decade, meditate on a Mystery of Devotion:

Annunciation of Joseph
Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
Flight into Egypt with Mary and Jesus
Support and education of Jesus in Nazareth
Reunion with the resurrected Jesus
Other Mysteries include (ref. Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos):

The Census
The Nativity of Jesus
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Jesus' Stay in the Temple

The novena of the consecration to the Devoted Heart of Joseph is a 45-day novena consisting of five separate novenae, each dedicated to a Mystery of Devotion. The novena is ideally said from the eve of the Solemnity of St. Joseph (today) through the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1).

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