ST JOSEPH’S FEAST DAY: MARCH 19
[Please join in the nine day Novena to St Joseph, the powerful Patron of Mill Hill Missionaries, asking his protection and guidance for all our needs.]
• DAILY NOVENA PRAYER:
Almighty God, you have chosen Saint Joseph to be the mainstay of Jesus and Mary, the wise and faithful servant in whom they could trust. We pray, that he may truly be the guardian of your Church; that he may inspire with confidence those who are devoted to him; that he may give security to those who work in the vineyard of your Son; and finally, that he may be a source of strength to us, who wish, like him, to dedicate ourselves to Christ’s service, now and in times to come. Amen.
Please read and reflect on the themes of the day and read/recite/pray the above Novena prayer.
• FIRST DAY:
Joseph – The Man of Morals
‘Joseph was a man who always did what was right.’ Matthew 1.19
What a predicament Joseph was in when he discovered Mary was pregnant. What was he to do? Being a man of God and an honourable man, he trusted in God’s guidance to show him the way.
We often feel uncertain what to do. We fret and worry, and blame God for allowing things to happen to us. When we are troubled and worried, may we learn to trust in God. Pray, that like St Joseph, we will put our problems before the Lord and trust Him to show us the right path to take.
• SECOND DAY:
Joseph – The Man who Listened
‘If you listen to me, you will know what is right and fair.’ Proverbs 2.9
Joseph was a man who listened. Constant noise prevents us from listening and hearing our friends, family and God. Joseph knew how to be silent to allow God’s Word to come through to him. No spoken word is recorded of him.
In our world today, we are surrounded by noise and distraction. Our spiritual ‘senses’ become numbed by the intrusive noises of television, vehicles, mobile phones and modern technology. Is it any wonder we do not hear God speaking to us? We ask St Joseph to help us to know how to be silent and to carve out some ‘quiet time’ in our day to listen to God.
• THIRD DAY:
Joseph – The Man of Trust
‘An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph.’ Matthew 1.20
God spoke to Joseph in his dreams and he trusted in the plans God laid before him to take Mary as his wife.
Like St Joseph, who questioned but trusted God’s judgement of what was right for him and his family, we too should trust that God, our Father, loves us so much, he knows what is right for us as individuals. St Joseph questioned God’s plan. We also may question God’s intention for us. However may we, like him, have the strength to place our trust in the Lord.
• FOURTH DAY:
Joseph – The Man of Protection
‘Joseph got up and took the child and his mother and left that night for Egypt.’ Matthew 2.14
Joseph fled with Mary, his wife, and the new born baby conceived by the Holy Spirit to the land of Egypt, to protect his family from King Herod, who was about to search for the child and kill him.
St Joseph, a husband and father, shared the demands of providing food, clothing, a stable home and support for Mary and his foster-son, Jesus. As Guardian of the Holy Family, he recognised the danger they were in and took action to keep Mary and Jesus safe from harm. We ask St Joseph to protect our families and to strengthen us in love.
• FIFTH DAY:
Joseph – The Patron of the Church
‘Joseph went…to David’s town of Bethlehem – because he was a descendant of David.’ Luke 2.4
Joseph, being a descendant of the royal House of David, understood the need to register his family by census in the town of Bethlehem. God appointed Joseph as head of the Holy Family. Through Mary, the Church received Christ our Saviour, thereby the Church owes her gratitude and veneration to Joseph who was chosen to enable Christ to enter into the world.
Joseph was the head of the Holy Family, who was father, protector, guide and support and the starting point of the Church. Today it is believed the Church is the family of God on earth. Bless the Pope, Bishops, Priests, the religious and the laity of the Catholic Church that they ever grow in God’s love and faithfulness in his service. We ask St Joseph to protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies.
• SIXTH DAY:
Joseph – The Man of Faith
‘Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.’ Luke 2.41
Joseph observed the religious feasts and practices of the Jewish faith especially attending the Synagogue on the Sabbath. He taught Jesus to say his prayers at meals and at certain hours of the day, he also introduced the Scriptures and Psalms to his foster son.
As with Joseph, our faith is a gift which should be treasured and accepted with grace. Joseph lived and shared his faith and was devoted to deepening his relationship with God. We ask Joseph to help us to strengthen our faith by spending time in prayer each day and to take part in the Church’s liturgy. Let us be confident to share our faith with all we meet and give them a warm welcome in our hearts and communities.
• SEVENTH DAY:
Joseph – The Family Man
‘And Joseph named him Jesus” Matthew 1.25
Joseph, an ordinary man, faced many family problems such as Mary’s pregnancy, the threat to the life of Jesus, exile to a foreign land and how to make ends meet. As husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, Joseph showed the deepest love and respect for his family and cherished all the experiences that come with family life. He died peacefully in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
As head of the family, Joseph watched out for Jesus and Mary at all times. May he help all couples to live out the love which they promised to each other. As Patron of families help us with our financial problems so that we do not allow money or material things to spoil the bond that unites a family. May all families be a source of peace, unity and happiness for children as well as for parents.
• EIGHTH DAY:
Joseph – The Worker
‘Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?’ Matthew 13.55
Joseph loved his work, was dedicated to his chosen trade, took pride in his workmanship and taught Jesus the skills of his craft. He probably knew the hardship of unemployment when there was little or no work for himself and Jesus.
St Joseph, help us to see our work as a service for others, a means of bringing order and beauty out of chaos and making our world a better place. Help us to see work as more than a means of making money. Help us appreciate the dignity of work and grant us meaningful employment. We pray for the unemployed, underemployed and those who are working under stress.
• NINTH DAY:
Joseph – The Faithful Servant
‘Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant? He is the one that his master has placed in charge of the other servants to give them food at the proper time.’ Matthew 24.45
Joseph’s life was one of loving service, he served his family, he served his community and he served his God. He was faithful to his duties, sacrificed unselfishly; his life was one of generous giving and devoted to the Will of God. Joseph faithfully carried out his duties using the graces and gifts bestowed on him by God to serve the Lord unconditionally.
Joseph, you had the privilege of being God’s faithful servant, as a token of your own gratitude, obtain for us the grace to be a faithful servant of God. By your own example, inspire us to be, as you were, faithful, unselfish and devoted in your duties, without praise or reward. Help us to trust in the Providence of God and to follow in the obedience of Jesus who came not to do His will but the will of His Father.