Pray the new Consecration to St. Joseph beginning Feb. 16

“Now is the time of St. Joseph!”

Although it possible to overlook St. Joseph in the story of salvation history due to his silence in the Gospels, he plays an essential role as the “Son of David.” Joseph is the heir to the great king and, thus, it is through his adopted fatherhood that Jesus inherited the Davidic throne. Furthermore, Joseph’s obedience to the angel initiates his guardianship over the Holy Family, which continues in his protecting role as protector of Jesus’ household, the Church. Joseph models many virtues, particularly for fathers and workers, demonstrating obedience, trust, fidelity, and strength.

Although we all have patron saints, particularly through our baptismal and confirmation names, there are some saints who play such a central role in salvation that the Church honors them universally. Our Lady is the mother of all the disciples joined to her son, as members of his Body, Sts. Peter and Paul oversaw the growth and continuity of the Church, St. Michael, originally the guardian angel of Israel, now protects the Church, and St. Joseph continues to oversee the household of the Church as her universal patron. Every Christian should develop a relationship with these saints — particularly Jesus’ close family and friends — who will, in turn, draw us into deeper friendship with Jesus.

St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716) popularized a consecration to Jesus through Mary, recognizing that placing one’s life into the hands of Mary as mother and queen would provide a surer way of coming close to her Son. De Montfort developed a 33-day preparation period and act of consecration, renewing one’s baptismal vows, on a major feast day of Our Lady. Drawing upon this important devotional practice, Father Donald Calloway proposes a similar consecration to her spouse, St. Joseph, in his new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (Marian Press, 2020). The book leads through a 30-day preparation period through its three sections, the first of which examines Joseph’s titles in his litany, the second of which looks at the wonders related to his life and role in the Church, and the final of which offers prayers to him. Although his arrangement may be new, the book contains acts of consecration to St. Joseph written by St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Bernadine of Siena, and St. Peter Julian Eymard.

Father Calloway explains the importance of this devotion to St. Joseph and why one should make a consecration to him: It “means that you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and that you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely to his paternal care so that he can lovingly help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well being and lead you to God. The person who consecrates himself to St. Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness Saint Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him loving attention, protection, and guidance” (5). For those who have already done the consecration to Jesus through Mary, Father Calloway recommends this consecration as well: “God desires that all his children be committed to the love and care of a mother and a father” (ibid.).

The next beginning date for a consecration to St. Joseph begins on Feb. 16, with 33 days leading to the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19. Father Calloway rightly points out that now is the time of St. Joseph. We need Joseph right now as a protector of the Church so that she may experience renewal. We also need him as a protector of purity and the sanctity of family. We need him as a guide for working and living in the world in faith and obedience. In order to strengthen our daily devotion to him, I would also propose the following prayer based on the Bible’s references to his role (including the prefigurement of the Old Testament):

Joseph, Son of David, you are the just man the Lord placed over His house. You did what the angel commanded and so we go to you in time of need.  O adopted father of Jesus, pray to your Son for us. Amen.

COMING UP: St. Joseph and the mysterious mix of joy and sorrow

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When the gas light for my car came on, I grumbled to God, “Really? Are you kidding me?!”

Nothing seemed to be going my way that day. It is not as if needing gas is a big deal, but this was yet another irritation in a day full of a dozen little inconveniences—and I was starting to become Father Grumpy Pants. I had started the day with some idea of how things would go, and when the day didn’t go according to my plans, I got upset that God wasn’t doing my will!

Then, as God often does, he gently reminded me of St. Joseph.

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 1:4-7).

Think about St. Joseph’s experience of this. He had to leave his home with his pregnant wife to make the journey to Bethlehem for Caesar’s census. So he put her on a donkey (which must have been terribly uncomfortable for a pregnant woman) and they made the 8-10 day walk to Bethlehem.

Then, while they are there, it came time for her to give birth. Have you ever met a man whose wife is going into labor? He had to be panicking on the inside, but trying to seem calm on the outside. They were a hundred miles from home, they didn’t know anybody in Bethlehem, and he was not an expert in delivering babies!

He knocked on the door of the only inn in town. The inn-keeper, seeing Joseph and his pregnant wife, was not willing to make room for them; he turned them away. At that point, I imagine Joseph standing in the middle of road, looking up to the Heavens, and saying to the Lord, “Really?! I want to do your will, and I’m trying my best—why is this so difficult?!”

But God provided in a way St. Joseph didn’t expect. They spent the night among the animals. Instead of a crib, Jesus was laid in a manger (a cow’s feeding trough). It wasn’t as comfortable as Joseph had wanted for Mary and Jesus, but he was grateful for what they had.

Was Christmas night joyful for St. Joseph? Yes, of course. The savior of the world was born, and Joseph was the first to see him with his own eyes! But it was also a very stressful night for him, probably more than for anybody else. Those who have a devotion to St. Joseph often pray the Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph, and in that prayer Christmas night is acknowledged as one of those moments in Joseph’s life that was both joyful and sorrowful.

The holidays can be times of joy and sorrow for many people. The sorrow could be as little as the Christmas ham not turning out the way we hoped, or as big as facing the season after the death of a loved one. Thankfully, we have someone who can identify with that sorrow, and he wants to intercede for us. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the entire Church, and he knows that sometimes joy and sorrow are mixed in the mystery of love!

As we celebrate Christmas this year, we ask for the prayers of St. Joseph—that we might let go of how we think things ought to be, and abandon ourselves to the beauty of God’s plan.