Go, then to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you;
Go to Joseph, and obey him as Jesus and Mary obeyed him;
Go to Joseph, and speak to him as they spoke to him;
Go to Joseph, and consult him as they consulted him;
Go to Joseph, and honor him as they honored him;

Go to Joseph, and be grateful to him as they were grateful to him;
Go to Joseph, and love him, as they love him still.

 

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

 

As Catholics, we are privileged to celebrate the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary during the year of Saint Joseph. This time has been set aside to commemorate and grow closer to Our Mother. In our efforts to draw nearer to the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph appears as the ideal and most uniquely qualified saint to help us achieve this goal. Who better to rely on for this task than her most faithful and holy spouse? The man chosen by God to protect, care for, and guide the Holy Family? A man who shared in a perfect, unblemished union with Our Mother will help us understand her with his mind and love her with his heart. For these reasons, among many others, let us consider consecrating ourselves to St. Joseph.

guido reni - st joseph with the infant Jesus

St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni

Consecration: Act by which a thing is dedicated to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God.

Consecration to St. Joseph brings us into a special union with the most remarkable saint. A saint largely hidden in the Bible, but silently, dutifully, and lovingly accomplishing the greatest task set before a man: fulfilling the role of father to the Son of God. In celebration of this year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis has written an apostolic letter — Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), in which he draws attention to the holiness and relevance of St. Joseph’s hiddenness:

Our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked…yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history… Each of us can discover in Joseph — the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence — an intercessor, a support and guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation”1

St. Joseph’s ordinariness and simplicity is extraordinary. It illustrates that God works in souls preoccupied only with the simplest and most fulfilling task: to accomplish His will in all things.

Why Consecration to St. Joseph?

When we consecrate ourselves to St. Joseph, we are making a formal act of entrustment and placing our spiritual well-being and growth in the hands of our spiritual father. This act of intentional entrustment reflects a desire and willingness to resemble and acquire his virtues. What are these virtues? To list a few:

  • Most Just
  • Most Prudent
  • Most Chaste
  • Most Faithful
  • Most Obedient

These virtues will assist us in making our consecration as fruitful as possible throughout our lives. As in any relationship, we also receive something in return: St. Joseph will always look after us with particular care and guide us to Christ. This will look differently according to the needs of the soul who has consecrated itself to our spiritual father. But as long as we remain faithful, St. Joseph will work diligently, leading us to eternal life and bearing the fruits of our consecration in our daily lives. 

St. Joseph’s Unique and Universal Assistance

At the foot of the cross, Jesus gave His mother to mankind. But he has also given us St. Joseph as our spiritual father. Entrusting ourselves to his care, having recourse to his counsel, guidance, and protection draws us closer to Jesus and Mary. In turn, this intimacy allows us to learn to desire and imitate the virtues perfectly present in the Holy Family. St. Joseph’s role as our spiritual father comes with unique privileges, which have been observed by many saints.

St. Thomas Aquinas noted the particular graces bestowed by God upon St. Joseph: “Some saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron Saint Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”

This should encourage everyone to develop and nurture a special relationship with St. Joseph, who is uniquely qualified to offer us assistance in all areas of our lives. (Many women, for example, pray a novena to St. Joseph in order to find a spouse).

Let us also take into account St. Joseph’s prominent role in defending life. In a homily during a papal visit to the Shrine of St. Joseph in Kalisz, Poland, St. Pope John Paul II reminded the faithful of St. Joseph’s role as protector of human life:

The angel had warned him [St. Joseph] to flee with the child, because he was threatened by mortal danger. From the Gospel, we learn about those who were threatening the child’s life. In the first place Herod, but then also all his [Herod’s] followers. Joseph of Nazareth, who saved Jesus from the cruelty of Herod, is shown to us in this moment as a great supporter of the cause of the defense of human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death. In this place, therefore, we wish to commend human life to the Divine Providence and to St. Joseph, especially the life of children not yet born, in our homeland and throughout the world.2

Sleeping St. Joseph

Over the years, a devotion to sleeping St. Joseph has become quite popular in the Church. Many people have had their prayers and petitions answered through this devotion, which consists of obtaining a statue of sleeping St. Joseph, writing down a specific intention, and placing the slip of paper under the statue.

This devotion has a biblical basis. In the New Testament, God chooses to communicate with St. Joseph by sending an angel during his sleep (Mt 1:20; 2:13, 19, 22). These hours of rest are depicted as infinitely significant and filled with an abundance of grace. In sleep, Joseph receives God’s commands and assents to them.

the dream of st. joseph by anton raphael mengs

The Dream of St. Joseph by Anton Raphael Mengs

A Guide to Consecration to St. Joseph

If you wish to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph, consider using Donald H. Calloway’s book, A Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. It provides a step by step guide and instructive meditations for completing a 33-day consecration.

This method of consecration begins by choosing a date that coincides with a liturgical feast associated with St. Joseph. Each day consists of a short five to 15-minute meditation and guided reading on the different characteristics and graces associated with St. Joseph. Such readings can be found online easily: a useful place to start is the website of the Holy See, a reliable and extensive source of current and archival papal information, including apostolic letters, promulgations, and speeches. You may also try to find what a specific saint has said or written about St. Joseph. A quick internet search will yield results.

At the end of each guided reading and meditation, pray the Litany of St. Joseph.

On the final day, find a way to commemorate your consecration. For example, collect holy water from your parish in a bottle marked with your consecration date or look for a medal to wear all year long. You are encouraged to renew your consecration once a year, recommitting your devotion while remembering the special trust you have placed in St. Joseph.

Finally, continue to pray to St. Joseph every day.

A simple, yet powerful prayer to St. Joseph:

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Amen.

O Saint Joseph, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. O Saint Joseph, pray for me. (Mention your intention)

Endnotes

[1] Pope Francis. Apostolic Letter on the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. December 8, 2020.

[2] St John Paul II, Homily at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Kalisz, Poland, June 4, 1997.

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