Oh, St. Joseph!

Do you have an absolute favorite saint?

Perhaps you pray to him/her, wear their medal & frequently ask help.

And there’s the other saint who surprises you.

Seemingly out of nowhere.

My favorites are Ss. Anthony, Benedict & Michael

I ask help of some additional ones like St Dr Guiseppe Moscati

And, there’s St. Joseph.

He’s so quiet – literally in the Gospels; only sometimes being addressed in private devotions. Over the years, I’ve read many stories about the miraculous staircase to the nun’s choir loft, of real estate breakthroughs, jobs found, etc. I never really understood it, how do you get attached to a Saint of which you have no personal reflections? No writings? Almost no presence? Does it not strike anyone else of how funnily he’s absent from the Gospels and we know nothing after the Angel tells him the Child is in danger? Yet, there’s always a statue of him somewhere in every church? He’s hotly contended in tradition: old vs youthful, assumed into heaven or not; how he came to be Mary’s chaste Spouse; so forth.

Years ago, when I was trying to process the reality of my brother’s abortion (my sister & I were informed via her Confirmation letter), I sought the advice of a Christian leader of a student religious group and she wisely suggested naming my brother to make him “more real” and less abstract. The processing stopped there for several years, simply naming him Joseph. But that’s where I got to know St. Joseph. In the past 3-4 years in which I’ve been attending the TLM, I’ve been praying to St  Joseph, asking him help in the grieving and adapting process pertaining to the loss of my brother. I prayed his Litany every Sunday, without fail. Eventually, I came to reflect on more than just the loss of my brother, but on him who is Terror of Demons or Lover of Poverty, and Mirror of Patience. Holy cats, that’s what leaks through the silence surrounding him! There’s also the prayer at the end of the litany asking him to be our lord and protector on earth as he protected the Christ-Child & our Lady; to protect the Church from error.

Now, especially on Sundays, I’ve taken to adding on the prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary, which is typically for October, but that’s been good overall. And finally, my spiritual director told me I should say a novena for my vocation. He didn’t to whom or any other restrictions. I figured, why create a new devotion when I already one. So I ventured down to the local massive Catholic store and got two prayer cards (size, plastic & weight of a gift card) one from Padre Pio & one from St. Joseph. The St. Joseph one had to be said for 9 mornings which is hard for me to manage because I’m a school-based therapist, my mornings are eat-wash up-drive; they’re not very leisurely. So I messed up, but I put in my nine mornings, and that day (actually about 12 days after starting) someone name-dropped a particular monastery. I put them on the list along with 4 other places that were attractive to me; and narrowed it down to just 2 places during my last meeting with my spiritual director. However, if I’m actually trusting St. Joseph to pick the place for me, why do I have two places listed? A plan b does not say trust!

Nope, just one place. I got impatient with sending Mother Superior an email, so I also sent a hand-written note.

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interest and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do help me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son and 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. Oh, St. 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. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls – pray for us. Amen.

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cry

I’m going to be crying myself to sleep tonight.  I’m okay with it since (a) I’m choosing to rather than being overwhelmed and (b) its about Joseph.  I’m spending time thinking about what could have been.

It was wrong of her to end class on such a morose note, but what do I know? I’m just the student.

Did you know that I get caught off guard each time someone asks if I have a brother or not. I don’t really know what to say. Some people know about you, but most don’t.

I wish I could see you. Who do you look like, mom or dad? Are you the perfect middle child, bridging the two extremes between me and monkey? What do you like? What do you see? Where are you? What’s it like to be nameless until 2006, when you would have been 21? You know that I miss you, without having ever seen you, right? You know that I love you too?

I’m sorry that you were just discarded in a biohazard bin. I gave you a name in 2006, Joseph. Maybe that can begin to make amends. It was Jennifer’s idea, and it was good, but brought the pain to a new high. It made it real, that you were no longer a mere abstract, but my brother. My little baby brother … dude, I don’t even know what that means; what it feels like or anything else at all.

Remember last year when I hit a point during Lent? I know in my head that its not my fault, that somehow my costing mom and dad over $100,000 in neonatal and preemie care, is not reason alone for you not living. I can’t be used as the excuse, nor can your disorder. You’ve probably seen how that that ‘perfect child’ ideal has backfired.

There’s many reasons why I’m not happy with my mom, but you know that you’re among the top. You are probably also aware that each 40 Days campaign I do is somehow for you; mom’s never really shown remorse.

Oh, say Hi to Jesus for me, would you? Tell Him I’m doing okay here, but He’s got to start coming through for me in some huge ways. He knows what I mean.

See you,

Your sister, Megan

St. Joseph

Glorious Saint Joseph, you are the pattern of all who work. Obtain for me, please, the grace to work conscientiously and to put devotion to duty before my selfish inclinations. Help me to labor in thankfulness and joy, for it is an honor to employ and to develop by my labor the gifts I have received from almighty God. Grant that I may work in orderliness, peace, moderation and patience without shrinking from weariness and difficulties. I offer my fatigue and perplexities as reparation for sin. I shall work, above all, with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill-spent, of talents unemployed, of good undone, and of empty pride in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. For Jesus through Mary, all in imitation of you, good Saint Joseph. This shall be my motto in life and in death. Amen.
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I found this prayer to St. Joseph as Patron saint of workers/laborers last summer because I needed to find a way to make my work meaningful to me. At the time I was working retail part time, and then spending 6 to 8 hours a week as data entry and research for children / developmental / educational psychology department on campus. Data entry and folding clothes all day long is difficult to make personal, meaningful and really mind numbing; trying to find a way to make my work account for something or to have an impact on others.

It was also the summer that I first began to become interested in Opus Dei. Again, I have found it to be of renewed interest. I have to seriously and prayerfully consider many things that I have neglected in the past year.
Later this past year, in November and the upcoming elections and ballot propositions in California, there was Prop. 85, which is similar to Prop. 73 from the previous year. Both were efforts to make abortions among minors more difficult to obtain, rather than allowing girls to get them without their parents or legal guardians being aware. They did not pass. I was struggling with the fact and tragedy of abortion in my own family, albeit 19 years ago. Jennifer, a staff member from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship had just had her first-born son over the summer and so I spoke with her. It was then that I named my long-ago aborted brother Joseph. Perhaps, true to his namesake, I should make May 1st, his tentative birthday/day of mourning?

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Thus one may come to see how I do look up to Joseph both in work and in family matters.