Day 1 (June 21): Noble Offspring of David
The Old Testament prophets always taught that the Messiah was to spring from the seed of David, the great hero-king to whom the Jews looked back with such pride. The prophecy was first declared by the prophet Nathan to King David himself:
The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you: when your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. (2 Samuel 7:11-13)
Joseph was of the royal blood of David. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke show the lineage of Joseph to the Davidic king. Although Jesus is not the biological son of Joseph, he is the Son of Joseph by law and therefore has a legal right to be called a descendant of King David. Joseph is called “Son of David” by the angel who instructed him to take Mary into his home (Mt 1:20). The angel reminds him of his royal ancestry and the role God had given him in the coming of the Messiah.
God gives each of us a role in His plan of salvation. You were born for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). Reflect on the role God has given you and the people He has entrusted to you.
St. Joseph, pray for me so that I may have the grace to carry out my role and care for the people God has entrusted to me. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Reflect on your exalted identity as a beloved son of God the Father and how you are helping those entrusted to your care grow closer to Jesus.
Day 2 (June 22): Light of the Patriarchs
St. Joseph is called the Light of the Patriarchs because he is the shining light among the forerunners of Christ. He was one of the great patriarchs in a long line of God’s servants (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc.) who waited for the Messiah. All the patriarchs of the Old Testament foreshadowed the paternal light of God shining through the fatherhood of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is the bearer of light and helps us to receive the light of Christ. He brings Jesus, the true Light of the World, to us so that we can be a light to others. Jesus says,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Mt 5:14-16)
St. Joseph, pray for me so that the light of Christ illumines my life so that my words and actions glorify our heavenly Father. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Identify one way you can be the light of Christ to those you encounter and serve this day.
Day 3 (June 23): Spouse of the Mother of God
On March 19, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph, but we do so by reference to his being ‘the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary’. In fact, St. Joseph’s whole life is defined by his relation to others. He is the earthly father of Jesus, and the husband of Mary. The feast day celebrates his fidelity and courage in fulfilling his obligations to each of them. Where some broadcast their own virtue from the rooftops via social media, St Joseph is more of a “Nike man”: he just does it. He is a great counter-witness to modern obsessions with autonomy. St. Joseph is the quiet man of action and his actions are oriented to the will of God. Whatever vision he may have had of his life was radically altered that night when the angel appeared to him in a dream:
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:20-21)
After this vision we are told that when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel told him (Mt 1:20-22, 24). Having contemplated a life without Mary, he now sees that being Mary’s husband and raising a child, not biologically his own, will be his future.
Jesus is the Son of God, and the Second Person of the Trinity; Mary is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church; and Joseph is remembered in relation to them. Joseph’s greatness is to be found in his willingness to let Mary and Jesus be who they should be. Like John the Baptist, he decreases so that they may increase.[i]
St. Joseph, pray that I may imitate your selflessness and set aside my own ambitions for the will of God…so that you may increase, and I may decrease. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Examine how willing you are to put aside your own plans and ambitions and like St. Joseph quietly seek to serve the needs of others first.
[i] From The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, Mary, Accessed May 13, 2020, https://www.english.op.org/godzdogz/solemnity-of-st-joseph-spouse-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary.
Day 4 (June 24): Chaste Guardian of the Virgin
St. Joseph was the Spouse of God’s Mother, but by a wonderful anomaly also the Guardian of her Virginity. Just as in Mary are combined miraculously two seemingly incompatible things, motherhood and virginity; so too in Joseph, to be Mary’s husband and yet shield of his wife’s virginity. Saint Joseph and Mary lived in what is often called a “Josephite marriage.” They were truly husband and wife, but they never engaged in sexual relations. They were both consecrated to God and sacrificed a natural good for a greater good: the salvation of souls.
Chastity is an important virtue. To be chaste is to have self-mastery and to be in control of your passions and sexuality. Chastity preserves the human heart and body for authentic self-giving. All people, no matter their vocation in life, are called to chastity.
Next to Jesus, St. Joseph is the greatest example of masculine chastity. In a message given by St. Joseph himself to St. Mary Ephrem in March of 1958, he says, “Let fathers also imitate my great purity of life and the deep respect I held for my Immaculate Spouse. Let them be an example to their children and fellow men, never willfully doing anything that would cause scandal among God’s people.”[ii]
St. Joseph was married to a beautiful woman, and he treated her with respect, dignity, and reverence. If men today were more like St. Joseph — protectors and defenders of beauty, instead of users and abusers of the feminine mystery — what a different world this would be!
While some men are called to consecrated celibacy, most men are called to marriage. Both vocations are necessary. Without marriage, there are no children. Without priests, there are no Sacraments. Married men need to be chaste in marriage; priests and bishops need to be chaste in their priesthood. God wants all men to model the chastity and self-giving of St. Joseph.[iii]
St. Joseph, in a world that is blinded by impurity, help me to resist temptations and to have self-mastery over my passions. Pray for me to live my vocation in a chaste and holy way. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Resolve today to decisively confront patterns of impure thoughts, words and deeds and replace them with the virtue of chastity with the help of St. Joseph.
[ii] Calloway, Donald H.. Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (pp. 199-200). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
[iii] Ibid, (p. 44).
Day 5 (June 25): Foster-Father of the Son of God
The naming of a child in ancient Jewish custom was the legal responsibility of the father. Jesus had no earthly father; therefore, it belonged to His Heavenly Father to confer upon Him His name. God the Father transferred this right to Joseph, so that in His place, he should give Him the name of Jesus (Mt 1:21). In doing so, God the Father conferred to Joseph the paternal care of His Only-Begotten Son.
The paternity of St. Joseph is a mystery which deserves deep reflection. We may view the announcement of the angel to Joseph as the counterpart to the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. Joseph, like Mary, was called to his role in salvation history. In addition, St. Joseph’s role in salvation history extends to the present day. In his apparition to St. Mary Ephrem, St. Joseph reveals the following.
“All fatherhood is blessed in me whom the Eternal Father chose as his representative on earth, the Virgin-Father of his own Divine Son. Through me the Heavenly Father has blessed all fatherhood, and through me he continues and will continue to do so till the end of time. My spiritual fatherhood extends to all God’s children, and together with my Virgin Spouse I watch over them with great love and solicitude.”[iv]
In his earthly life, St. Joseph would share in many mysteries he would not understand. His life would take many twists and turns, and he would be constantly thrown into circumstances that would call for the exercise of blind, heroic trust in God. Earthly fatherhood (whether biological or spiritual) also calls for heroic trust in God. Life is filled with circumstances beyond our control. However, fathers today can take comfort in the love and spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph. As he took care of Jesus on earth, he will take care of you too on your earthly pilgrimage.
St. Joseph, pray for me to have trust in God’s plans for me and for my family, especially when times are tough. Watch over my life and be my provider and protector in a world that is filled with uncertainty. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Turn to St. Joseph for his spiritual fatherhood and the grace of imitating his complete trust in God for every current and unforeseeable challenge in caring for your family (or your parish family).
[iv] Ibid, (p. 199).
Day 6 (June 26): Zealous Defender of Christ
St. Joseph is called the Zealous Defender of Christ because when Christ was threatened and persecuted he did not hesitate, not even for a moment, to defend and to protect Jesus and Mary. When Herod threatened to kill the baby Jesus, he listened to the instructions of God and obeyed, leading the Holy Family to Egypt:
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. (Mt 2:13-14)
We too have the opportunity and duty to defend Christ and His Church today. We have Christ fully present among us in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist, Christ’s very body, blood, soul, and divinity, is His most precious gift to us yet many people do not understand or believe in His real presence in the Eucharist. Do we ourselves truly show love and reverence to Christ in The Most Blessed Sacrament? Do we attend Mass faithfully and lead the people God has entrusted to us to our Eucharistic Lord? As faithful disciples of Jesus, we will be criticized, hated, ridiculed, and mocked by the world — oftentimes by our own family and friends. Our suffering may be great, but our witness to Jesus — will be greater.
Let us resolve today to make the Eucharist a priority in our lives. Let Jesus transform our hearts. Let us be a Holy Vessel of Christ and a light to shine in a world that is filled with darkness. If we are to be the Light of Christ to others we must come and receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist with humility and surrender.
St. Joseph, Defender of Christ! Teach us how to defend Christ zealously. Pray for us so we may be worthy to love and defend Jesus as you loved and defended Him. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Reflect on the reality and power of Jesus being present in his entirety in the Holy Eucharist, and if not already, make weekly Sunday Mass a non-negotiable for your family.
Day 7 (June 27): Head of the Holy Family
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover . . .He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. (Luke 2:41, 51)
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph compose the Holy Family. Jesus was God, and Mary the Mother of God; and yet we see from the above passage that St. Joseph was head of the Holy Family; for thirty years Jesus and Mary paid him homage and obedience.
The Holy Catholic Church teaches, through Scripture and Tradition, that the husband is the head of his family and has God-given authority over his wife and children. This gift of authority does not give a husband any greater dignity than his wife. Both are equal members of the marital covenant, as is reflected by God creating woman from the side of man (as opposed to his head or feet). Instead, this order of authority reflects the divine order between God, Christ and man. The Sacred Scriptures clearly affirm that God has assigned the responsibility of spiritual leadership in the home to husbands:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph 5:21-28)
In this passage, St. Paul is calling for wives to freely put themselves under the care of their husbands and he calls husbands in their role as “head” of the family to be like Christ. With Jesus as the model, this can only mean that the man is supposed to follow the path of a servant-leader. The man dies to self and prioritizes his family’s (or parish family’s) needs over his own. He is concerned for the family’s spiritual welfare. He looks for ways to help its members grow in their relationship with God. He provides physical support, grace, and encouragement. He is ready to protect, help, and defend. In good times and in bad, he is ready to lay down his life for those who have been entrusted to his care.
Jesus and Mary delighted in the headship of St. Joseph. His fatherly example shows that strength, authority, and headship are meant to be at the service of others. Families and parishes around the world will be strengthened if husbands, fathers, and pastors imitate St. Joseph.
St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, help me to live my role as head of my household (or head of my parish) in humble service. Pray that I may have the grace to imitate Christ’s sacrificial love and love the ones you have entrusted to my care. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Think of one way you can “die to self” and prioritize your family’s needs (or your parish family’s needs) over your own. Commit to this behavior for at least one week.
Litany of St. Joseph
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Noble Offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-Father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Zealous Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph Most Just, pray for us.
Joseph Most Chaste, pray for us.
Joseph Most Prudent, pray for us.
Joseph Most Courageous, pray for us.
Joseph Most Obedient, pray for us.
Joseph Most Faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of Patience, pray for us.
Lover of Poverty, pray for us.
Model of Workmen, pray for us.
Glory of Domestic Life, pray for us.
Guardian of Virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of Families, pray for us.
Comfort of the Afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the Sick, pray for us.
Patron of the Dying, pray for us.
Terror of Demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
He has made him lord of his household,
And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray. O God, who, in your loving providence, chose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most Holy Mother, grant us the favor of having him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our protector. You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.