Day 15 (July 5): Lover of Poverty
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What does it mean to be poor in spirit and why is it a blessing? To be poor in spirit means that one is detached from the things of this world. Jesus tells us that those who are poor in spirit are not far from the kingdom of heaven. A person who is detached from worldly things is spiritually rich. In this sense, poverty is understood to be a virtue, and it is in this context that we attribute the title “Lover of Poverty” to St. Joseph.
St. Joseph embraced an austere life as a craftsman and humble father. The birth of Christ in a cave, the Flight to Egypt, and his laborious occupation all demonstrate his detachment from worldly goods. The New Testament also reveals to us that the Holy Family was very poor. When the Holy Family journeyed to the Temple in Jerusalem to participate in the Jewish ritual of purification for a new mother, Joseph couldn’t even afford to purchase a lamb for a burnt offering; he could only offer a poor man’s gift, that is, two turtledoves or two young pigeons. Had the Baby Jesus not been given gold, frankincense, and myrrh by the Wise Men in Bethlehem, it is likely that St. Joseph would not have had money to purchase food and other necessities for his family when they traveled to Egypt.[xi] Yet despite his financial austerity, one can only imagine what an inconceivable grace it must have been to be present with the Blessed Mother and the Son of God and to contribute to God’s plan of salvation.
Those who depend on worldly things are destined for unhappiness. True happiness is never found in material goods, but in the things of God.
St. Joseph, Lover of Poverty, pray that I may become poor in spirit. Help me to detach myself from worldly things and to abandon my life to the Providence of God. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any area of your life where undue dependence on worldly goods keeps you from pursuing the virtue of poverty and relying on God’s providence. Entrust these areas to God in a simple prayer.
[xi] Ibid, (p. 65).
Day 16 (July 6): Model of Workmen
May 1, or “May Day,” was celebrated throughout the Communist world as a way of supposedly honoring the role and importance of laborers in Marxist countries. The Communist conception of work, as almost an end in itself was, of course, very different from the Christian understanding, and in 1955, to highlight this difference, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
St. Joseph spent a lifetime laboring as a carpenter. His primary motivation for working was not a quest for riches or status, but a desire to serve God and to care for his family in a loving way. Joseph never worked any miracles; he never made any important speeches; he wasn’t a public figure, but was known only as a humble carpenter. Joseph labored in obscurity, but was nonetheless given an important part in God’s plan.
Work is not intended to be an end in itself or a path to earthly riches; rather, it’s meant to glorify God and to help us prepare for eternity. As Jesus said,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matthew 6:20-21).[xii]
No matter our jobs, we spend many of our waking hours working. If we view our daily tasks as meaningless unpleasantries, then doubtless we will become bitter and fail to cultivate any virtue. On the contrary, if we resolve to be sanctified through our jobs, we will develop an honorable Christian character.
We should also guard against working too much. The vast majority of men who work too much do so for unhealthy reasons: avoiding home, getting unmet needs met, the need for approval, etc. Workaholics are of no benefit to themselves, the family, or society. St. Joseph is an able aide at achieving a proper work-life balance. Consider that St. Joseph was willing to leave his work behind when he fled to Egypt to protect Christ.
St. Joseph also serves as the model workman for the imitation of those who work for the salvation of souls, especially deacons, priests, bishops, and religious. Consecrated souls are to work diligently and faithfully in God’s vineyard. This work, too, can be difficult and burdensome.[xiii]
St. Joseph, Model of Workmen, help me to make Christ known through the way I carry myself at work. Pray that I may work diligently and faithfully, and help me to make time for God, family, and rest. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Take a few moments to examine your work/life balance, and ask the Holy Spirit along with St. Joseph to inspire your thoughts, desires, and decisions as to what might need to be adjusted to reflect God’s priorities. Ask for God’s grace to adjust.
[xiii] Calloway, Consecration to St. Joseph, (p. 68).
Day 17 (July 7): Glory of Domestic Life
Train the young in the way they should go;
even when old, they will not swerve from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
To say that St. Joseph is the Glory of Domestic Life is to say that in him we see a supreme example of how a man magnificently transforms home life. There is a certain splendor, even honor in the household when it is properly ordered and guided by the fatherly example of St. Joseph.
For many men, domestic life is a secondary consideration. Most Catholic men understand that they are to work hard to provide the material necessities for their families. However, Catholic men also have the responsibility, together with their wives, to build the domestic Church. The term domestic Church refers to the family as the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ; it is the universal Church in microcosm. It is a home where family life is completely centered on the lordship of Jesus Christ, where parents who are disciples of Jesus, embrace their role as leaders to make disciples of their children. How can a father ensure this if he spends most of his time away from the home? In a word, he can’t. It is true that many places of employment are not overly concerned with ample leisure and family time. Husbands/fathers who are stuck between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” should not feel ashamed; a work-life balance is difficult.
However, as disciples of Christ, we do not operate by mere material and earthly means, but instead rely on grace to perfect nature, and the supernatural to transform the natural. If we follow the model of St. Joseph, we see that we can find a way to blend our work and home life into a single organism, something that moves with and for the rhythms of domestic life.
We must ask ourselves, what sacrifices can we make as husbands and fathers in order to spend more time with our families? Do we really need all that living space? Can we take less expensive vacations? Might our children not do better with less toys, clothes, and entertainment? In most cases, we can find ways to reorient our money, and abstain from costly habits, in order to maximize our resources. If we are honest with ourselves, we can make more and greater sacrifices for the good of our family life and be more generous with God.[xiv]
St. Joseph, Glory of Domestic Life, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me so that I may have the grace to build the domestic Church in my home and lead my family along the path of discipleship. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Ask God how are you doing in allocating your time, activities and resources in forming your family as the domestic Church; discuss with your wife what you heard in prayer. For priests, ask God to show you how you can better equip the families in your parish to live as domestic Church.
[xiv] From Part 8 – Catholic Masculinity Series: Following the Model of St Joseph, Accessed May 14, 2020, https://fatima.org/news-views/saint-joseph-glory-of-domestic-life/.
Day 18 (July 8): Guardian of Virgins
God calls us to profound purity. In both the Old and New Testaments, Scripture is replete with exhortations to “Be Holy as I am Holy” (Lv 11:44), and “Be Holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy” (Mt 5:48). Our good and loving God knows well the challenge posed by His call to “be Holy as He is Holy.” He understands and sympathizes with our fallen nature, and sends us an abundance of grace to overcome the temptations of this transient world. In St. Joseph, God offers us an outstanding illustration of personal purity.
Our Heavenly Father chose the virtuous St. Joseph to be the guardian of the purity of the precious Holy Family. Under the title “Guardian of Virgins,” St. Joseph offers us a shining example of the value of chastity. Through his holy intercession we have a magnificent channel of grace available to aid in overcoming the myriad of obstacles to virtuous living that confront us each day.
Due to his chastity and vocation, Joseph has further been entrusted to continue his mission of guarding the pure ones of God and of the integrity of the family. This power flows through him now as a reward of his perfect fidelity. All clergy/religious and families should have recourse to this most powerful intercessor.
Like the four arms of the cross, there are four particular areas of chastity to which we are called: that of body, mind, heart and spirit. Accepting the challenge of personal purity is a cross we each bear, but is not one that is either unreasonable nor impossible. As we strive to conquer the temptations of the world, let us seek the assistance of the Holy Heart of St. Joseph. [xv]
St. Joseph, Guardian of Virgins, may I, with your help, live as a disciple of Christ with purity in body, mind, heart and spirit all the days of my life. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Find an accountability partner to join you in prayer if there are any of these areas of purity that you struggle to gain freedom. Resolve to turn over any temptations against purity to St. Joseph and Mary whenever they occur.
[xv] From Wednesdays: Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph: Guardian of Virgins, Pray for Us!, Accessed May 15, 2020, https://salvematerdei.com/2013/02/20/wednesdays-through-the-holy-heart-of-st-joseph-guardian-of-virgins-pray-for-us/.
Day 19 (July 9): Pillar of Families
St. Joseph was the Pillar of the Holy Family. Throughout those unseen years of Christ’s youth, it was Joseph who built and guided a family worthy of the Son of God. What a mountain of a man Joseph must have been to deserve the honorable obedience of our Savior! It is hard enough for the average man to handle the stress of running a normal household, with normal children. Yet somehow St. Joseph could withstand the weight and power of the Creator of Heaven and Earth, living amongst him, looking up to him with the eyes of a child. What an awesome responsibility!
In these times of terrible confusion about family and fatherhood in our decaying society, let us look to St. Joseph. All men must strive to foster a pious and fervent devotion to him. How else do we expect to lead our families well? In an apparition to St. Mary Ephrem, St. Joseph said,
“The imitation of the Holy Family, my child, of the virtues we practiced in our little home at Nazareth is the way for all souls to that peace which comes from God alone and which none other can give.”[xvi]
Beg St. Joseph for the grace to imitate him; to have a holy headship over your family. This, too, is an awesome responsibility, yet God has entrusted it to you.
As Christ Himself looked to Joseph, carrying heavy loads of wood on his shoulders from forest to workshop; let us look to the man who showed the Child Jesus how to carry His forthcoming Cross, for inspiration to carry ours.
St. Joseph, Pillar of Families, Pray for me! Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: What heavy crosses are you bearing? Unite them with Jesus. Invite your family members to do the same. Take the time to ask them and pray with them today so that they may also learn how to seek God’s will and His strength to carry their cross. Receive His peace.
[xvi] Calloway, Consecration to St. Joseph, (p. 200).
Day 20 (July 10): Comfort of the Afflicted
Comforting the Afflicted, sometimes called Comforting the Sorrowful, is a spiritual work of mercy because it refers to our need to support each other emotionally and spiritually. God’s mercy towards us is not merely given for our own comfort in affliction, but so that we might also display His mercy as we comfort others:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
For those who are not compassionate by nature, speaking truth into a situation is much easier than showing compassion. However, if we are to model St. Joseph and display the character of God in its fullest expression, we also need to extend mercy and give comfort to those around us, especially our families. Comforting the Afflicted is part of the “job description” as it were for a husband and father, and even more so for priests and deacons.
Life is filled with many sorrows. Whether it’s financial problems, marital hardships, rebellious children, difficulties in relationships, the death of loved ones/parishioners, or a thousand other woes, we will all experience misery in life.
God will give you all the mercy and comfort you need for every affliction you endure, but don’t let that comfort end with you. Don’t simply hold on to the care you have received. Let it grow you and make you better at caring for those God has given you opportunity to care for. Remember that you don’t have to go it alone! No matter the situation, you can look to St. Joseph to be your consolation. He knows well the hardships of life. He is a kind and loving father and he can intercede for you in times of need.
St. Joseph, Comfort of the Afflicted, pray that I may be merciful to others as God has been merciful to me. Help me to have a compassionate heart to those entrusted to me and to have the humility to receive mercy and compassion in times when I am afflicted. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Having identified the crosses you and your family currently bear, spend some quiet moments asking Jesus to give you His heart of compassion and mercy that you may come alongside your loved ones to lighten their load.
Day 21 (July 11): Hope of the Sick
God has healed many people through the intercession of St. Joseph. In 1847 when a typhoid epidemic threatened the village of Bytown in Ontario (now Ottawa), the chaplain placed a statue of St. Joseph in the church where people gathered each day. The disease quickly disappeared. St. Teresa of Avila was miraculously cured of a terrible illness after praying to St. Joseph, and in order to honor him, the first Convent that she founded was named after St. Joseph. St. Therese of Lisieux became deathly ill as an infant, but after her mother’s prayers to St. Joseph, Therese was healed.
St. Joseph offers hope in times of sickness. If you or someone you know is sick, go to St. Joseph. Let us raise our voices in prayer for the intercession of Saint Joseph for those who are sick:
the Son of God placed his life in your hands.
With the Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother,
you cared for the Child Jesus,
who is the force of life in our world.
May your compassion embrace our fragility
and bring us the comfort of the divine presence.
Loving Saint Joseph,
we join with you in prayer by crying out:
Lord Jesus, Son of the Living God,
say a word for our healing!
Make us sensitive to the illnesses
of those closest to us.
Support us in our efforts
to care for our sick brothers and sisters.
Give us courage in the fight against all evil.
Help us to find meaning
in God’s great project for humanity
beyond the sickness and suffering that blind us.
May the Love of God be with us,
because our only hope is with Him.
We make this prayer
through the intercession of Saint Joseph
to Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.
St. Joseph, Hope of the Sick, pray for us!
Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Pray a rosary with your family or throughout the day offering each decade for the healing of those you know who are sick in body, mind or spirit. Invite St Joseph to pray with you. Perhaps make a short call to a loved one who is ill to let them know they are in your prayers.
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.