Day 22 (July 12): Patron of the Dying
The death of St. Joseph is not recorded in the Gospels; however, we do know that he was not present during the Crucifixion of Jesus, and according to Church tradition, Joseph most likely died before the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It is believed that St. Joseph died a holy and happy death, gazing upon Jesus and resting in the arms of Mary. What a blessed death to see God before you die and for God Himself to tell you to go. This was Joseph’s gift from his Son, who would hand his father over to His Father. Thus, Christ entrusted Joseph a particular intercessory power for all those at the moment of death.
St. Joseph’s death is a touching and desirable example for us. God has designated St. Joseph as the Patron of the Dying because he wants us to experience a death similar to that of St. Joseph — a holy and happy death. Death is a part of life; but letting go and saying goodbye to family and friends is not easy. However, we need to be prepared for death because Satan always tries to get a soul to despair and turn away from our loving God at the hour of death. Ask any priest; he will tell you that a spiritual battle takes place over a soul at the hour of death.[xvii] However, St. Joseph can help us to make our death beautiful. The example of his passing encourages us not to fear death because the holy protecting powers that hovered near the saint’s deathbed are at our command, especially through the means of grace given us by Mother Church, in holy Viaticum (the Eucharist given to someone who is near death).
Therefore, when we die, we could surely benefit by praying to St. Joseph to help usher us to eternity. Moreover, we can ask St. Joseph to intercede for a family member or a friend, who might be close to the end of his or her life.
O Glorious St. Joseph, behold I choose thee today for my special patron in life and at the hour of my death. Preserve and increase in me the spirit of prayer and fervor in the service of God. Remove far from me every kind of sin; obtain for me that my death may not come upon me unawares, but that I may have time to confess my sins sacramentally and to bewail them with a most perfect understanding and a most sincere and perfect contrition, in order that I may breathe forth my soul into the hands of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Life is busy, and we do not often stop to contemplate the final things such as death. Set aside some quiet time today to contemplate your own mortality and death. Invite Joseph, Mary and the Holy Trinity to meet you there and to help you prepare in this lifetime for uniting with them in eternity.
[xvii] Calloway, Consecration to St. Joseph, (p. 80).
Day 23 (July 13): Terror of Demons
In her Diary, St. Faustina writes of terror – the terror of dying souls as well as her own brief moments of terror. In one instance, Jesus asks her to help Him to save souls by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for dying sinners. She records, “I found myself in a strange cottage where an elderly man was dying amidst great torments. All about the bed was a multitude of demons and the family, who were crying. When I began to pray, the spirits of darkness fled, with hissing and threats directed at me. The soul became calm and, filled with trust, rested in the Lord” (1798).
Yet St. Faustina, too, experienced moments of terror. Jesus rebukes her for this at one point, saying: I am displeased when a soul yields to vain terrors. Who will dare to touch you when you are with Me? Most dear to Me is the soul that strongly believes in My goodness and has complete trust in Me (453).
St. Faustina would eventually learn to whom she can turn in order to calm her fears and unite her to Jesus. It was none other than Jesus’ foster father, St. Joseph. The famous Litany of St. Joseph identifies him under the title Terror of Demons, and it’s no wonder. Surely, this man entrusted by God with the singular mission of caring for and protecting the Holy Family was endowed with graces enough to strike fear in the forces of darkness. The demons don’t stand a chance against St. Joseph. Saint Faustina writes: St Joseph urged me to have a constant devotion to him. … He has promised me this special help and protection (1203).
When you find yourself feeling overcome by the trials of life, turn to St. Joseph. He was a man who, in his earthly life, never succumbed to “vain terrors.” He remained ever grounded in faith, ever attuned to the will of God in his life. From Heaven, he stands as a go-to saint to help you when forces beyond your control – including demonic forces – seek to unsettle you and pull you toward despair and ruin.
At the end of our lives, many people are susceptible to despair. St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, will squash such despair and all things that stand in opposition to the hope found in the Risen Christ. From Heaven, this humble, quiet man of strength will lead us to the peace found in Jesus.[xviii]
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, protect us. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
[xviii] From Terror of Demons: an Explanation, Accessed May 15, 2020, https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/terror-demons-explanation.
Daily Challenge: Write out the verse from Isaiah 41:10 and place it in a spot that will be a daily reminder for you to invite St. Joseph to pray for you in times of deep fear, that you might not despair, but in great confidence place yourself in God’s hands.
“Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” – Isaiah 41:10.
Day 24 (July 14): Protector of the Holy Church
St. Joseph probably didn’t see himself becoming a central character in the history of salvation and being given a title like “Protector of the Holy Church.” Yet, because he responded in faith to protect and provide for the Holy Family, the Church teaches that God has called him to protect and provide for the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
In 1870, Pope Leo XIII explained the title of St. Joseph this way, “It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph’s dignity that, in the same way he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ.”
This title shows how this simple, just, and good man continues to protect and intercede for us as members of the Church. He was a man of faith and action. Not a single word of his is recorded in all of Scripture, yet his quiet example can inspire us to remain faithful and diligent, working to fulfill our duties in the Church and in our families.
St. Joseph is a wonderful intercessor for priests. The priesthood can be overwhelming given all the pastoral difficulties and challenges. St. Joseph was faced with many difficulties as well. Clearly, he was called to this, and God gave him the grace to do it. God gives that same grace to His priests. Being in a leadership role requires meeting unexpected trials that will test your abilities, but God does not expect you to meet these trials on your own. He wants
St. Joseph is a wonderful intercessor for priests. The priesthood can be overwhelming given all the pastoral difficulties and challenges. St. Joseph was faced with many difficulties as well. Clearly, he was called to this, and God gave him the grace to do it. God gives that same grace to His priests. Being in a leadership role requires meeting unexpected trials that will test your abilities, but God does not expect you to meet these trials on your own. He wants you to depend on His grace through the intercession of your spiritual father, St. Joseph.[xix]
St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Church, pray for the Holy Father, all bishops, priests, and deacons, that they be renewed in their vocation and humbly and faithfully carry out their mission. Pray for all leaders, that they may have a servant’s heart and rely on the wisdom of God in their decision-making. Pray for all lay members of the Church to fulfill their baptismal call to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ into every corner of the world. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: For priests, identify one pastoral challenge with which you are struggling and bring it to St. Joseph. For those who are not priests, pray for a priest that has been an important part of your (and your family’s) faith journey. Pray for him by name, to thank God for his vocation and role in your faith life. Ask St. Joseph and Mary to intercede for all priests for their perseverance and fidelity and the Holy Trinity to confirm them in holiness with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit to sustain them in their call.
[xix] Adapted from, A provider, protector, and patron for the whole Church, Accessed May 15 2020, https://www.marian.org/marianhelper/issues/issue160/article160162.html.
Day 25 (July 15): Guardian of the Mystery of God
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight,
he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. (Eph 1:3-10)
The opening chapter of Ephesians announces “the mystery” of God’s will—that is, God’s plan of salvation, a plan that was kept secret in the past (Old Covenant), but has been revealed in the fullness of time (New Covenant). God’s will is that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and become sharers in the divine nature (cf. Eph 2:18; 2 Pt 1:4). Together with Mary, St. Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery.
To be a guardian is to be a defender, protector, or keeper. The Blessed Virgin Mary “protected and defended” God’s plan of redemption through her faith. Throughout Jesus’ life, she was faithful to God’s plan, especially at Calvary and during the event of Pentecost. Although Joseph’s earthly life ended before the mystery of the Redemption was complete, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian. The Incarnation and Redemption constitute an organic and indissoluble unity, in which “the plan of revelation is realized by words and deeds which are intrinsically bound up with each other.” Precisely because of this unity, Pope John XXIII, who had a great devotion to St. Joseph, directed that Joseph’s name be inserted in the Roman Canon of the Mass–which is the perpetual memorial of redemption–after the name of Mary and before the Apostles, Popes and Martyrs. (Redemptoris Custos, n.6)
As disciples of Jesus, we too are called to be Guardians of the Mystery of God through our faith in the promises of God and through the way we live our lives. We live in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world that is greatly influenced by secular worldviews and nonbiblical perspectives. These views will become increasingly more prevalent unless we speak up, debunk false teaching, and become heralds of the Gospel. Scripture is clear about the fact that we must be prepared to communicate the truth of the Gospel when given the opportunity―and to do it with charity.
St. Joseph, Guardian of the Mystery of God, pray for me that I may do my part to guard and defend the mystery of the Redemption and proclaim it to those that Christ brings before me. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Can you identify the false teachings of the secularized world today that are leading us away from the truths of God? Identify one of these that perhaps has crept into your thinking or that of a family member. Ask for the wisdom to see anew through the eyes of faith, seek the resources from a solid Catholic source to equip yourself with a faithful response to speak the truth in love.
Day 26 (July 16): Patron of Carpenters
To provide for his family, St. Joseph worked as a carpenter. The original word in the Gospel is tekton which means “craftsman” or “artisan,” thereby suggesting that he could well have been a builder of homes as well as a carpenter. St. Joseph left an example to all those who must earn their bread by work of their hands, which constitutes an overwhelming majority of mankind; and therefore, he is the principal patron in the world of work.
St. Joseph is also referred to as the Model of Artisans. This is a beautiful title that reminds us that St. Joseph was fully human–talented, hard-working, with an eye for beauty and quality. At our baptism, God gives us spiritual gifts (charisms), which are special abilities to enable us to be channels of God’s love and presence in the world. Some are given the charism of craftsmanship which empowers an individual to be an effective channel of God’s grace to others through artistic or creative work that beautifies and/or orders the physical world. It is quite possible that St. Joseph had the charism of craftsmanship.
Today, God continues to give the Body of Christ a variety of gifts through which He can continue to make His presence known in the world. Those of you who have the gift of craftsmanship have a special intercessor in St. Joseph. St. Joseph can help you to glorify God by practicing your trade with integrity and skill.
Let us pray the St. Joseph Prayer for Workers to honor carpenters, artists, and craftsman:
Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.
Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing
Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.
When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.
(Note: This prayer was adapted from the booklet “Devotions to Saint Joseph” by Brian Moore, S.J., printed and published by the Society of St. Paul.)
Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: What are some of the charisms or spiritual gifts that God has given you? Reflect on how you are using these to bring beauty to your world. Is there some small way you might use your gifts to better channel God’s love and presence? Ask for the grace and opportunity to do so.
Day 27 (July 17): Patron of Social Justice
Open your mouth in behalf of the mute,
and for the rights of the destitute;
Open your mouth, judge justly,
defend the needy and the poor!
St. Joseph is called the Patron of Social Justice because of his righteousness. He followed all laws that came from God. He made justice a practical way of living out love for others. He fulfilled his divine assignments because he was a man of justice. St. Joseph was fair to his companions, to his family members, and to society. God guided him in judging what was right and what was wrong, and he stood for right.
As disciples of Christ, we are called to imitate St. Joseph and work for social justice.
As disciples of Christ, we are called to imitate St. Joseph and work for social justice.
Our families are the starting point and the center of a vocation for justice. How we treat our parents, spouses and children is a reflection of our commitment to Christ’s love and justice. We demonstrate our commitment to the Gospel by how we spend our time and money, and whether our family life includes an ethic of charity, service and action for justice. In the world of business, business owners, managers, and investors face important opportunities to seek justice and pursue peace. Ethical responsibility is not just avoiding evil, but doing right, especially for the weak and vulnerable. Decisions about the use of capital have moral implications: Are they creating and preserving quality jobs at living wages? Are they building up community through the goods and services they provide? Do policies and decisions reflect respect for human life and dignity, promote peace and preserve God’s creation? As citizens in the world’s leading democracy, Catholics in the United States have special responsibilities to protect human life and dignity and to stand with those who are poor and vulnerable. We are also called to welcome the stranger, to combat discrimination, to pursue peace, and to promote the common good.[xx]
Working for justice in everyday life is not easy, but we can call on the intercession of our spiritual father, St. Joseph, to help us live our faith in the world in a way that is pleasing to God.
St. Joseph, Patron of Social Justice, pray that we may have a vision of the world as God would have it: a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor, a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love. Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Who do I see as the poor and vulnerable in my life? How do I talk about them and respond to their needs? Examine whether you are living your life conveying a consistent life ethic that aligns with God’s plan of justice, with a willingness to make amends.
[xx]From Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, Accessed May 18, 2020, http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/everyday-christianity-to-hunger-and-thirst-for-justice.cfm.
Day 28 (July 18): Patron of Unborn Children
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
In our times, abortion is often defended in pregnancies arising from irregular situations. Although the circumstance is quite different, St. Joseph too is faced with the most irregular of all pregnancies, a situation leaving him quite unsettled: his wife has conceived by the Holy Spirit! The child is not his biologically or genetically. It is not the fruit of his physical relationship with his wife. In fact, he is called to believe that the child is conceived not by physical relationship with any man, but by the unique and direct intervention of God. How can a man accept such an overwhelming pregnancy? Only by faith. How can he accept fatherhood over such a child that could be called not his own? Only by openness to the will of God, by willingness to do as the angel of the Lord tells him.
We learn from Joseph that fatherhood is much more than simple physical generation. In fact, Joseph, who does not engender any child at all, is the best of fathers and a model for every father. He accepts the life in the womb by honorably taking Mary his wife. He journeys with her to Bethlehem to register the child in the list of humanity. He gives the child a name in the line of David. He defends the child from the cruel attack of Herod.
Joseph was the one chosen for the role of father to the Son of God incarnate in Mary’s womb, and he fulfilled this role so faithfully. Within his universal patronage, it is certainly fitting in our times that he be given a new title as “Patron of the Unborn.” No one can be a better defender of innocent, helpless life in the womb. No one is a better model of fatherhood to parents of pre-born children. No one can more fittingly aid in the process of healing and reconciliation for those who grieve and agonize over having committed the sin of abortion. No one is a better image for women who have been hurt by men unwilling to accept fatherhood of the child they engendered.[xxi]
Invoking the intercession of St. Joseph, Patron of the Unborn, let us pray today for all expectant mothers:
O Holy Joseph, protector and provider of the Holy Family and all families, through your intercession may God grant all expectant mothers the grace to cherish the new life within their wombs. May mothers and fathers realize that their baby is a gift from God and have the courage to choose life for their child. Through the Mystery of Baptism may the parents and newborns become children of God and heirs to eternal life in Christ. Amen.
Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Daily Challenge: Locate the nearest prolife pregnancy resource center to your home or parish and ask if you might be able to support them in some way. Become familiar with available resources so that you may also defend and protect unborn lives and women in crisis when the occasion arises.
[xxi] Adapted from St. Joseph, patron and model of love and respect for life in the womb, Accessed May 15, 2020, http://osjusa.org/about-us/apostolates/patron-of-the-unborn/.
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.