I never knew how much I merely scraped the surface in my relationship with St. Joseph until this Lenten season when my husband invited me to pray the consecration to St. Joseph. Although he had a tender place in my heart, St. Joseph remained a mystery.
While discerning religious life, it was a book about the mystery of St. Joseph and led me to an acquaintance with him. When I realized I was not being called to be a religious sister and began discerning the vocation of marriage, I had enough courage to ask dear St. Joseph to lead my very own Joseph to me if it was God’s will. St. Joseph takes prayer requests very seriously, because as it turns out, my husband’s name is Joseph. I began to trust St. Joseph even more.
However, after praying the consecration to St. Joseph, it was as if a veil was lifted and I could enter the home of the Holy Family more intimately. As a new wife and mother, this discovery meant the world.
In short, this leads me to encourage you to devote or consecrate yourself to Jesus through St. Joseph, especially this year. It still is the year of St. Joseph, after all. So, before the Liturgical year concludes on December 8, 2021, I want to share a few reasons why it is not too late to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph this year.
I used the book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Faith by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC, to complete my consecration, so I will use his book to share my thoughts. The experience is very different from, say, the Preparation for Total Consecration, according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. If you’d prefer something that reads a bit more like that, a priest friend of mine recommends Consecration to Jesus through Saint Joseph: An Integrated Look at the Holy Family by Dr. Gregory Bottaro and Jennifer Settle.
A bit about the book I used:
Fr. Calloway’s book is the 33-day devotional. It is excellent for reading in groups, with a family member, or a friend because the book provides discussion questions. Plus, you will learn so much about St. Joseph that you will want to share him with others. The best way to describe Fr. Calloway’s writing style is to compare it to a sermon or retreat. If you prefer a dialogue with a priest who is conversational, exciting, and enthusiastically passionate about St. Joseph, this book is for you. The breakdown of the devotion is straightforward.
Day-by-day, the principal consecration preparation focuses on understanding each of his titles through the Litany of St. Joseph. Then there is supplemental reading called “Wonders”, which contains stories of miracles and testimonies by saints. Along with both tasks, the Litany to St. Joseph is prayed daily. Although the reading is quite extensive, I do not recommend skipping any of the three sections of the preparation. There are too many gems to pass up. However, if you have a hard time sitting through 20-30 minute reading sessions, I highly recommend breaking up your reading throughout the day if you need to. As a new mom, that was the only way I could get through it. So, no shame there.
Why get consecrated?
To be consecrated means to be set apart for holiness. This devotion is no light matter. It is a full entrustment of one’s life to Jesus through the guidance and friendship of his foster father. Those already consecrated to Jesus through the Blessed Mother can take this opportunity to unite with the entire Holy Family. That said, here are three takeaways I’ve learned so far.
1. Ultimately, friendship with Joseph leads you to the Son. Everything about St. Joseph’s life, work, marriage, and holiness results from anticipating the Messiah, then raising him, and dying in his love with the promise of salvation. The more I read about his virtue, the more I realized it was because of Jesus. It made me want to be more like Joseph, so I could enter into that mystery of living daily with Jesus, too. That’s one of the book’s goals, to become an “apparition of St. Joseph in the world today.” Living out in his example is to embody true Christian virtue. We all know our society can use way more of that: more humility, silence, patient suffering, perseverance, and even his fatherhood.
2. Those who consecrate themselves to St. Joseph this year can receive special graces. You can learn more about the plenary indulgence granted by the Holy See on the website Year of St. Joseph. I can testify to St. Joseph’s speedy aid. I’ve always had a hard time finishing novenas, but I’ve grown a new sense of endurance after the consecration. This summer, a friend of mine was desperate for a new job and asked me for prayers. I suggested that we pray the Novena to St. Joseph, “Patron of Workers” to find a job. On day 6, she received a call back from her most favored position of all the jobs she applied to. We spent the rest of the novena in thanksgiving instead of supplication. If you’re interested in this prayer, I highly recommend the website Pray More Novenas.
3. St. Joseph meets you where you are in life. The Litany of St. Joseph lists all the many titles given to him. No matter what stage of life you are in, he understands you in your Christian journey. For me, his titles “Glory of Domestic Life” and “Cornerstone of Families” ring true as I now enter that season myself. His titles “Guardian of Virgins” and “Zealous Defender of Christ” are just a few of the names that remind me of those in the priesthood and consecrated life. “Patron of the Dying” and “Hope of the Sick” are appropriate for so many people, as well. Recently, “Comfort of the Sorrowing” and “Terror of Demons” have been among my favorite titles, especially when dealing with personal loss, grief, and battling the temptation to despair that comes along with that. Entrusting my heart to him is a comfort. He reminds me that his Son will care for me.
That is the beauty of this devotion. The reader is invited to build a personal relationship and connection to his or her spiritual father. If you’ve been debating whether you should grow in devotion to the foster father of Jesus, here is a sign that you should. Please do it!
- St. Joseph the Protector: A nine-day preparation for entrustment to St. Joseph by Fr. Mark Goring C.C.
- St. Joseph Gems: Daily Wisdom on Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC
- Through the Heart of St. Joseph by Fr. Boniface Hicks OSB
Cover Image: The statue of St. Joseph in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Longview, TX.