Because St. Joseph doesn’t say a word in the Bible and is not mentioned very often, you’d think it might be difficult to find devotion to him similar to Our Lady. And for the most part, that would be correct. There aren’t as many miraculous apparitions, shrines, prayers, or dedications to St. Joseph as there are to Mary, but that doesn’t lessen his importance to salvation history. St. Joseph played an enormous role in the provision and protection of Jesus Christ. That’s why there is a litany dedicated to his titles just like there is for Mary.
In this month’s installment of 19 on the 19th, Timmerie, host of Trending with Timmerie, talked about the Litany of St. Joseph, what each title means in the context of his role, and how the men of today can imitate him to become better husbands and fathers.
So many problems of today can be attributed to relationship issues, heartbreak, father issues, and the lack of male involvement in the family circle. Timmerie said that St. Joseph is the “healing balm”, the solution to these problems. If those crises need mending, the example of St. Joseph is the goal. St. Joseph is, at his core, an imitation and prefiguring of Jesus. He is the one who educated, taught, raised, and guided Jesus to become a human person. If he was a good enough example for Christ, he’s a good enough example for every man.
Timmerie began the Litany with an invocation of God and an invocation of Our Lady, showing that Joseph submits his will to two figures, his Lord and his most holy spouse.
Then his first two titles, Illustrious Son of God and Light of Patriarchs. These two titles denote the role of head of the household and leader of the family. Patriarchs are often looked down upon today as a symbol of sexism and power. Instead, a patriarch is a role of sacrifice and service. Joseph, the respected and admired patriarch of the Holy Family put the needs of Mary and Jesus ahead of his own. He provided, protected, and led as he was called to in his God-given mission.
“We pray, Spouse of the Mother of God, Guardian of the Redeemer, and Pure Guardian of the Virgin. What does all this mean? That Saint Joseph is the Guardian protector? He’s responsible physically and spiritually for protection. He’s our spiritual and physical protector as well, preserving us if we only ask his intercession to preserve us, to present us, as holy and spotless before his son, the throne, the heavenly throne of God Himself.”
We address Joseph as the Provider for the Son of God, another title marking his role as caretaker. We also address him as Zealous Defender of Christ. A similar title to being the guardian of the Holy Family, Joseph should be contemplated as the guardian of the plan of God. He ensured that Mary and Jesus were kept out of harm’s way. He prevented the disgrace of Mary in her pregnancy, he helped them flee to Egypt, and he returned them to Nazareth.
“We pray, Servant of God, pray for us.” Again, this role of holy patriarch is not a position of self-serving power. It’s a position of servitude. St. Joseph made himself available as the instrument of God’s work. Timmerie likened this to the way parents are often subject to the whims of a newborn. In St. Joseph’s case, though, his newborn was God made man. He was the most precious baby to ever grace the planet and Joseph was just a humble part of it all.
Timmerie continued, “We pray, Joseph Most Just, Joseph Most Chaste, Joseph Most Prudent, pray for us.” In a culture suffocated by pornography and infidelity, we need a beacon of chastity and purity. Joseph was a just and prudent husband, chaste even in marriage. He was dealt a difficult hand, but he turned to the guidance of God and His angels about how to handle it. That’s why he was able to live justice, chastity, and prudence in their highest capacities.
Joseph Most Brave, Obedient, and Loyal. To whom was he loyal and obedient? For whom was he brave? To Our Lord and Our Lady, Jesus and Mary. “All of these are virtues we should ardently seek after and beg the intercession of Saint Joseph to teach us his ways, to follow in his footsteps, to guide the men in our lives rather than for us women nagging our husbands, our spouses. The men in our lives need to live these virtues out, inviting them into the mission, the way the Angel Gabriel invited Saint Joseph into the mission, the God-given mission to be the Christ-bearer in the world, and a world parched for God, parched for liberation, starving for a Redeemer.”
Mirror of Patience, pray for us. Patience is one of those virtues parents constantly find themselves asking for. One of God’s most common petitions is for patience. It is patience that helps adults form children into virtuous people. It is patience that helps adults set the example that they purport in their lessons. It is patience that prevents panic, anxiety, stress, and anger. It is patience that provides the perseverance to keep the Faith and stay the course.
“Patience that is so important when we go, ‘God reveal yourself to me. I’m chasing you. I’m having a hard time seeing you because I have so many distractions in my life. Help me to be patient in preserving in prayer and persevering in prayer, rather than giving up because of my impatience and turning to every means of distraction rather than pondering and staying still in praying to your son, Jesus Christ.’”
Joseph is the Model of Workers, the Terror of Demons, and the Protector of the Holy Church. He is the patron saint of labor, because it was his labor that provided for the Holy Family, gave Jesus a profession, and provided the opportunity for him to sanctify his work. He is the Terror of Demons and Protector of the Holy Church because as the father of Jesus and thereby the father of the body of the Church, he will protect us from the monsters that seek to ruin our souls.
Let us go to Joseph in this last stretch of the Year of St. Joseph and ask him for the virtues that we need to attain greatness. Let’s use his example as a father, as a husband, as a patient, loving, just servant of God to model our own lives on the path to sainthood.
Learn more about St. Joseph by listening to or reading the full 19 on the 19th talk below:
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