Years ago when I was a college student, our priest chaplain for campus ministry used to joke that he was going to pray a Saint Joseph prayer. It was his way of saying he wanted a nap.
The foster father of Jesus doesn’t appear all that often in scripture. He is there during Mary’s miraculous pregnancy and the birth of Christ, then appears again when Jesus is lost during the Holy Family’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But after that, he is gone. Before Jesus began his public ministry, Joseph had died.
Unlike many other biblical figures, the head of the Holy Family doesn’t say a single word in all of scripture. We hear of some of his actions, but we don’t have any quotes from this man who appears to be a strong and silent type.
One thing that sets Joseph apart is his dreams. He might not have much of scripture devoted to his story, and none of his words written down for the ages, but God speaks to him while he sleeps. It happens four times in scripture.
First, the Angel Gabriel appears to Joseph in a dream and instructs him to take Mary as his wife, telling him not to fear because her child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:20-21)
Second, after the baby Jesus has been born in Bethlehem, an angel warns Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt to escape King Herod’s attempts to destroy the baby. (Matthew 2:13)
Third, Joseph is informed that King Herod has died and it is safe to return home. (Matthew 2:19-20)
Fourth, Joseph is warned in a dream to go to Galilee rather than Judea. (Matthew 2:22)
So it really does make sense to call a nap a “Saint Joseph prayer”. It is while Joseph is asleep that he is able to communicate with God and hear the important messages God’s angels bring to him. But what’s really extraordinary about Joseph is not that God speaks to him in dreams, but that Joseph has the deep and abiding faith to listen.
Matthew 1:24 says, “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.”
Do you have the same faith? Would you hear God’s call in a dream and respond immediately? Or would you shrug it off and say, it was just a dream?
Joseph did some really hard things—taking in a pregnant Mary knowing that they would be subjected to judgment and scorn and his reputation would be put at risk because of what others would think. Picking up and moving his family to a foreign land where they knew no one and had nothing, and staying there for several years just waiting for God’s call to return. These really are life-altering decisions that Joesph made, all because he had the courage to say yes to God.
Have you ever heard of a Sleeping Saint Joseph statue? Pope Francis has one, and he writes down his problem or prayer intention to place under the statue before he goes to sleep. He hands it over to St. Joseph’s intercession—literally lets Joseph “sleep on it”.
When you have a problem, surrender to God just as Saint Joseph did. With any gift of $1,200 or more during our Give From the Heart Pledge Drive, you will receive a 6-inch Sleeping Joseph figure as our thank you to you.
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During Relevant Radio’s “Give from the Heart” Pledge Drive this week, give a gift of $1,200 and receive a Sleeping St. Joseph Figure. Thanks in large part to Pope Francis, the Sleeping St. Joseph has become a widely popular devotion. The Pope advises leaving a “note” under the image of the sleeping saint, as he does, asking for help when you have a special intention.
If you give to Relevant Radio at the $1,200 level TODAY ONLY, you will receive this Sleeping St. Joseph Figure! Don’t miss your chance to Give from the Heart!