With the Year of St. Joseph ending on December 8th, 2021 (The Immaculate Conception), I believe that the perfect way to end this time with St. Joseph is to extend it. Just as the best way to end the penitential practices and virtues that we have hopefully practiced during a good Lent is to continue them to some degree, so now that we have increased the intentionality with which we walk with St. Joseph, we should end this year by continuing this relationship in some way.
One of the easiest and best ways to do this is by praying the Prayer to St. Joseph which Pope Leo XIII composed and requested that we pray at the end of the Rosary, as promulgated in his 1889 Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries. You can find various English translations of the prayer, but the following is my favorite rendition, balancing traditional and modern language:
To you, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction.
And having implored the help of your thrice-holy Spouse,
we now, with hearts filled with confidence,
earnestly beg you also
to take us under your protection.
By that charity with which you were united
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God,
and by that fatherly love
with which you cherished the Child Jesus,
we beseech you and we humbly pray
that you will look down with gracious eyes upon that inheritance
which Jesus Christ purchased by His Blood,
and will help us in our need
by your power and strength.
Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
the chosen offspring of Jesus Christ.
Keep from us, O most loving Father,
all blight of error and corruption.
Aid us from on high, most valiant defender,
in this conflict with the powers of darkness.
And even as of old,
you rescued the Child Jesus from the peril of His life,
so now defend God’s Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.
Shield us ever under your patronage,
that, following your example,
and strengthened by your help,
we may live a holy life,
die a happy death,
and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.
Especially in an age in which an increasing number of children are growing up in fatherless homes, men are assailed with temptations, and masculinity is cursed as being toxic, I believe that a devotion to St. Joseph can be very beneficial to us as individuals and as a society for a better understanding and practice of manhood and virtue. (Virtue comes from the Latin, virtus [strength, virtue], which comes from vir [man, specifically masculine], because we all naturally know that a real man is a virtuous man.) St. Joseph is the Universal Patron of the Church, and we all need real manhood in our lives in some way or another. Also, as the Terror of demons, his protection can be a great help in these dark times. Paired with Leo XIII’s Prayer to St Michael the Archangel, we can gain much needed help for our Church by making use of this prayer. As God and St. Paul say, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For, our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)
May you gain many blessings and much assistance by continuing to walk with St. Joseph in your life. Sancte Joseph, ora pro nobis!
Article by Stephen Snyder, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Image source unknown.