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Very little is known of St. Joseph, besides what we learn from the few lines written about him in the Gospels. He was of King David’s line and engaged to a young woman from Nazareth.

Mary was found, quite unexpectedly, to be pregnant. But Joseph, “being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace,” as the Gospel of Matthew tells it, planned to dissolve his betrothal quietly.

Even before Jesus was born, then, Joseph’s tender compassion and forgiving heart were on full display.

God used a dream to reveal his plans for the carpenter from Nazareth. In the dream, an angel let Joseph in on Mary’s secret: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” That same angel, after the birth of Mary’s son, advised Joseph to take the child and his mother to Egypt to flee the murderous King Herod. And Joseph listened.

Luke tells us of Jesus' presentation in the Temple, and of that significant Passover when he went missing, but otherwise all Luke says about those growing years is this: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.”

Those years were Joseph’s time. A time spent caring for his foster son and teaching him carpentry. In Joseph’s workshop in Nazareth, Jesus would have learned about the raw materials of his craft: which wood was best suited for chairs and tables, which worked best for yokes and ploughs. An experienced Joseph would have taught his apprentice the right way to drive a nail with a hammer, to drill a clean and deep hole into a plank and to level a ledge or lintel.

Joseph would also have passed on to Jesus the values required to become a good carpenter.....patience (for waiting until the wood is dry and ready), good judgment (for ensuring that your plumb line is straight), persistence (for sanding until the table-top is smooth) and honesty (for charging people a fair price).

Alongside his teacher, a young Jesus laboured and built, contributing all the while to the common good of Nazareth and the surrounding towns. It is not difficult to imagine that those same virtues Jesus learned from his teacher—patience, judgment, persistence and honesty—served him well in his later ministry.

But almost as soon as Jesus started his ministry, Joseph disappears—at least in the Gospel narratives. Significantly, Joseph is not listed among the guests at the wedding feast at Cana, which marked the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. Did he die before his son had reached adulthood?

Joseph leads a life of quiet service to God, a life that remains almost totally unknown to us. And yet his life—filled with countless hidden, unseen, unrecorded acts of love—was of infinite value.

Matthew chapter 1: Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that she will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took his wife into his home.

HAIL JOSEPH - Does anybody know who wrote this?

Hail Joseph, full of faith.

The Lord is with you too.

You were aware of angels,

the voice stirring so deeply within,

So deep, it can only be holy,

so deep it can only be God.

Your life and your choices are your answer to the angels.

Hail Joseph, full of faith.

The Lord is with you too.

You stand as sturdy as a barn,

living with your doubts,

not running from them.

Hard knocks of hurt, shame,

disgrace and failure and all,

You will not abandon the one to whom you are promised,

your beloved Mary.

Hail Joseph, full of faith.

The Lord is with you too.

You gave the child a God-inspired name.

You taught him to work with his hands as you worked with yours.

You said, “Yes!” when you could have said, “NO!”

“Yes” to compassion and care over conventions and norms.

“Yes” to righteousness of the heart and spirit over laws and doctrines.

Hail Joseph, full of faith.

The Lord is with you too.

The tools of your trade, wood, hammered, nailed and joined -

a mob would later lift

and use with anger, pride and fear

and crucify the dream you nurtured, God’s gift to the world.

Let us, O Lord, be changed

by the courageous, steady faith a father inspired in a son,

and follow in their way.

Hail Joseph, full of faith.

The Lord is with us too.

O God, who were pleased to give us

the shining example of the Holy Family,

graciously grant that we may imitate them

in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity,

and so, in the joy of your house,

delight one day in eternal rewards.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

O God, who from the family of your servant David

raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son

and the spouse of his virgin mother:

Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life

and his obedience to your commands;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

God our Father,

Creator and Ruler of the universe,

in every age you call us

to develop and use our gifts for the good of others.

With St. Joseph as our example and guide,

help us to do the work you have asked

and come to the rewards you have promised.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

New St. Joseph Weekday Missal


Take time to talk to Him

Give thanks for His Presence

My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment

receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.

O God, the Creator of all things,

Who imposes on us the law of work;

grant in Your goodness that,

by the example of St. Joseph

and under his patronage,

we may accomplish the work

that You ask us to do,

and attain the reward

that You have promised us.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monastic Diurnal

Remember us, O blessed Joseph

and by your assisting prayers,

intercede on our behalf with your foster-Son;

You who are the guardian of Him,

who with the Father and Holy Spirit,

lives and reigns, forever and ever.

St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444);

Lord - whatever we make,

Give us a sense of wonder.

Whatever we build,

Give us a glimpse of glory.

Wherever we travel,

Give us a sense of reverence.

Whoever we meet,

Give us a sense of awe.

Whatever we do,

Give us a sense of achievement.

David Adam.

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