Monday, June 20, 2011

911 to St. Joseph

I recently ran into a friend at daily Mass, and we lingered outside afterward to catch up on each other's lives.  While talking about our devotions to various saints, she told me that she dedicates every Wednesday to St. Joseph.  She said she uses a "Spiritual 9-1-1" prayer that was advocated by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta but that she modified for St. Joseph.  

Note: In researching the "Spiritual 9-1-1" prayer, I discovered that it was inspired by Blessed Teresa but that Fr. Corapi, now John Corapi after his recent resignation from the priesthood, coined the term "Spiritual 9-1-1" (the three numbers used to call for Emergency Help in the US).

The prayers Blessed Teresa used are 9 Memorares, 1 Rosary and 1 Divine Mercy Chaplet.  My friend changed the format for St. Joseph by praying 9 Memorares to St. Joseph, 1 Rosary (Joyful Mysteries since they include St. Joseph) and 1 Litany to St. Joseph.  (For prayers, see below)

I liked this idea so much that I decided to use it myself, with a few changes.  Since I usually follow the traditional schedule of praying the Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Saturdays, I decided to devote Mondays to St. Joseph.  (Saturdays are already traditionally devoted to the Blessed Mother, and I like to practice the Five First Saturdays devotion, so it seemed inappropriate to use that day to devote to St. Joseph.) I also did not want to repeat the St. Joseph Memorare 9 times but instead searched for 9 different prayers to St. Joseph.  I like the variety of these prayers because they involve the various titles under which St. Joseph is invoked.  

This is the third Monday I've devoted to St. Joseph, and I am already experiencing blessings from this devotion.  He is such a powerful intercessor!

Without further ado, here are my Spiritual 9-1-1 prayers to St. Joseph:

1. An Ancient Prayer to Saint Joseph

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.  O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

2. Memorare to St. Joseph

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted.
Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection.
Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.

3. A Prayer in Honor of St. Joseph, Protector of the Church and Consecration to St. Joseph

O glorious Saint Joseph, chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus, the chaste spouse of Mary ever Virgin, the head of the Holy Family and then appointed by the Vicar of Christ to be the heavenly patron and defender of the Church founded by Jesus, most confidently do I implore at this moment thy powerful aid for all the Church militant on earth. Do shield with thy truly paternal love especially the Supreme Pontiff and all the Bishops and priests who are in union with the Holy See of Peter. Be the defender of all who labor for souls amidst the trials and tribulations of this life, and cause all the peoples of the earth to submit themselves in a docile spirit to that Church which is the ark of salvation for all men. Be pleased also, dear Saint Joseph, to accept this consecration of myself which I now make unto you, that you may ever be my father, my patron and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent devotion to the interior life. Grant that, following your example, I may direct all my actions to the greater glory of God, in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate heart of Mary and in union with you. Finally pray for me that I maybe a partaker in the peace and joy which were yours at the hour of your holy death. Amen.

4. Prayer of Pope Leo XIII to St. Joseph

To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.

O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

5. Prayer to St. Joseph

Glorious St. Joseph, foster-father and protector of Jesus Christ! To you I raise my heart and my hands to implore your powerful intercession. Please obtain for me from the kind Heart of Jesus the help and the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I ask particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor I now implore.

[Mention your request here.]

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel animated with confidence that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.

V. O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ, and for the glory of His Name.
R. Hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. Amen.

6. Thirty Days Prayer to Saint Joseph
To be prayed any 30 days of the year.

Ever blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! You are the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To you, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection. Listen, then, I beg you, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask.

I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.

I ask it by the weariness and suffering you endured when you found no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, you had to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world's Redeemer in a cave.

I ask it by that painful torture you felt at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us.

I ask it through your sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to you that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan you had to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey.

I ask it by all your care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during your second journey, when you were ordered to return to your own country. I ask it by your peaceful life in Nazareth where you met with so many joys and sorrows.

I ask it by your great distress when the adorable Child was lost to you and His Mother for three days. I ask it by your joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort you found at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to you.

I ask it by the perfect love and conformity you showed in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by the joy which filled your soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led you into it with special honors.

I ask it through Mary's glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness you have with her in the presence of God.

O good father! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask.

(Here make your request for Saint Joseph's intercession.)

Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

7. Prayer to St. Joseph for Purity

Guardian of virgins, and holy father Joseph, to whose faithful custody Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were committed; I pray and beseech thee, by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that, being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart, and chaste body, ever serve Jesus and Mary most chastely all the days of my life. Amen.

8.  A Parent's Prayer to St. Joseph

O glorious St. Joseph, to you God committed the care of His only begotten Son amid the many dangers of this world. We come to you and ask you to take under your special protection
the children God has given us. Through holy baptism they became children of God and members of His holy Church. We consecrate them to you today, that through this consecration they may become your foster children.  Guard them, guide their steps in life, form their hearts after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when the child Jesus was lost, protect our dear children for time and eternity.  May you be their father and counselor.  Let them, like Jesus, grow in age as well as in wisdom and grace before God and men. Preserve them from the corruption of his world, and give us the grace one day to be united with them in heaven forever. Amen.

9. A Workman's Prayer to St. Joseph

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

1. Rosary, Joyful Mysteries

1. The Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.

Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.

Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. He made him the lord of his household.
R. And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray.
O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.
R. Amen.

Note:  Not part of my 9-1-1 prayers, but interesting to know about...
Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph

1 - The doubt of St. Joseph. (Matt. 1:19)
2 - The poverty of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:7)
3 - The Circumcision. (Luke 2:21)
4 - The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34)
5 - The flight into Egypt. (Matt. 2:14)
6 - The return from Egypt. (Matt. 2:22)
7 - The loss of the Child Jesus. (Luke 2:45)

Seven Joys of St. Joseph

1 - The message of the Angel. (Matt. 1:20)
2 - The birth of the Savior. (Luke 2:10-11)
3 - The Holy Name of Jesus. (Matt. 1:25)
4 - The effects of the Redemption. (Luke 2:38)
5 - The overthrow of the idols of Egypt. (Is. 19:1)
6 - Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth. (Luke 2:39)
7 - The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:46)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Building Cathedrals

Has it really been nearly a month since I last wrote?  For those of you who are breathlessly waiting for my next blog post, I apologize! ; )  As I've posted before, we're building a new house, and the deadline for my new book is in just 3 weeks, so things have been a bit crazy.

I wanted to share this wonderful essay that a friend of mine forwarded.  You might have seen it before in those forwarded emails, but it is so lovely, it's well worth reading again.  Based on a little research it appears to be an excerpt from a book by Nicole Johnson (just added to my Amazon cart...) The title reminds me of the Blessed Mother somehow.  I recently watched a Nova show on how the great cathedrals were built, so this especially hit home today. 

Invisible Mother......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.   The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?   Can you tie this?  Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being.  I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'  I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'  I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.   She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in..

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.   It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .  I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:  'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book.  And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.  These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam.  He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof?   No one will ever see it.'  And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.  It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.  No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.   But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness.   It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.  As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'  That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.. I just want him to want to come home.  And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.  And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.