|Click on the icon to go to a post about it at The Way of Beauty.|
Sunday, tomorrow, begins the Seven Sundays of St. Joseph, a devotion that leads up to this great saint’s feast day, which is March 19.
I am reminding you of this because you might be a bit busy, with your mind on the Superbowl or what have you, but I really encourage you to live this devotion in your family, however simply or elaborately.
First, because if you are not really used to making Sundays different, it will help. After all, it’s a bit of an effort to remember to say a certain prayer together each Sunday, but gathering, lighting a candle, and praying will be good practice and get you into the habit of making this day different from a normal working day. And when you make your Sunday a day set apart, you call God’s blessing on your family.
Second, because St. Joseph is a powerful intercessor. I know that each and every one of us has something pressing on our minds and some way our soul is suffering. “Go to Joseph” (Gen. 41:55) is an injunction that still ought to ring in our ears.
Third, because our world is hurting from a sore lack of fatherhood. St. Joseph, that silent, strong man, was chosen by God to keep the Holy Family safe. Even the Blessed Virgin entrusted herself to him entirely. Well, we have a lot to learn from him, men and women. I assure you that praying for his intercession for seven Sundays will make a difference in your family.
Fourth, because Lent is coming, and that season is also an opportunity to grow in our appreciation of Sundays, if only because we will be so happy for the respite from not eating ice cream during the week.
Somehow, praying the St. Joseph prayers really helps me with my Lent.
Okay, so the practical part.
Gather in a suitable place in your home. It is lovely to have a statue or picture of St. Joseph, or, if like me your statue broke irretrievably, a crucifix or icon. Light a candle and make sure everyone is included in the circle as well as you can. You can stand or kneel.
In past years we have said the Litany to this saint. I find it meditative and beautiful. Here you will find a Litany of St. Joseph. (I tried to be helpful and upload my copy as a Google Doc — I formatted it in two columns in a landscape style so that when you print it out you get two copies per page, but it won’t load that way. Maybe you can do that part yourself for frugal copying out. Sorry.) It helps to say a litany if you treat it as a sort of chant. The father is the leader of the prayer and the mother is the leader of the responses, and the two of them make a good rhythm of it. Don’t go too fast and don’t go too slowly!
Here you will find the Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph. I think that tomorrow I will ask the Chief if we can first read the Sorrow and Joy of the day, and then say the Litany, but we will have many little children here, so that might be iffy! We’ll see!
Do as little or as much as you like. If your children are very young, keep it simple, maybe making a short version of the litany or just reading the Sorrows and Joys without the long prayers, ending with an Our Father. You can always add more next year.