Embracing the ‘hidden presence’ of St. Joseph in our daily prayers

March 10, 2023 at 7:20 p.m.
Embracing the ‘hidden presence’ of St. Joseph in our daily prayers
Embracing the ‘hidden presence’ of St. Joseph in our daily prayers

Things My Father Taught Me

Every morning, while it is still dark, I light a small tea candle that sits at the foot of a vintage statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I love the statue because she is worn with age, like me.

My prayers are first, in gratitude for the big and small blessings of life, and then prayers of petition for my family and friends, the many known and unknown victims of violence and want, and for peace in the soul of humanity.

Last March, the month of St. Joseph, I added a statue of the saint next to Mary. Most often, he is lying on his side resting on small pieces of paper – my prayer intentions. It’s a practice I borrowed from Pope Francis, who has long had a devotion to St. Joseph and who keeps a statue of the sleeping St. Joseph in his office.

The Holy Father acknowledged, “When I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: Pray for this problem! … Do not forget St. Joseph who sleeps! Jesus slept with the protection of Joseph.”
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This image of the sleeping saint has meaning for me because, like many of us, I, too, often make a decision to “sleep on it,” when I have a problem or decision to make. Sometimes, I wake up with a sense that God has given me my marching orders, but my reply is not always the internal, silent yes of St. Joseph who received messages from God through dreams.

My initial reaction is just as likely to be “Seriously?” “You’ve got to be kidding,” or “Umm, I don’t think so.”  It might take me some time to come around to what God wants, but Joseph does not falter.

Just a few short months ago, on the Sunday after Christmas we honored St. Joseph through the Feast of the Holy Family, in his role as guardian and teacher. His primary feast is March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph when he is honored as the husband of Mary. He will be honored again on May 1 in the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

One man entrusted by God with so many roles, to which he always said yes.

When Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph to run from Dec. 8, 2020 until Dec. 8, 2021, it was to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the patron of the Universal Church, and to encourage the faithful to go to Joseph for intercession in times of need and to honor the saint’s role as humble protector of the Holy Family.

In his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde: With a Father’s Heart, Pope Francis encourages us to turn to St. Joseph: “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”

That has certainly been my experience, and the height of St. Joseph’s “bed” on my counter is evidence of my belief.

 In an extensive footnote at the end of his letter, Pope Francis shares a special prayer to St. Joseph, writing: “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds I have recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. It expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph:

‘Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serious and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome. My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.’”

Mary Clifford Morrell is the author of “Things My Father Taught Me About Love” and “Let Go and Live: Reclaiming your life by releasing your emotional clutter.”



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Every morning, while it is still dark, I light a small tea candle that sits at the foot of a vintage statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I love the statue because she is worn with age, like me.

My prayers are first, in gratitude for the big and small blessings of life, and then prayers of petition for my family and friends, the many known and unknown victims of violence and want, and for peace in the soul of humanity.

Last March, the month of St. Joseph, I added a statue of the saint next to Mary. Most often, he is lying on his side resting on small pieces of paper – my prayer intentions. It’s a practice I borrowed from Pope Francis, who has long had a devotion to St. Joseph and who keeps a statue of the sleeping St. Joseph in his office.

The Holy Father acknowledged, “When I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: Pray for this problem! … Do not forget St. Joseph who sleeps! Jesus slept with the protection of Joseph.”
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This image of the sleeping saint has meaning for me because, like many of us, I, too, often make a decision to “sleep on it,” when I have a problem or decision to make. Sometimes, I wake up with a sense that God has given me my marching orders, but my reply is not always the internal, silent yes of St. Joseph who received messages from God through dreams.

My initial reaction is just as likely to be “Seriously?” “You’ve got to be kidding,” or “Umm, I don’t think so.”  It might take me some time to come around to what God wants, but Joseph does not falter.

Just a few short months ago, on the Sunday after Christmas we honored St. Joseph through the Feast of the Holy Family, in his role as guardian and teacher. His primary feast is March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph when he is honored as the husband of Mary. He will be honored again on May 1 in the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

One man entrusted by God with so many roles, to which he always said yes.

When Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph to run from Dec. 8, 2020 until Dec. 8, 2021, it was to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as the patron of the Universal Church, and to encourage the faithful to go to Joseph for intercession in times of need and to honor the saint’s role as humble protector of the Holy Family.

In his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde: With a Father’s Heart, Pope Francis encourages us to turn to St. Joseph: “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”

That has certainly been my experience, and the height of St. Joseph’s “bed” on my counter is evidence of my belief.

 In an extensive footnote at the end of his letter, Pope Francis shares a special prayer to St. Joseph, writing: “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds I have recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. It expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph:

‘Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serious and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome. My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.’”

Mary Clifford Morrell is the author of “Things My Father Taught Me About Love” and “Let Go and Live: Reclaiming your life by releasing your emotional clutter.”


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