Devotion to St. Joseph in Times of Crisis
When all the land of Egypt became hungry and the people cried to Pharaoh for food, Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians: “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” (Gen. 41:55)
Over the past few months, we have witnessed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Entire countries have shut down, economies have plummeted, public participation at Holy Mass has been canceled, and everyone’s life seems to have been turned upside down.
The world and humanity are facing a crisis, and anxiety and uncertainty may be, for some, at an all-time high.
What do we do? Who do we turn to in times like this?
Go to Joseph!
Old Testament Joseph prefigures St. Joseph
The story of the Old Testament Joseph is a personal favorite. For those who may not be familiar with him, here is his story in a nutshell: Joseph gets sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. While in Egypt he becomes the trusted right-hand man of the Pharaoh and is tasked to store up grain for seven years in anticipation of famine. Once the famine hits the land, all must go to Joseph for help because of Joseph’s role as keeper of the grain. Thanks to Joseph, Egypt was fed, and lives were saved, including his own family.
Fr. Donald Calloway. MIC, in his new book Consecration To St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father says this:
The story related in the Old Testament is true and is a prefiguration of a much greater Joseph who would bring his Son, the Bread from Heaven, to safety in Egypt. St. Joseph safeguarded a food capable of saving the entire world!
Just as the Egyptians flocked to Joseph in their time of need, so today we should run to St. Joseph in our need.
Litany of St. Joseph
One can find a plethora of prayers to St. Joseph by doing a quick internet search. Yet one of the greatest prayers you will find is the Litany of St. Joseph. The Litany invokes St. Joseph 26 times under various titles attributed to this great saint. In our current difficulties, three titles for St. Joseph stand out: Comfort of the Afflicted, Hope of the Sick, Patron of the Dying.
Comfort of the Afflicted
St. Joseph is no stranger to affliction. Each time he is mentioned in scripture, he is afflicted. St. Joseph is betrothed to Mary who is beautiful and virtuous; then he finds out she is pregnant, and he is not the father. St. Joseph can’t find suitable lodgings for Mary in Bethlehem, and she gives birth to the Savior of the world in a stable! Then St. Joseph finds out that 2Herod wants to kill the Christ child, and countless babies are murdered. They have to flee to Egypt in the middle of the night. Jesus gets lost in the temple several years later. The afflictions never seem to stop. St. Joseph just can’t seem to catch a break!
Do you feel afflicted right now? Are you quarantined and feeling lonely, isolated, and abandoned? St Joseph is with you and wants to comfort you. Run to him in prayer, lay your affliction at his feet and ask for his help in bearing it. St. Joseph lovingly comforted Our Lady and Jesus during some of their early afflictions; he will most certainly comfort you as well. St. Joseph, comfort of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the Sick
Christians throughout the centuries have invoked St. Joseph’s intercession during times of sickness. Notable saints even attribute miraculous cures to him. Fr. Calloway mentions the Martin Family and St. Teresa of Avila specifically. Sts. Louis and Zelllie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower), attributed to St. Joseph a miraculous cure of baby Therese who was born a very sickly child. St. Teresa of Avila was once deathly sick and after praying to St. Joseph, received a miraculous cure.
Have you fallen ill from the COVID-19 virus? Do you know someone that may have fallen ill? Are you sick with a pre-existing condition that leaves you especially susceptible to COVID-19? Go to St. Joseph, and ask for his powerful intercession. Ultimately it’s up to God whether or not you will receive physical healing, but with St. Joseph, you have a strong advocate. St. Joseph, hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the Dying
St. Joseph is known as the patron of a happy death because his own death was supremely happy. Tradition holds that he was assisted by Jesus and Mary and died in their arms. What better way to die then in the arms of Jesus and Mary!
Many fear that the number of deaths from the COVID-19 virus will be very high. We should all spiritually prepare for hard times, even though we cannot predict the future. The Lord may call you or me, or someone we know, into eternity. Are we prepared to meet the Lord? Are we prepared for a family member to enter into eternity? Call upon St. Joseph to assist you in these final moments. Not only will he come to you, we trust that St. Joseph will be accompanied by his beloved spouse, Mary, and his Son, Jesus. And like St. Joseph, what better way to enter into eternity than with Jesus and Mary at your side.
St. Joseph, patron of the dying, pray for us!
St. Joseph is the perfect saint to call upon in these troubled times. He suffered much on earth and knows first-hand of the anxiety that we are all experiencing. But he is a good father and will not abandon his spiritual children.
Go to St. Joseph and do whatever he tells you!
James Blankenship was a director of religious education for more than seven years. He now enjoys serving as a volunteer with the parish youth group. He and his wife have two children and live in Indiana.