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The month of May begins with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. In a month dedicated to Mary, it seems appropriate to start by realizing how her spouse St. Joseph provided for her by his work as a carpenter.
During this Year of St. Joseph, I’d like to invite you to incorporate St. Joseph into your Rosary meditations, similar to the Stations of the Cross with St. Joseph.
The Joyful Mysteries make this easy, and yet even for the other 15, there is some way we discover a connection to the spouse of Mary and father of Jesus.
Each reflection was written after my own Rosary prayer, asking where St. Joseph is in the mystery. As you pray your Rosary, don’t forget St. Joseph. Hopefully these meditations will aid your reflection.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that God chose her for a special role in salvation history—to be the Mother of the incarnate Son of God and savior of the world. Joseph received the announcement from Mary and then receives his own angelic visitor in a dream telling him to take Mary into his home.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on how Joseph received his announcements from Mary and the angel and his subsequent reactions.
Mary goes in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She goes as a woman of charity and brings the joy of Jesus to the aged pregnant woman and the leaping John the Baptist. Did Joseph travel with Mary to ensure she safely reached her destination? The imagination of artists throughout the centuries has him accompanying her and so do the mystics Venerable Maria of Agreda and Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on Joseph’s journey with Mary to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Imagine what they talked about and what Joseph thought about on his journey back home.
It is because of Joseph’s lineage that he and his wife journey to Bethlehem. But this was according to the divine plan, for the savior of the world was to be born in the City of David. Joseph searches for a place for Mary to give birth. Once they settle in to a stable, Mary gives birth, and Jesus is laid in a manger. Joseph looks down into the eyes of God and commits to raising and protecting this holy child.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on Joseph’s emotions leading up to the birth of Jesus and his reaction when Jesus comes forth from the womb of the Virgin Mary.
It was necessary for Joseph and Mary to bring the child to the temple according to the law. They enter and the priest Simeon realizes that this is the child for whom he has been waiting. Simeon prophesies about the child and his mother. Joseph, present, hears these things and has to wonder what they mean.
As you pray this mystery, reflect on the thoughts of St. Joseph as he hears the words of Simeon.
Finding of Jesus
What a terrible feeling it must have been for the Holy Family to discover that Jesus was not in the caravan. Desperate, the parents travel back to temple only to find him sitting among the teachers asking questions. When the worry of Joseph and Mary is brought to the attention of Jesus, he asks them, “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?”
As you pray this mystery, reflect on how Joseph received those words. He realizes that Jesus is the son of the eternal Father. After this event, St. Luke writes that Jesus went home to Nazareth and grew in age and wisdom. Imagine the childhood of Jesus in the home with Joseph.
Concluding the Rosary
Pope Leo the XIII in his 1889 encyclical Quamquam pluries recommended to the faithful during the month of October to end the Rosary with a prayer to St. Joseph. This prayer can be added at any time. After praying the Hail Holy Queen and any other prayers you add, why not close with this recommended prayer to St. Joseph?
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.