“Like the Blessed Virgin Mary,
you have never offended God by any sin,
but like us fallen sinners here below,
you bore the wounds of concupiscence.”
Joseph is like Jesus, and also like Mary, in his freedom from personal sin and his holiness. But he is less than Mary in holiness, due to the wounds of concupiscence. Being in the fallen state means that our hearts and minds are clouded by that tendency toward sin and toward imperfection. We do not have the same clarity of heart and mind that the unfallen have: Jesus in his human nature, Mary, and then Adam and Eve before the fall from grace.
“Consider then, our plight, and pray with us,
as we suffer because of, as we repent from,
our indefensible sins, and as we sorrowfully seek once again
forgiveness from the infinite Mercy of God.”
Joseph understands the difficulties of being in the fallen state. (Jesus and Mary also understand, for the light understands the darkness, in that darkness is the absence of light.) Joseph, please have mercy on us and pray with us, as you are a fallen human person, a member of the sinful human race, and you suffered the harm of the fallen state. We suffer because of our own sins, and the sins of others, just as Jesus, Mary and Joseph suffered due to the sins of others.
May our suffering lead us to repentance from sin, even as sin causes our suffering. Joseph never sinned, but he suffered due to sin, and suffering is in the world, generally, because there is sin in the world, generally. And our sin are indefensible. We must not make excuses for our failings before God. Admission of guilt is an important part of repentance, as is the resolve to avoid sin in the future, and the sorrow that we must have for our sin, in order to seek forgiveness.
The mercy of God is infinite, but we must be repentant in order to access that forgiveness.
“Pray for us, Saint Joseph;
be merciful, loving, and forgiving to us;
and with the Blessed Virgin Mary,
intercede for us before your Son and Savior Jesus Christ,
for all our needs, our faithful desires, and our holy requests. Amen.”
May Saint Joseph intercede for us. That is why we pray, in a sense “to” him, so that he may pray with us to God, to whom all true prayer is ultimately directed. Saint Joseph, imitate Jesus and Mary by your mercy, love, and forgiveness toward us. For when we offend God by sin, we also offend all the holy souls in Heaven and on earth who love God.
And when Joseph intercedes for us before God, he does so through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and before Jesus Christ. And though Jesus is, in a limited sense, the son of Joseph (and certainly not biologically the son of Joseph), Jesus is also, without limitation, the Savior of Joseph and of us all. Throughout this prayer, we are reminded that Jesus is the Son of God, is Divine, is our Savior, so that we do not imagine that Joseph would be above or equal to Christ, nor that Jesus would be subject to Joseph by having Joseph as His foster-father.
Saint Joseph, pray with us for whatever is holy and good in our prayers, our true needs before God, any desires that are faithful and loving, and for all requests that are holy before God.
I hope that this prayer brings the faithful to know Joseph better, and therefore to love him more, and to obtain his intercession.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.