Husband & Wife Articles


 

How St. Joseph Got Me Fired!

When you ‘Go to Joseph,’ be careful what you pray for

By Ken Davison

Many Catholics only think of St. Joseph when they want to sell their house. To ensure that sale, they hold him hostage in effigy, buried upside down in their yard, refusing to dig him up until he brings them a buyer and closes the deal. If it works for you, fine, but my experience tells me this: Don’t mess with St. Joseph, because he got me fired.

Better to put him on the mantle in a place of honor – where you can keep an eye on him than to let him out of your sight, where he can upset your best-laid plans. Warn your wife not to mess with him, either, because he is especially responsive to the loving requests of third parties.

More than a decade ago, unknown to me, my wife prayed a novena to him to help me with frustrations in my job, and at the end of the novena — voila! – I was told that my entire department was to be suddenly dismantled. Yet if I had not been fired, I would never have entertained a better, higher-paying job that was offered to me the very next day! St. Joseph did what he had to do for my own good.

Yes, when you let St. Joseph slip out of your sight, he can seem abrupt and startling in his actions when you (or those you love) consciously call on his help. And I remember so clearly my wife’s surprising and sincere smile when I told her I’d been fired! Not the reaction I’d feared. Because she had prayerfully trusted my job to St. Joseph for nine days, she was fully prepared to learn joyfully that he had acted — even though she didn’t understand the heavenly plan.

So, starting today, why not keep St. Joseph clearly in your sight and daily ask for his help, just as Jesus and the Blessed Virgin surely did?

Here are some ideas for how he might help you.

Are you jealous? This sin has been elevated to a virtue in our world today: righteous envy, indignant jealousy. I know I need to confess this sin repeatedly. Ask Joseph to help you. Wonder why we begin the month of Mary with the May 1 feast of St. Joseph the Worker? Here’s an insight from St. Bernadette, who would kneel down before a statue of St. Joseph and then pour out her prayers to…the Blessed Virgin Mary. “In heaven, no one is jealous,” she responded when questioned about this unusual practice.

Tempted by sexual sins? Joseph can help. Here was a man who was not preserved from Original Sin, living in very close daily contact with a woman he deeply loved as his wife, but in response to God, he gave up his marital rights to a conjugal relationship. That must have been a very, very difficult daily sacrifice. Like living a celibate life as a priest, or a nun, or when tormented by same-sex attraction, or being chaste in today's college hook-up culture — you name it.

Anxious about providing for your family? Joseph fled from death squads, left in the dead of night to go to another country, moved repeatedly with no time to prepare financially and with no job plans. He understands your concerns, and just like he did with the Holy Family’s welfare, he will take concrete actions to help you.

Concerned about the faith of your children, spouse or parents? I know that my own faith is not nearly strong enough to sustain me, let alone to serve them. Yet think of the obedience of faith of a man who acted without hesitation upon the messages he received in dreams! Not in the clear light of day, mind you — but at night! What faith! And his prompt response worked out every time. He can help your faith, and he will do the same for those you are responsible for.

Afraid of death — your own or others’? Want to ensure the reward of eternal life for them, but feel at a loss to reach them? St. Joseph offered his life on earth, in ways he could never have planned, with daily service to God himself in the flesh and his mother, and yet the last we hear of him in Scripture, he has somehow lost the Messiah he was entrusted to protect for three full days! St. Joseph knows from personal experience our inadequacy, despite our best efforts. Still, in the end, he was rewarded to die in the presence of God himself. Surely Jesus, his adopted son, obeyed the Fourth Commandment to honor his father with a blessing to eternal life on his deathbed, and the Mother of God held his hand. Ask St. Joseph for the same favor at the hour of death for your loved ones, for the same reason he received it: as a free gift of God, despite all our failings.

As we open the month of Mary, it would be good to keep St. Joseph right side up and daily in our sight and in our prayers. St. Joseph, pray for us!

Ken Davison is the founder of Holy Heroes, a Catholic family apostolate that offers resources and inspiration. He and his wife live in North Carolina with their eight children.