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Hidden Treasures In St. Joseph's Life: Meditating On His 7 Sorrows & Joys Latest

Hidden Treasures In St. Joseph's Life: Meditating On His 7 Sorrows & Joys

May 02, 2018 by

When you're trying to imitate the behavior of someone you admire, reflecting on specific moments in his or her life is particularly helpful.

We see the fruits of this practice when meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life in the rosary, or when praying with the mysteries of Mary’s life in the Seven Sorrows devotion.

Another beautiful but lesser known practice is the devotion that ponders the seven powerful moments in St. Joseph’s life. The special poignancy of these events comes from the fact that each encompasses both a Sorrow and a Joy, as do so many complex moments in our own lives.

A Shipwreck, a Miraculous Captain, and a New Devotion

The origin of the practice of meditating on St. Joseph’s Seven Joys and Sorrows comes from a miraculous event involving two Franciscan Fathers:

“Two Fathers of the Franciscan order were sailing along the coast of Flanders, when a terrible tempest arose, which sank the vessel, with its three hundred passengers. The two Fathers had sufficient presence of mind to seize hold of a plank, upon which they were tossed to and fro upon the waves, for three days and nights. In their danger and affliction, their whole recourse was to St. Joseph, begging his assistance in their sad condition.

The Saint, thus invoked, appeared in the habit of a young man of beautiful features, encouraged them to confide in his assistance, and, as their pilot, conducted them into a safe harbor. They, desirous to know who their benefactor was asked his name, that they might gratefully acknowledge so great a blessing and favor. He told them he was St. Joseph, and advised them daily to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary seven times, in memory of his seven dolors or griefs, and of his seven joys, and then disappeared.”

St. Joseph’s Seven Sorrows and Joys

Joseph's seven joys and sorrows, which come from Sacred Scripture, dive into the hidden details, emotions, and actions of his silent Gospel presence. I hope that meditating on these moments will be as fruitful for you as it has been for me!

It is traditional to pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be after reflecting on each of the seven moments.

The First Sorrow and Joy:

The perplexity of deciding whether or not to divorce Mary, who is with Child, and the angelic revelation to Joseph of the Incarnation.

St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep Joy that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Second Sorrow and Joy:

The anxiety of seeing Jesus born into abject poverty, and the awe of beholding the Shepherds and the Magi as they adored the Christ Child.

St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter Sorrow which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the Joy which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Third Sorrow and Joy:

The pain of seeing Jesus’s blood spilt during His circumcision, and the privilege of bestowing the name “Jesus” on his child.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the Joy that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Fourth Sorrow and Joy:

The agony of Joseph’s own soul on hearing Simeon’s prophesy of Mary’s pierced heart, and the sweet knowledge that Jesus will bring salvation.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy Joy when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Fifth Sorrow and Joy:

The burden of being told to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of the Bethlehem infants, and the honor of bringing the Living God to crush the Egyptian idols.

St. Joseph, by thy Sorrow when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy Joy in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Sixth Sorrow and Joy:

The fear of Archelaus in Judea when returning from Egypt, and the wonder of seeing Moses’s prophesy fulfilled when the angel directs the Holy Family to Nazareth.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the Joy in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

The Seventh Sorrow and Joy:

The terror of losing Jesus in Jerusalem for three days, and the relief of finding Him in the Temple.

St. Joseph, by the bitter Sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy Joy which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Closing Prayer:

O God, Who in Thine ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

St. Joseph: Model of Patience, Perseverance, and Hope

One of the most striking aspects of this moving devotion is the fact that each event begins as a sorrow, and then transforms into a joy. With the help of grace, (and sometimes a message from an angel!) perplexity turns to awe, worry to wonder, and fear to peace.

Let us ask St. Joseph to intercede for us, especially for the virtues of patience, perseverance, and hope, as we navigate the many sorrows and joys of this life!

The Seven Sorrows and Joys and St. Joseph's Cord

The practice of meditating on the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph is connected to a beautiful devotion known as the White Cord of St. Joseph.

white cord of saint joseph Click the image to shop this devotional

If these meditations have inspired a deeper desire within you to know and imitate St. Joseph's virtues, then prayerfully consider joining the thousands of Catholics from around the world and through the centuries who have dedicated themselves to the special patronage and protection of St. Joseph through this devotion.

Read More: The White Cord Of St. Joseph: What You Should Know About This Unique Devotional

Reflections and prayers taken from and the White Cord of St. Joseph pamphlet.