If you ask any Catholic what does consecration mean, they would most likely answer that it’s when the bread and wine, during mass, become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Some may tell you that they have consecrated themselves to Mary, a tradition that dates back to the 11th Century, where St. Odilo of Cluny publicly announced his devotion to Mary. He is also the saint that created “All Souls Day” on November 2nd! However, most Catholics associate the consecration to Jesus through the hands of Mary with St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) and his writings “True Devotion to Mary”. However, in recent years, the Consecration to St. Joseph has become more and more popular. Quite a few books have been written on how to make this act. Since St. Joseph is considered the guardian of the Holy Family and all families, we turn to him, especially today, because so many marriages and families are falling apart. St. Joseph is also the patron saint of the Catholic Church, giving us another important reason to implore his intercession to heal our Church.
In fact consecration means “to set aside for a sacred purpose”. Therefore consecrating yourself means putting yourself aside to love and serve God. You could then ask why would someone consecrate themself to Mary and/or St. Joseph when they could just as well go directly to God? St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Saint John Paul II and many other saints say that Mary consecrated her entire life to loving and serving God and their only Son, Jesus Christ! She can show each of us how to “love and serve God perfectly in our everyday lives”. Consecrating yourself helps you to grow in faith, love and hope for God. This is the same for the consecration to St. Joseph, because St. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and the only saint to have known Jesus in person, loving and caring for him until he became an adult. St. Joseph can also show us how to obey the commandments and love God daily. Both retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis are strongly devoted towards St. Joseph. St. Joseph is the patron saint of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis inaugurated his papacy on the feast day of St. Joseph March 19th!
Here is what Pope Francis has to say about St. Joseph, “I have great love for St. Joseph because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of St. Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the church. He appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak, but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. He responded to God’s call to be the guardian and protector of his son by being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply his own.”
When you do decide to consecrate yourself it is called an act and not a prayer. It is an act because it is not only a prayer but a decision that changes your spiritual and daily life. You promise to entrust your heart, mind, soul and body to God through Christ, in the Holy Spirit with the help of the intercession of a saint or an angel and in this case St. Joseph. It is an act that needs thought, preparation and prayer with the help of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession if possible. The Act of Consecration helps you as a Christian to keep your baptismal commitment to follow God’s commandments.
The Act of Consecration can be done in several ways. Some Christians follow a 33 day preparation by themselves with the aid of a guide book that has each day explained in a step by step process. Other Christians join a group with a leader within their church and follow a step by step program with discussions, meditations and prayers where the duration of the program may vary. Finally, other Christians may just say the same Act of Consecration, everyday at first, until it becomes part of them in thought and in action and then just once a week or month so as not to forget their engagement. You can remake an Act of Consecration as many times as you wish as each time it helps you to deepen your faith and renew your engagement to God. In the Catholic tradition, you have many different types of consecrations. Some examples of consecration are to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the immaculate Heart of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, St. Joseph, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, or Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto of Fatima, the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael etc…..
You can start your Act of Consecration at anytime but it is strongly recommended to recite your final Act of Consecration (the last day) on a feast day of St. Joseph either March 19th or May 1st. If both those dates are too far away you can try and finish on a Wednesday as this is the day that is dedicated to St. Joseph just as Saturdays are dedicated to Mary.
Throughout the centuries, many saints have written prayers for the consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph. Here are just a few examples:
O dearest Saint Joseph, I consecrate myself to your honour
and give myself to you, that you may always be my father,
my protector and my guide in the way of salvation.
Obtain for me a greater purity of heart and fervent love of the interior life.
After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God,
in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
O Blessed Saint Joseph, pray for me,
that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.
Oh my beloved St. Joseph, adopt me as thy child. Take charge of my salvation; watch over me day and night; preserve me from the occasions of sin; obtain for me purity of body. Through thy intercession with Jesus, grant me a spirit of sacrifice, humility, self-denial, burning love for Jeus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet and tender love for Mary, my mother. St. Joseph, be with me living, be with me dying, and obtain for me a favorable judgement from Jesus, my merciful Savior.
Oh Holy Patriarch, I rejoice with you at the exalted dignity by which you were deemed worthy to act as father to Jesus, to give him orders and to be obeyed by him whom heaven and earth obey.
O great saint, as you were served by God, I too wish to be taken into your service. I choose you, after Mary, to be my chief advocate and protector.
I promise to honor you everyday by some special act of devotion and by placing myself under your daily protection.
By that sweet company which Jesus and Mary gave you in your lifetime, protect me all through life, so that I may never separate myself from my God by losing his grace.
My dear St. Joseph, pray to Jesus for me. Certainly, He can never refuse you anything, as He obeyed all your orders while on earth. Tell Him to detach me from all creatures and from myself, to inflame me with His holy love, and then to do with me what He pleases.
By that assistance which Jesus and Mary gave you at death, I beg of you to protect me in a special way at the hour of my death, so that dying assisted by you, in the company of Jesus and Mary, I may go to thank you in paradise and, in your company, to praise my God for all eternity.
Each day you can end your consecration prayer with the recitation of the Litany of St. Joseph. The Litany helps you memorise many of the virtues of St. Joseph such as obedience, strength, faithfulness, guardianship of the Church, families etc.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us (after each line)
Saint Joseph, Renowned offspring of David,
Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster-father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most strong, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of artisans,
Glory of home life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families,
Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of His house:
R. And ruler of all His substance.
Let us pray.
O God, in Your loving providence chose Blessed St. Joseph to be the spouse of Your own most Holy Mother: grant us the favor to have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we venerate as our defender on earth: You who live and reign, world without end. Amen.
Through prayer, God transforms our hearts and changes the world. Everyday, Jesus invites each of us personally to welcome Him into our lives and receive His many graces. He invites us to pray, offer up our lives, our day, and our actions. Jesus has so much to give us! Yet, our prayer time often seems aride: we just don’t get it, we become bored and end up abandoning our good resolutions.
Hozana can help you take giant steps in your prayer life . For some, Hozana allows the discovery or rediscovery of the joy of praying, the joy of an authentic daily encounter with Jesus, heart to heart. For others, Hozana allows the practice of faithfulness and constancy in prayer, like an athlete who learns how to be steadfast for each training session. To achieve this goal, Hozana offers a very large spectrum with hundreds of proposed prayers, in the image of the Church’s wealth of diversity!
How about joining your first prayer community to help you get started in your Daily Prayer life? Each day, in your personalised prayer corner, you will find very enriching content to help you get closer to God and grow in holiness. For example, you could receive a morning prayer, a daily meditation, or a novena or a daily rendez-vous with St. Joseph.