By Roxane B. Salonen
But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
When our children were little, after a chaotic day, seeing them sleeping soundly put my own weary heart at instant ease. I find the same in gazing upon “Sleeping St. Joseph,” often depicted in small statues of Jesus’ foster father at rest.
Pope Francis has invited us to discover the quiet depth of this holy father by declaring 2021 the Year of St. Joseph. My husband and I became interested in St. Joseph in March 2019 while preparing for his second open-heart surgery. In the month we honor St. Joseph, we turned to this great saint in our distress.
Discovering the Abundant Richness
A year later, when the pandemic hit, we felt called to dive more deeply into the riches of St. Joseph and found Fr. Calloway’s book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. It blessed us abundantly during a time of consternation and confusion. We can never thoroughly mine all the lessons our precious saints offer.
Recently, “Sleeping St. Joseph” has summoned me awake once again, offering another layer to ponder. Pope Francis shares and encourages others to adopt his endearing practice of writing down prayer requests and slipping them under the statue of St. Joseph in repose.
An Invitation that Disarms
The vulnerability of St. Joseph asleep disarms our hesitation in approaching him. We know to be restful, we must be trusting. In times of anxiety and lack of trust, sleep often eludes. One finds consolation in gazing on St. Joseph asleep, knowing we, too, can leave our cares to God.
Additionally, though we as humans need rest to replenish, God never sleeps. Even as we sleep, God works quietly, deftly, in our souls. We might not be given divine, prophetic instructions like St. Joseph in dreams, but we can be assured that as we rest, God brings restoration.
St. Joseph, help us awaken to the aliveness of the faith, and through the mercy of your foster son, Jesus. St. Joseph, pray for us.
Call to Action
What petitions would you want to bring to Sleeping St. Joseph today? Write them down and present them to the saint—whether placing them near a picture, a statue of him, or simply in your imagination. And know that just as St. Joseph found solutions and resolve in his dreams, through God’s help, he will pray for you while you rest.
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Image: The Dream of Saint Joseph, by Philippe de Champaigne.