A little-known devotion that honours Joseph’s joys and sorrows.
St. Joseph, while he never spoke a word in scripture, is one of the most beloved saints of Christianity. His silent example of obedient faithfulness is one that spoke much louder than any words.
Over the centuries there grew many different devotions to St. Joseph, expressing a deep filial love for the foster-father of Jesus. Among them was the powerful Seven Sundays devotion.
According to Salt and Light Media, “The story goes that two Franciscan monks who were shipwrecked at sea clung to a plank for two days, and were saved by a man of venerable appearance who miraculously brought them to shore. When they asked who he was, he replied, ‘I am Joseph, and I desire you to honor my seven sorrows and seven joys.’”
Whatever the origins may be, a devotion was developed where the seven sorrows and seven joys of Joseph became the focus of meditation on the seven Sundays preceding his feast on March 19. The first Sunday of these meditations is typically either the last Sunday of January or the first Sunday of February.
Below are the following joys and sorrows of St. Joseph, along with their respective passages in scripture. One approach to these Sundays is to read each passage and consider how Joseph would have felt in the situation. This is a form of lectio divina or “divine reading,” where you are able to put yourself into the scene and see Joseph’s expressions during each episode.
When praying the Seven Sundays devotion, it is customary to pray for a specific intention, asking St. Joseph’s powerful intercession for your needs.
Sorrow (Matthew 1:19) The Doubt of St. Joseph
Joy (Matthew 1:20) The Message of the Angel
Sorrow (Luke 2:7) The Poverty of Jesus’ Birth
Joy (Luke 2:10-11) The Birth of the Savior
Sorrow (Luke 2:21) The Circumcision
Joy (Matthew 1:25) The Holy Name of Jesus
Sorrow (Luke 2:34) The Prophecy of Simeon
Joy (Luke 2:38) The Effects of the Redemption
Sorrow (Matthew 2:14) The Flight into Egypt
Joy (Isaiah 19:1) The Overthrow of the Idols of Egypt
Sorrow (Matthew 2:22) The Return from Egypt
Joy (Luke 2:39) Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth
Sorrow (Luke 2:45) The Loss of the Child Jesus
Joy (Luke 2:46) The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple