I was very pleased to receive recently an unusual statue as a gift. It is of sleeping St Joseph. I first came across this statue in the chapel of the SMA fathers near St Chrysostom’s Church.
Later I read that Pope Francis himself had a devotion to sleeping St Joseph. Speaking in Manila in 2015 Pope Francis said, about the statue:
“I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: pray for this problem!
Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong. But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act .”
Joseph slept and in his sleep and dreams he received guidance from God. Guidance to take Mary as his wife, guidance to go to Egypt for safety, and guidance to return home.
Wordly wisdom sometimes advises us to ‘sleep on’ a problem. As Christians, at times of difficulty and anxiety we are encouraged to pray, to seek others’ prayers and seek the prayers of the saints of God.
My statue of sleeping St Joseph is at my bedside. Like Pope Francis from time to time I leave a note under it. I ask him to pray for this problem!
A friend and I recently discussed this devotion. He, like many of us can be quite sceptical. He recently told me: “A few days ago, having gone to bed thinking about sleeping St Joseph, without any specific intention, I woke next morning with an awareness of something particular I should do as an act of care for a friend. In spite of a fleeting early morning reaction of ‘can I be bothered’ I followed the prompting- it was the right thing to do, powerfully so.”
Pray: Reflect on St Joseph sleeping. Think of your own concerns and anxieties, your own prayers. If you wish write them on a piece of paper and imagine placing it under a statue of sleeping St Joseph. Be still for a few moments then pray our Novena prayer.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil.
St Joseph, pray for us.