O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach you while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.
3 years ago, I opened up about my work troubles, about 3 specific people, to a stranger. He had posted something on a forum earlier and when I read it, I had found strength to go on. So, I wrote to let him know and to thank him.
Some months later, he wrote to me once more and told me about a St. Joseph novena he had said for workplace woes. It had brought amazing results for him. He had a feeling I would have need of it too.
I certainly did. St Joseph had been coming to me in the days before so when I saw the prayer, I knew it was for me. I was in deep suffering then due to the 3 vicious bullies. So, I plunged myself into the St. Joseph prayer.
At the end of the 9 day novena of it, I too received ‘results’. However, it was not the sunny outcome I had hoped for. Instead, something akin to satan’s whip lashed me and I suffered for it.
But I experienced 3 miracles as a direct result of that novena. I saw my own sin and for the first time and acknowledged it. God gave me His strength to carry my cross of hurt and humiliation. Mother Mary came silently one morning and gave me hope.
It’s been 3 years since that day. One of the three has been spectacularly removed from our company. It left behind 2 wound-ers – a superior and the other, a female colleague. For a while, despite the neverending woundings, life went on.
But yesterday, I responded to a minor situation with the female colleague, in a way I’m not proud of. It was a small thing and yet, I wish I could have done things differently.
I was upset with that person. I was now also upset with myself for my reaction. Worse, the incident brought back memories of rusted knives and forced me to face the towering mountain of old hurts caused by this woman. This is something I try not to revisit because the pain is bad and it makes my cross that much harder to bear.
Yet, here it was again. And I wept at the seeming futility of it all. 20 years of suffering, almost a year of enduring this specific type of cruelty. And no end in sight. At the same time, so much learning on how to endure in Christian faith, so many prayers and yet I didn’t seem to be spiritually progressing. I wasn’t scaling the mountains before me. I was still stumbling over roots.
Friday yesterday was supposed to be my Friday of atonement and reparation. God gave me one chance and I flubbed it spectacularly.
I alternated between crying out to heaven and clubbing myself. I asked for the woman to be consoled. But I asked that no consolation be given me.
Late at night, before turning in for the day, I went to my prayer nook.
The grinning Angel was waiting with a prayer for me. It was the old St. Joseph prayer of 3 years ago.
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, …
I was more than a little taken aback. What a time for this prayer to reappear, when work is becoming a problem again.
This morning, another Mother Mary Saturday, I beseeched Her aid but I didn’t know what I should be asking for. Reading the Readings of the day, I begged Her to speak to me through them. At the end, no breeze swept by my waiting heart.
Undeterred, I went to my prayer nook for the prayer of the day.
Imagine just how I felt to see the same St. Joseph prayer peeking back at me! In all my years of visiting this nook, I have never drawn the same prayer on consecutive days.
Suddenly, I was alert. Something was up. To come on Friday and then Saturday, it was a sign for me that both Jesus and Mother Mary were asking for this prayer to be said. From the chest of millions of prayers, They were asking for this one.
So, I recited it once more, sealing my heart to each line, yet not expecting anything beyond that I should be obedient to the call.
And this time, this second time, my heart saw a line I did not quite see yesterday.
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.
I didn’t know what to do, what to think.
So, I rose and left the house to run some errands. It was a beautiful golden blue day, the gentle, sun~blessed breezes bringing sweet notes of birdsong to my heart. As I drove, happily watching the green trees run past, it became very clear just what I needed of Mary.
Mother, take my sin of yesterday.
Take this garment of mine, the how’s and why’s of it.
Take it to Jesus.
Plead not on my behalf but let Jesus judge me fully and completely.
Then, bring me back His judgement.
Let it pierce me, really pierce me.
Let nothing stand between His Word and this piercing.
I stood and waited.
A tiny vine uncurled itself.
I forgive her.
I did not even pause to think. Neither did I have to tie myself to it. Immediately, I said the prayer, the words coming straight from my heart.
I forgive her
I discerned no change in me. No light, no sunburst, no burden lightened. But like the passing green trees, I let it go, not pausing to seek a reward for praying. I forgive her, I said once more, ready to say it over and over.
But before I could repeat it, the tiniest of roses, a pink one, misted before me.
I forgive myself