November | Prepared for Death
Terror of Demons and Patron of the Dying
Our special Year of St. Joseph is drawing to a close. It is fitting in this last month of November - the month in which we pray in particular for the Poor Souls in Purgatory - that we reflect on St. Joseph as the Patron of the Dying and the Terror of Demons.
Death. We may not think about it much. We may even avoid the topic. It can conjure up fear, disturbing mind and heart. But death is a part of life, though not an easy part. Like St. Joseph, we will all face death, and we will face the death of people we love.
Sometimes St. Joseph is called the patron of a “happy” death. Jesus and Mary were sad at Joseph’s death. They had to be! There is great sadness where there is great love! There is sorrow for those left behind. Love desires union, but death pulls apart. However, only for a time for those who die in the Lord. So what is “happy” about Joseph’s death? Jesus and Mary were present. Joseph died contemplating their faces. He died in their embrace. What more blessed death could there be?
We may shrink from it, but it is good to often think about our own death, that our lives will end one day. We need to be honest about our mortality. These reflections can move us to live such a life that, no matter when we face death, we will be prepared to meet God. St. Joseph wants us to die a happy and holy death in the Lord the way he did. Each month over the past year we’ve reflected on virtues of St. Joseph. He has shown us how to prepare for death by a life of: prayer, humility, chastity, fortitude, silence, loyalty, prudence, industriousness, obedience, justice, patience, trust, faith, hope, and love; by fulfilling the responsibilities of our life; by embracing the will of God. If we are faithful to the end, we will die with peace in our soul under the protection of Joseph and Mary. We will draw our last breath in the friendship of God.
St. Joseph is our personal patron because each of us will face death. Let us ask Joseph to help us to be prepared for death, and to be with us at the hour of death, as we ask Mary to be, that we may obtain the grace to die in peace in the arms of the Lord. Besides being Patron of the Dying, St. Joseph is also called the Terror of Demons. Satan and evil spirits are not a myth. They are real. The truth is we are in a spiritual battle. In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read: Be sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith, realizing that the brotherhood of believers is undergoing the same sufferings throughout the world.” After Mary, demons fear St. Joseph the most because he is the chaste spouse of Mary Immaculate and the father of Jesus Christ. Again and again St. Joseph thwarted the evil efforts of demons by promptly doing the will of God. He was ever ready to protect and fight for Jesus and Mary. He is always ready to fight for us. We join the title Terror of Demons with that of Patron of the Dying because a last spiritual battle takes place over a soul at the hour of death. Satan knows it’s his last chance to tempt a soul to despair and turn away from God. This is why it is so important to train for this decisive moment by practicing virtue daily, like the athlete who prepares for competition. As a serious runner would not hope to win a marathon without following a wise training plan for months beforehand, we should not risk the loss of eternal life because of a “flabby” soul unprepared for spiritual battle.
This is why we need our spiritual father and patron, St. Joseph. If we ask his aid, he will help us say “yes” to God moment-by-moment. He will help us live a life of virtue. He will strengthen us and protect us. He will fill us with trust in God’s mercy and love. In times of great sadness, in times of fear and anxiety, in times of danger and of temptation, however great or small, turn to your spiritual father. Run to St. Joseph. He will hold precious your tears of grief. He will strengthen your whispered hope. He will fight for you. And he will beg peace for your soul.
Good St. Joseph, help me be mindful of the Poor Souls this month and to remember the dying. Please show me, through your prayer and example, how to prepare for my final moment that I may live and die in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, safe forever from the snares of the Enemy.
Votive Mass | November 3rd
A Consecration to St Joseph
Ideally, families and groups could organize themselves to make the consecration together. Fr. Calloway’s book includes material for six weeks of group meetings leading up to the consecration. On the final day a simple ceremony could be planned where the group recites the consecration prayer together led by their pastor or parochial vicar following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
To make a 33-day consecration, we recommend that you use the new book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC.
The chart below lists suggested dates for making the consecration during the Year of St. Joseph
|START DATE||FEAST DAY||CONSECRATION DAY|
|February 15, 2021||Solemnity of St. Joseph||March 19, 2021|
|March 30, 2021||St. Joseph the Worker||May 1, 2021|
|April 11, 2021||Our Lady of Fatima||May 13, 2021|
|July 20, 2021||Our Lady of Knock||August 21, 2021|
|September 30, 2021||All Saints||November 1, 2021|
|November 25, 2021||Holy Family||December 27, 2021|