When I was 18, I prayed the novena to St Joseph for the intention of getting a husband of the Orlando Bloom variety. Yes, I know, 18 is childishly young, and at the time I yearned to be a teenage bride with a pale pink lace veil who would dance down the aisle to Chuck Berry’s It Was A Teenage Wedding (I’m not joking – those were my wedding plans).
At the time, it didn’t matter to me if the guy was Catholic or not, as long as he was extremely good-looking and had thick hair. Clearly, my priorities were in order. Needless to say, it did not come to pass and I am still unmarried. Thank you, St Joseph for unanswered prayers.
I did not, however, dare to offer the novena to St Joseph for a devastatingly handsome hubbie during my twenties.
Why ever not? My reason has ironically to do with the fact that I became more serious about my faith. Bear with me while I explain: during the decade-long time between 20 and 30 I heard quite a few men and women say that they prayed to St Joseph for a husband or wife, and that, yes, they got a husband or wife, and that St Joseph gave them what they asked for, but there was a splinter: namely that their spouse was not a Catholic and in some cases their life-mate was anti-Catholic.
I was quite put off praying to St Joseph because I didn’t think my nerves could stand someone who hated Mother Church. Listening to people who regretted marrying non-Catholics, I perceived that on balance, marrying someone who hated the Catholic Church was far worse than being single. I was afraid the same fate would befall me, finding someone and falling in love, but with a man who was contemptuous of the Church.
But time is a healer and many of the same non-Catholics (mentioned above) married to cradle Catholics have converted and become Catholic. It may be part of St Joseph’s master-plan that he pairs Catholics with non-Catholics so that the Catholic will influence the non-Catholic to convert. The splinter wears away in time, worn away by St Joseph, until things are smooth.
Given his track record of finding husbands and wives for men and women called to marriage, St Joseph’s feast day should really be celebrated on the same scale as St Valentine’s Day. If St Valentine’s Day is a metaphor for romance, then St Joseph’s day could be a metaphor for love and marriage.
February 14 is for bubbly wine and cheap chocolate hearts, but St Joseph’s feast day could become the day when there is a renewal of wedding vows, a time when the wedding dress is brought out and shown to the children (maybe the daughters can try it on) and a time to break out the best champagne. For some Catholics who prayed the novena for a spouse – and got the man/woman of their dreams – it could be a time of offering prayers of thanksgiving.
For the people who are looking for Mr Right or Miss Right, then offering the novena to St Joseph today would be optimum. If you start the novena now, you can finish in time for St Joseph’s feast day next Saturday.
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