His sorrow when he saw Jesus born in poverty;
his joy when the angels announced Jesus' birth.
O most blessed patriarch, glorious Saint Joseph,
who were chosen to be the foster father
of the Word made flesh,
your sorrow at seeing the child Jesus
born in such poverty
was suddenly changed into heavenly exultation
when you heard the angelic hymn
and beheld the glories of that resplendent night.
By this sorrow and this joy,
we implore you to obtain for us
the grace to pass over from life's pathway
to hear angelic songs of praise
and to rejoice in the shining splendor
of celestial glory.
Reading Lk 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
"Journeying to Bethlehem for the census in obedience to the orders of legitimate authority, Joseph fulfilled for the child the significant task of officially inserting the name ‘Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth' (cf. Jn 1:45) in the registry of the Roman Empire. This registration clearly shows that Jesus belongs to the human race as a man among men, a citizen of this world, subject to laws and civil institutions, but also ‘Savior of the world.'" 5
"As guardian of the mystery hidden for ages in the mind of God, which begins to unfold before his eyes ‘in the fullness of time,' Joseph, together with Mary, is a privileged witness to the birth of the Son of God into the world on Christmas night in Bethlehem. . . .
"Joseph was an eyewitness to this birth, which took place in conditions that, humanly speaking, were embarrassing-a first announcement of that ‘self-emptying' (cf. Phil 2:5-8) that Christ freely accepted for the forgiveness of sins. Joseph also witnessed the adoration of the shepherds, who arrived at Jesus' birthplace after the angels had brought them the great and happy news (cf. Lk 2:15-16). Later he also witnessed the homage of the magi who came from the East (cf. Mt 2:11)." 6
Here the Litany of St. Joseph (p. 543 f.) may be prayed, as a conclusion. Or the following prayer may be said.
V. Pray for us, blessed Joseph,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
in your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. GR, 9.
6. GR, 10.