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 contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach 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. Amen.
This prayer is sometimes printed with the following information: This prayer was found in the fifteenth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, nor shall poison take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle. Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail.
|photo credit: JS Online|
In the middle of February I had been blessed to take a Monday off from work and planned on spending it with my daughter who was off from school that day. I'm usually up and dressed by 5 am but since I had the day off I was enjoying a leisurely morning and was still lounging in my pajamas at 6:30 am when the phone rang. My son, Joe, was on the other end and I listened, not quite believing what I was hearing, when he said, "Mom, my apartment is on fire and we're trapped on the balcony!" I took a second or two to absorb the obvious panic is his voice as he shared this horrific news and then asked him if he had called 911, which he had. I told him I was on my way. Mary and I quickly dressed and drove to Joe's apartment as fast as we safely could, praying all the way.
We had to park three blocks away because the street was closed by the police. We ran most of those three blocks until I couldn't run anymore. There were multiple fire trucks on the scene when we arrived. We went to the back of the building where we expected to find Joe still on the balcony but all we found was a solitary police man. My panic was evident and he reassured me that everyone had gotten out of the building safely and that they were all re-located to the apartment building next door.
|the ladder in back is leaning on Joe's balcony|
Tears of relief were flowing from everyone's eyes as we found Joe and his girlfriend, Cici, and embraced them. We looked around and saw so many people looking completely dazed and many dogs and even a bird among the residents who had been displaced from their homes. Joe had said that he woke up when he smelled smoke and then woke Cici. They saw flames coming into their apartment door and the room was so smokey that they couldn't find the cats. Had they not had the balcony to escape to I don't think they would have survived. We were greatly relieved when the firefighters brought both of Cici's cats, one by one, safely back to her. The cats were shaking badly and needed a little oxygen and anti-nausea medication at the vets, but both are fine.
What a blessing it was to be on the receiving end of other's generosity and kindness! Joe and Cici were showered with support that will be of great assistance to them as they work to rebuild a home and replace all of their belongings. But the greatest blessing of all was that they survived the fire physically unscathed.
I completely credit St. Joseph with saving their lives. As we were driving home later that day Mary said she was thinking about St. Joseph and how the angel woke him up so that he could take Mary and Jesus and escape from Herod to Egypt. She said she had a feeling that it was St. Joseph who woke Joey up so that he and Cici could escape the fire. I didn't realize the powerful providence behind Mary's gut feeling that day.
The following week as I was waiting to pick Mary up from work, I pulled one of my prayer books out of my purse and found the Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph. I don't know why I even looked at that prayer, what brought me to that page out of all the pages in the book at that time. Maybe it was St. Joseph who tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I want to show you something." When Joe was still living at home he had this prayer taped to the wall by his bed and he prayed it every morning. But even if Joe might have forgotten about St. Joseph when he grew up and moved away, St. Joseph did not forget about him. When I read all the way down to the last sentence below the prayer and saw "nor be burned in any fire" I was stunned! Mary was right! St. Joseph obviously has a love for this young man named after him, this young man who had a youthful devotion to his patron saint.
I will be thanking St. Joseph for saving Joe's and Cici's lives for all of my days. He truly is powerful with God and a perfect patron for Joe! I'd been neglecting St. Joseph and that prayer but I won't anymore! He is officially my hero!
|the stairs leading to their apartment after the fire|