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Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries with St. Joseph


Waiting For The Word | CC BY 2.0

Fr. Edward Looney - published on 05/04/21

While Joseph was no longer alive when Jesus suffered, we can go deeper in the Passion by thinking of Jesus' father.

During Lent, many people prayed the Stations of the Cross with St. Joseph. While St. Joseph did not participate in the passion and death of Jesus, as he had already passed away, we could meditate with his insights in this his Jubilee Year.

Despite his absence, Joseph’s presence in the life of Jesus could be connected to each station, and his intercession could be implored. St. Joseph formed and taught Jesus throughout his childhood. 

So too, as we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries, we pray with the connection between Jesus’ childhood, his relationship with his father, and his passion.   

Agony in the Garden

Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane gives us insight into His prayer to the Father. Jesus prays asking the Father to let the cup of suffering pass if it should be His will. In his formative years as a youth, St. Joseph taught and modeled prayer for Jesus. 

As you pray this mystery, reflect on how St. Joseph prayed during times of struggle and how he modeled prayer for Jesus in the home at Nazareth. 

Scourging at the Pillar

Beaten and whipped. Jesus’ blood falls to the ground. The pavement becomes drenched in red. Throughout his life with Joseph, Jesus shed his own blood: In infancy during Jesus’ circumcision. Perhaps when Jesus had a cut or abrasion from an accident. The wounds Jesus suffers become the healing balm for humankind. 

As you pray this mystery, reflect on Joseph’s interactions with Jesus in his childhood. Imagine a time when Joseph had to attend to and heal the wounds of Jesus. 

Crowning with Thorns

Crowned with thorns, Jesus is mocked by those who do not understand the Kingdom of God. Jesus comes from the royal family of the Davidic tribe. Magi and shepherds recognized his kingship in the presence of St. Joseph and Mary. 

As you pray this mystery, reflect on how St. Joseph understood the future kingship of Jesus.

Carrying of the Cross

The carrying of the cross after His condemnation mirrors the crosses the Holy Family endured throughout their life. The cross of suffering befell the Holy Family as they left their home and fled into Egypt. They carried the weight of suffering just as Jesus now carries the weight of our sins on his shoulders. 

As you pray this mystery, reflect on crosses that St. Joseph had to pick up in his daily life for cooperating with the will of God. 


Jesus nailed to the cross and raised above the earth speaks to those below him. He prays a few phrases from the Psalms. He forgives those who tormented Him. And he entrusts Mary to the care of St. John. From whom did Jesus learn forgiveness and care for his mother? None other than St. Joseph. 

As you pray this mystery, reflect on the care and compassion Jesus has for his mother Mary. Imagine the homelife of Nazareth where Jesus observed the love of Joseph for his wife. 

Concluding the Rosary

Pope Leo the XIII in his 1889 encyclical Quamquam pluries recommended to the faithful during the month of October to end the rosary with a prayer to St. Joseph. This prayer can be added at any time. After praying the Hail Holy Queen and any other prayers you add, why not close with this recommended prayer to St. Joseph? 

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

RosarySaint Joseph
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