How is a 30 days novena to St. Joseph different from a consecration to St. Joseph? Do they have different purposes?
How is a 30 days novena to St. Joseph different from a consecration to St. Joseph?
The timing of this question is great! Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph”.
With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.
In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
The basic differences between a pious consecration and a novena are quite simple.
A novena (from Latin: novem, "nine") is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity, consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days or weeks. The nine days between the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost, when the disciples gathered in the upper room and devote themselves to prayer, is often considered to be the first novena. - Novena
Traditionally novenas are prayers said for nine (9) consecutive days for a particular intention, such as finding lost objects (St. Jude), having someone’s health restored or asking for the reconciliation of sinners to the Church.
Nowadays, novenas can be for 30 days or even more.
A pious consecration is somewhat different. Such consecration may legitimately made in the honour of many saints.
Consecration is an act by which a person is dedicated to a sacred service, or an act which separates an object, location or region from a common and profane mode to one for sacred use. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments clarifies that in this context, "It should be recalled, however, that the term "consecration" is used here in a broad and non-technical sense: the expression is use of 'consecrating children to Our Lady', by which is intended placing children under her protection and asking her maternal blessing for them".
Consecration to the Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics has taken place from three perspectives: personal, societal and regional, and under a number of different titles: the Immaculate Conception, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or more recently to Mary, Mother of the Church. Early in the 20th century, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, called the "Apostle of Consecration to Mary", began a vigorous program of promoting consecration to the Immaculata.4 In Catholic teachings, consecration to Mary does not diminish or substitute the love of God, but enhances it, for all consecration is ultimately made to God. Theologian Garrigou-Lagrange designated personal consecration to Mary as the highest level among Marian devotions.
Pope John Paul II's motto, Totus Tuus (totally yours), reflected his personal consecration to Mary. He consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. - Consecration and entrustment to Mary
In consecrating oneself to we in effect asking ourselves to imitate the person of St. Joseph more closely in all aspects of like:
- One agrees to honour St. Joseph each day, praying to him daily.
- Promise to imitate St. Joseph’s virtues in our lives.
- Dedicate all we do to Jesus through the Foster Father of Our Lord.
Here follows an example of an Act of Consecration to St. Joseph:
Act of Consecration to St. Joseph
O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Church! O Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God! O Guardian and Virginal Father of the Word Incarnate! In the presence of Jesus and Mary, I choose you this day to be my father, my guardian, and my protector. O great St. Joseph, whom God has made the Head of the Holy Family, accept me, I beseech you, though utterly unworthy, to be a member of your “Holy House.” Present me to your Immaculate Spouse; ask her also to adopt me as her child. With her, pray that I may constantly think of Jesus, and serve him faithfully to the end of my life. O Terror of Demons, increase in me virtue, protect me from the evil one, and help me not to offend God in any way. O my Spiritual Father, I hereby consecrate myself to you. In faithful imitation of Jesus and Mary, I place myself and all my concerns under your care and protection. To you, after Jesus and Mary, I consecrate my body and soul, with all their faculties, my spiritual growth, my home, and all my affairs and undertakings. Forsake me not, but adopt me as a servant and child of the Holy Family. Watch over me at all times, but especially at the hour of my death. Console and strengthen me with the presence of Jesus and Mary so that, with you, I may praise and adore the Holy Trinity for all eternity. Amen.
A great question for the Year of St. Joseph.
Conescraton to St. Joseph
Fr. Donald Calloway's book Consecration to St. Joseph essentially is a 33 day Novena ending in a Consecration. He's the priest who is also wrote 33 Days to Morning Glory, which is an updated version of a the works of St. Louis DeMontfort leading to Total Marian Consecration.
According to the Militia Immaculata Marian Consecration is:
- an invocation;
- a request that she may deign to accept us as her property;
- a supplication that she may deign to make use of us to conquer other souls to her.
Consecration to St. Joseph is in the same vein, except with a special emphasis on St. Joseph qualities which complements his wife The Blessed Virgin Mary.
There are a number of formulations of consecration to St. Joseph in the book, reading the book and doing the 33-day's of spiritual exercises leading up to the consecration makes it all them more understandable to you when you get there.
St. Josephs' Thirty Day Novena
The 30-Day Novena to St. Joseph, which my wife's done an number of times for lots of reasons is a great novena, I think most pious folks consider it an inflatable novena. But basically it is just 30-days of prayers that reflect on the life and virtues of St. Joseph.
There are some wonderful insights in that book (and Fr. Calloway's book) so I'd recommend doing both this year!
They do have different purposes though, the novena is for a particular purpose (a prayer of petition) and the consecration is for interior conversion (a prayer of supplication).