Before I begin, I ask that you please be careful not to pray the prayer I am going to quote. It is cruel and devoid of the love we should have for other humans whether living or dead. There are asterisks where St. Joseph’s name was in an effort to provide some distance from prayer when reading.
So, we are in a house hunt right now, and it has been rough, and it has been long. Last night, after looking at a house we loved we looked for a prayer to St. Joseph for buying a house. What I came across shocked me so bad I almost threw up.
Now, I know it is easy, as a Christian or a Catholic to pray prayers without thinking anything bad would be in them. I have shrugged things off before, or just skipped them. However, this was the very first result on google, so that means people know about this prayer, and it is a common one. I wanted to briefly talk about the problems with this so that you are equipped to explain why this prayer is NOT OK to say in ANY circumstances, I will also provide a couple of prayers to say instead.
********I am going to place you in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lordsuffered, until this [house/property] is sold. Then, *******, i swear before the cross and God Almighty, that i will redeem you and you will receive my gratitude and a place of honor in my home.”
1. I am going to place you in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lordsuffered
For anyone who doesn’t know, there is a tradition of burying a St Joseph statue to help sell a house. This prayer usually accompanies those statues. Technically, the Church has no ruling on them, but in this spirit of wishing suffering on St. Joseph, this is cruel. What Jesus suffered was monstrous and horrifying, how could we wish that kind of suffering on anyone, even our worst enemy, let alone this man who is described as so gentle and kind.
2. Until this house is sold
As Christians, we believe that all good things from God, but we do not believe He is a vending machine who must do whatever we tell Him. Even if He was, this is such a manipulative phrase. The prayer is threatening suffering to St. Joseph until they get what they want, like some sort of spiritual stick-up.
3. i swear before the cross and God Almighty,
I will let Jesus take this one:
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. g ~Matthew 5:33-37
4. that i will redeem you
On one level this is just a weird thing to say, but on a literal level, this is straight up blasphemy. St. Joseph is already redeemed. JESUS redeemed Him and we have literally no power to redeem anyone and to say we do is blasphemy(claiming to be God-which we are not.)
5. you will receive my gratitude and a place of honor in my home.
This one is somewhat a pet peeve of mine although not actual doctrine, I do not like to offer conditional promises to the saints. If you honor that saint, you honor that saint, don’t offer bribes to them. It is hard because that is a common thing people have done in the past, but I do not feel comfortable doing it, and I do not think it is wise to do. If I think of the saints as people instead of ideas to manipulate, it seems clear to me that no person would want to be treated that way. This is not a sales transaction.
Now that I have explained the issues with this prayer, you may be asking how this prayer became so popular, and what I can tell you from my search last night is that the most famous site propagating this was a home buying company using it to get attention for their sales. (DFW people: Watch out for this company, this is messed up.) The second most popular was a site selling St. Joseph “home selling kits.” These people are making a lot of money off of this prayer.
I don’t want to leave without a prayer you can say instead. I have two choices for you-one that I wrote myself that you are welcome to use and a traditional prayer that has been used as a novena to him for over a hundred years. Whichever feels best for you, you are welcome to use.
Traditional Prayer to St. Joseph
Over 1900 years old
Oh 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. Oh 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. Oh 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.
Prayer to St. Joseph for our Home
By Julia O’Donnell
Dear kind and gentle St Joseph, Foster Father to Jesus, and kind defender of His young Mother, you know the struggles of living in flight, in a humble place to stay, and even in hiding. I come to you today with my heavy heart, struggling with finding/buying:selling a house. I confide in you my struggles, and ask for your comfort in them. Please be a father to me now, and hold me as I walk through this valley. If it is God’s will for our family, please intercede for us to find/buy/sell our house, and to create a loving and secure home for our family. You know what it is like to long for a place to rest, please guide us to our own restful home. May you also lead us in a peaceful home life, and guide our family and all families to Peace Himself. May we work to ensure that all families experience peace, abundance, and love in their homes and everywhere they go. Thank you for everything that you are for us, father, friend, and guide.
I also attached a picture of a short prayer we could say to St. Joseph.
Thank you so much for reading, please share this with anyone you know who is using the above prayer, or just share the information. I pray that we will get to a point where no one would say this prayer ever again. ♥️