According to a collection of various visions by mystics, when St Joseph died he was not very old. St. Joseph was worn out in strength and health after twenty years of hard work for his family, and the Lord now ordained that he was to spend his last eight years of life in illness and suffering, in order to increase his sanctity through the practice of patience and resignation. Mary therefore lovingly persuaded him to give up his work, which Jesus had been helping him to perform, often miraculously making it easier for him.
Now Mary gladly volunteered to support the family, as she had done in Egypt, by spinning and weaving linen and wool, with the help of a good and loyal woman friend. Consequently she often spent the greater part of the night at work, although Jesus sometimes enabled her to accomplish a great, deal in a short time.
During his last years St. Joseph suffered a series of fevers, violent headaches and a very painful rheumatism which made him weak and helpless. As Mary observed how he bore all his sufferings with humble patience and supernatural love, her affection and admiration for him increased every day, and she joyfully labored for his support and comfort. His greatest consolation was that she should prepare and serve his meals herself, and she often made special efforts to get him choice foods. She would often take off his shoes for him and support him with her arms and console him with kind and inspiring words.
During his last three years Joseph's illness grew worse, and Mary nursed him day and night. Several times she begged the Lord to let her take over her husband's suffering, and when his pains
were keenest she obtained her Son's permission to command them to cease for a while. She also ordered her angels to console St. Joseph, which they did by appearing to him in beautiful human
forms and speaking to him about God or by singing heavenly hymns for him. All this time Jesus also helped and encouraged His beloved foster father, whenever He was not engaged in His intensive
preparation for His public ministry.
Realizing one day that the hour of St. Joseph's death was very near, Mary went to her Son and said to Him:
"My Lord, I beseech Thee, let Thy servant Joseph's death be as precious in Thy sight as the uprightness of his life has been pleasing to Thee." And Jesus replied:
"My Mother, your request is granted, for the merits of Joseph are great. I will now assist him and will assign him so high a place among My people that he will be the admiration of angels
and of men. With no other human being shall I do as with your husband."
Then for nine days St. Joseph enjoyed the company of Mary or Jesus without interruption, and three times each day the angels comforted him with celestial music and invigorating
fragrances. On the eighth day he fell into an ecstasy that lasted twenty-four hours, during which he was shown clearly many divine Mysteries which he had believed by faith concerning the
Incarnation and the Redemption, and he was formally commissioned as the messenger of the Saviour to the patriarchs and prophets in Limbo.
When St. Joseph came out of this ecstasy, his face was shining with heavenly light, and he asked Mary to give him her blessing. But instead she indicated that Jesus should bless him, which He
did. Then Mary fell on her knees and begged her dying husband to bless her, and after he had done so she kissed his hand tenderly and affectionately. St. Joseph also implored her pardon for
all his deficiencies in serving her and requested her prayers in this hour of his death.
Then he spoke these last words to her:
"Blessed art thou among all women, Mary! May angels and men praise thee! And may the Name of the Lord be known, adored and exalted in thee through all the coming ages. I hope to see thee in
our heavenly home..."
And turning toward Jesus with profound reverence, St. Joseph tried in vain to kneel, but the Saviour gently took him in His arms, while Joseph said:
"My Lord and my God, give Thy blessing to Thy servant, and pardon the faults I have committed in Thy service. I give Thee my heartfelt thanks for having chosen me to be the husband of Thy
Mother! May Thy glory be my thanksgiving for all eternity. ..."
Jesus then lovingly blessed St. Joseph and said:
"My father, rest in peace and in the grace of My eternal Father, and bring to the saints in Limbo the joyful news of the approach of their redemption."
At these words, in the arms of Jesus, with Mary kneeling and weeping at his feet, in a room brightly lighted by hosts of angels, St. Joseph died a happy and peaceful death.
After Jesus had closed His foster father's eyes, Mary prepared his body for burial with the help of her angels, and as she did so, God enveloped it in a wonderful light, so that she could see
only Joseph's lifelike face. The body was wrapped in a white shroud and placed in a narrow bier, which was then carried to a fine tomb given to St. Joseph by a rich man. Only Jesus and a
few friends formed the funeral procession, together with a great number of resplendent angels.
© 2010 Mother of All Peoples.
This article was originally published by Mother of All Peoples and has been reproduced here with kind permission of them