A family from Lyons, France, had a son who seemed destined to be their crown in the eyes of men and in the eyes of God. This pious young man felt himself called to leave the world and to consecrate himself to the Lord in the religious life. Hurt by this resolve, his parents fell into his arms, shedding so many tears and reproaching him so much that they succeeded in shaking his resolution; they secured at least a delay.
They then pushed him into the world in order to change his inclinations, and the young man too easily let himself fall into the trap. Very soon he neglected his religious observances, withdrew from the sacraments and surrendered to all kinds of licentiousness.
To escape from the shame of his scandals and from the reproofs of his parents, he left the country and enlisted in the army. His father and mother were grieved, overcome with remorse and sorrow; they scarcely dared to speak anymore to God after stealing from Him their child to hand him over to the devil. The thought occurred to them of addressing themselves to Saint Joseph in order to obtain at one and the same time their pardon and the conversion of their son. They began, therefore, a novena along with several pious persons and prayed most fervently.
They had hardly prayed a few days when the prodigal son knocked at the door of his father’s house and threw himself in tears at the feet of his parents. He was completely changed. The father and mother burst out into tears and embraced in forgiveness this ungrateful son who had become a Christian again. With him joy entered again under their roof. They owed it to Saint Joseph, and they rendered him solemn acts of thanksgiving.
The Glories of Saint Joseph, compiled by the Monks of Saint Joseph’s Abbey (Flavigny): Traditions Monastiques, 1997, pp.197-198.
Prayer to Saint Joseph
O Glorious patriarch Saint Joseph,
whose power can render possible even things which are impossible:
come to my aid in my present trouble and distress.
Take under thy protection the important and difficult affair which I entrust to thee,
that it may end happily: [ Pause - Petition ].
My beloved Father, all my confidence is in thee.
Let it not be said that I invoked thee in vain;
and since thou art able to obtain every thing before Jesus and Mary,
show me that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.