The role of the husband and father is, by God’s design, unique and irreplaceable. But in our troubled times, we are experiencing a crisis of manhood and fatherhood. God continues raising up men to the holy vocations of husband and father—yet many do not know what it means to be a man, let alone a true husband and father, according to God’s designs.
St. Joseph is a powerful guide and companion for men aspiring to holiness in these vocations. His life is a testimony to his power as an intercessor for husbands and fathers.
After all, to be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the earthly father of Christ, was the greatest mission ever given to any man. Since God’s graces correspond to the unique calling He has for each of us, St. Joseph must have received the most incredible graces. This allowed him to participate fully in the fulfillment of God’s will for all mankind.
Here are four lessons that men can learn from St. Joseph as they seek to live out God’s plan for spousal and fatherly love.
1. Be a guardian and protector.
St. Joseph was protector and guardian to Our Lady and Jesus. He took Mary to be his wife despite the mysterious circumstances of her pregnancy. He brought the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus to Egypt to escape the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. He returned them to their homeland when all was safe, in order to fulfill the prophecy of Sacred Scripture.
It is God’s design that husbands and fathers be guardians and protectors, accepting the manly role entrusted to them. They are called to guard their wives and children: physically, spiritually, morally, and emotionally.
Many dangers threaten the family in a society which has largely emasculated men. Whatever the message of the world may be, God has given husbands and fathers special authority for a purpose. He has called them to serve courageously as guardians and protectors of the family—the domestic church-—just as St. Joseph did.
2. Accept the gift of God’s plan for your vocation.
God intended for spousal love to model the love of Christ for His Bride, the Church. Fatherhood is meant to be the earthly reflection of His covenantal love for us as His children.
St. Joseph recognized these gifts and their Giver. A greater gift had never been entrusted to any other man. And because Joseph was docile to the designs of God, the Son of God grew, thrived, lived among us, and fulfilled God’s plan for our salvation. Joseph laid down his life (in humble obscurity) at the service of God, his family, and ultimately, the world.
Marriage and fatherhood are sublime gifts from God—but family life is far from perfect. It requires us to accept many things that are unexpected, and sometimes unwanted.
Joseph let go of his own expectations for spousal love and fatherhood. He yielded those to God, and God granted him true peace as he accomplished what God intended.
When a husband and father places his whole being at God’s disposal, like St. Joseph did, he is able to see these gifts within the spiritual realm—not just as the present earthly reality. He can guide his wife and children to heaven in fulfillment of God’s plan. He can live the gift of his vocation more fully, and receive the peace that comes from resting in the will of God.
3. Live in fidelity to God.
Joseph was a man of deep faith. He longed for the arrival of the promised Messiah.
Because of his incredible faith, he was able to act in obedience to God even in the most confounding circumstances. He fully trusted and believed—and God endowed him with graces commensurate with his faith and obedience. In this way, he received the wisdom and other gifts he needed to lead Mary and Jesus as the spiritual head of the Holy Family.
Today’s husbands and fathers need strong faith to meet the challenges and perils of our world, especially in leading their families.
St. Joseph’s life demonstrates how complete fidelity to God facilitates obedience; strengthens faith; and brings graces to the whole family.
4. Seek the Lord in Silence.
Silence characterized the life of St. Joseph.
The Annunciation, Incarnation, and Nativity were all cloaked in silence. In the silent space of prayer, we find God waiting for us. Speaking, teaching, and calming us. In silence He guides us. There we discover the intimate, personal nature of God’s love for us. In prayerful silence we maintain our own two-fold vision of life: that is, from our Savior we learn to embrace both heaven and the Cross.
If husbands and fathers seek God in silence and prayer, away from the commotion of the world, they will be strengthened. Then, like St. Joseph, they will come to recognize more of God’s generosity than they ever imagined.
Husbands and fathers: Go to Joseph!
The Church has begun to teach that our current day, especially, is the time of St. Joseph.
This is no coincidence.
In these troubled times, the role of husband and father is absolutely essential to society. St. Joseph is a model and guide for all men living these vocations. He can accompany them, strengthening them to confront the perils that threaten family life today.
He is known by many names that reflect his spiritual fatherhood and role in salvation history: Protector of Families, Mirror of Patience, Model of Husbands and Fathers, Glory of Home Life, Terror of Demons, and Head of the Domestic Church, to name a few.
Do not doubt that St. Joseph will come to aid you in your time of need. His intercession is powerful before the throne of God. He is a spiritual father, a powerful companion and guide. St. Joseph is the loving, human image of the fatherhood of God.
Ite ad Joseph, goes the Latin saying. Go to Joseph! Ask for his intercession.
A Prayer to St. Joseph for Husbands and Fathers
St. Joseph, chaste spouse of Mary and protector of Jesus, your life was the loving fulfillment of sacred duty in your vocation. Protect all husbands and fathers who trust in you. Accompany them in their struggles and hardships. Surround them with your loving presence. Grant them the wisdom to live their vocations as God intends. Obtain for them the peace of soul that comes from resting in the will of God. Bring them into divine intimacy with Our Lord and Our Lady amidst the worries of this earthly life. Bless their wives and children with a loving family life. Reveal Jesus to them as they faithfully lead their families, and remain with them as a spiritual father, now and forever. Amen.
St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, pray for us!
How has St. Joseph played a role in your life?
How has he interceded for you?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!