There are numerous reasons to have a devotion to St. Joseph. Among the many patronages associated with him he is considered the Patron of a Happy Death, provider of financial help, the patron of families, laborers, of the sick, of the poor, of travelers, terror of demons and conqueror of Hell, among just a few of the numerous. As I have endeared myself to this year dedicated to St. Joseph, I find myself contemplating frequently his patronage to fathers, families, and defender of the Catholic Church.
St. Joseph was Foster Father to Jesus and Spouse of Mary. He was head of the house; in charge of the care and well being of his wife and child, for their safety and progress on the pilgrimage in life. Now, granted, St. Joseph was in the presence of God and the Mother of God which must have been full of grace and consolation; nonetheless, there was tremendous responsibility. As discussed in my previous posts in these weekly devotionals, this required much time for contemplation as well as action on his part. To that end, as a father and husband all the more reason to turn to St. Joseph. We can do so in two respects. The first is to find time to quietly meditate on those scripture passages with St. Joseph. We allow ourselves, through Lectio Divina , to fall in between the lines and sit with Joseph at the workbench, after evening prayer, or on journey with Jesus and Mary. In these moments cultivate a friendship with him. Second, pray to Joseph in all your fatherly needs. As a father he knows our needs and can intercede for us.
St. Joseph is Head of the Holy Family and espoused as the Glory of Home Life. As we have true devotion to Jesus and Mary should we not also have true devotion to Joseph? Through prayerful devotion to Mary and Joseph our needs and prayers can be more readily brought to Jesus through them. Will Jesus deny the requests of his parents? Additionally, we can bring to Joseph our needs and desires as pertains to our families and this is not just for fathers. Mothers and children are also encouraged to nurture a relationship with St. Joseph. He desires to strengthen the family and so let us turn to him fervently to strengthen and guide our families according to his Son and the Church.
In 1847, Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed St. Joseph “Patron and Protector of the Universal Church.” As we continue to avail ourselves to the most Holy Sacraments, our parish communities and support of clergy and religious life, let us keep constant our prayers to God, through the Saints and St. Joseph to protect our church from the wickedness and snares of the devil. With religious liberty under assault we need to remain vigilant and devout to St. Joseph to give us the strength to stand strong and tall in the face of opposition. We pray that he may fortify the walls of that which we hold most dear. It is the Church that houses our families, the poor, the travelers, the dying. The church is our nourishment and respite on our earthly pilgrimage. It holds the aspirations for the journey beyond this life. Let us then lean on the mighty strength of St. Joseph for faith, hope, charity and guidance as we evangelize during our life time.
I encourage you to listen to this wonderful 8 minute homily given by Fr. Chad Ripperger, where he succinctly yet eloquently reflects on the power of devotion to St. Joseph and why it is so efficacious to nurture this devotion.