As we look toward Father's Day celebrations, Colleen Mallette highlights her favorites among St. Joseph's fatherly qualities.
Father’s Day is around the corner, a day to celebrate fatherhood in our country. Just like on Mother’s Day, we honor not just dads, but grandfathers, big brothers, uncles, priests whom we call “Father,” and anyone else who fulfills a fatherly role for others. It is good to also give praise to the ultimate “Abba”: God, our loving Father, on this day.
In this Year of St. Joseph, it is only fitting that we praise and pray to the most beloved earthly father we have in the Bible. Joseph was chosen by God, just as Mary was, to raise Jesus and provide a necessary role as His father all the years they had together. God knew Joseph’s heart was good and that he would make a wonderful dad, husband and faithful leader of their family. Although we don’t know much about Joseph from the Bible (none of his words are documented!), there are a lot of wonderful qualities we can presume about him from what we do know. Due to this, it gives us many reasons to pray to him so he can help us grow in these qualities, to protect all families, and to intercede for us to his son Jesus.
If you haven’t already read Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, please try to before the year is over. You will learn so much about Joseph and develop a whole new appreciation and connection with him and the Holy Family.
Here are some of my favorite highlights from the Consecration book.
There is a Litany to St. Joseph that gives a beautiful list of the many titles he has and characteristics worth emulating. The Vatican Divine Worship Office just last month added seven new invocations to the Litany, bringing the total to 32. There are also many prayers worth learning to aid in turning to him on behalf of the men you love, the priests who serve us, and families around the world. I memorized the Hail Joseph prayer written by St. Louis de Montfort, which is similar to the Hail Mary, so that I could recite it after my daily Rosary.
Fr. Calloway explains that St. Joseph was most likely not an elderly man, as he is often depicted in artwork. He was probably older than Mary but only 20 or so when they married. He had to be relatively young to travel so rapidly to Egypt with a young family in tow, besides the three Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem annually and their treks to Bethlehem and back to Nazareth.
Due to the courageous, life-saving escape to Egypt, St. Joseph is the only human who can be called the “Savior of the Savior.” He is also, along with Mary, the only human who lived in perpetual Adoration, being in Jesus’ physical presence all of their years together. St. Joseph is the second highest saint worth praying to; he comes below Mary since she was Immaculate, but above all other saints since he lived with Jesus.
Joseph was a loving husband who respected and honored Mary’s virginity and chaste devotion to God. He took his responsibility of being head of the Holy Family so seriously he was named “Protector of the Holy Church” by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Mary and Jesus so adored Joseph that what we do know about him was lovingly shared with the disciples, who would not have met him but went on to record his actions with dignity and respect.
Joseph was so special to God that He spoke to him three times through his dreams. Joseph was such a faithful man that he listened and abided to the messages he received right away with complete obedience. After receiving the first message from an angel about following through with his marriage to Mary, Fr. Don commends Joseph for bravely changing his plans to quietly divorce her. He felt that Joseph did not think Mary had gotten pregnant from another man, but that Joseph truly believed Mary was divinely impregnated, but considered himself unworthy to be the earthly father to the Messiah. This humility and devotion to God is admirable.
As he is the “Light of Patriarchs,” let us turn to St. Joseph in prayer this Father’s Day as the ultimate example of fatherhood and leader of families. Let us recite the Litany in gratitude for all Joseph did to raise our Savior Jesus Christ in love and humility. Let us pray to the great carpenter to help rebuild the global house of God and sanctity of fatherhood and united families. And let us turn to St. Joseph more often as our spiritual father who loves us and wants the best for us, as he did for his own child.
Copyright 2021 Colleen Mallette
Image: Globetrotter19, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
About the Author
Colleen lives in Ohio and is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through CatholicMom.com. Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.