Co-Written by Michael Adams and Monika Culjak
Sometimes it can be hard to navigate your relationship with the saints, especially Mary and St. Joseph. Why should we have a special devotion to them instead of going directly to Jesus? Simply put, Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are a family unit. There was no one on Earth who spent more time with Jesus than His parents. They were the very ones to feed, cloth, teach, play, and pray with Jesus. The closer we get to His parents, the closer we get to Jesus! To Jesus through Mary and Joseph!
Though not his biological father, St. Joseph was Jesus’ earthly father. He was chosen by God the Father to stand in His place in accordance with Jesus’ human nature. By adding St. Joseph into the picture, the Holy Family became a representation of the Holy Trinity. Just as you are called to relationship with the Holy Trinity, so are you called to its replica! And that includes St. Joseph. Right under Mary, he is the greatest saint there is! He is another spiritual father - one that leads you straight to his Son. He is a wonderful model for loving Jesus (and Mary), a saint both men and women can look too!
Just a Man
Mirror of Patience. Zealous Defender of Christ. The Terror of Demons. These are just a handful of the many nicknames given to St. Joseph over the years. God chose Joseph to bear the image of God the Father to Jesus because He knew Joseph was capable. This doesn’t mean Joseph was a perfect man with unattainable holiness though.
As Pope Saint John Paul II said, “Saint Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care.”
I want to focus here on the phrase “just a man.” When we look at Jesus and Mary, it would be wrong of us to say that we could achieve the level of holiness they had due to the mere facts that Jesus is God and that Mary was born without sin. Joseph though was born a simple man no different from the rest of us. So how do we turn our simple lives into a life that terrifies demons?
Joseph passionately devoted himself to his labor and worked a tough, physically gruelling job of carpentry. At the time this was humble work, but he didn’t find his own worth in his status and success. In today’s culture we are often tempted to look to the richest and most successful for example a fulfilled life. To combat this we can consider the example of when Joseph leads his family to Egypt to protect them. He gives up his client base, all of his reputation, and puts the wellbeing of his family before the wellbeing of his status and success. This is the kind of man Joseph was. A passionate husband, father, and protector.
As a husband, Joseph allows Mary to be all that she is without jealousy or envy. He embraces her role and understands the importance of her in the story of salvation. Even to the point of maintaining his virginity! He doesn’t make her a passive pawn in the structure of their family. No, he lets her be a part of the journey, while gently loving and guiding her through the turbulence they encountered. How often men feel threatened by powerful women in their life. Joseph shows that powerful women are to be celebrated not shamed.The family is a unit, the mother and the father a team, Joseph leads by example how we as men can allow the women in our life to feel needed, desired, and loved.
Lastly, God entrusted his son Jesus to him and this is a task that Joseph does not take lightly. A core question that every son looks to his father for the answer is “what is a man?” Most struggles men go through can be traced back to the root of an insecurity in their own masculinity. Joseph not only leads by example from a distance, but invites Jesus into his life so that he can find this answer. The example Joseph set, alongside his investment in Jesus, empowered the human nature of Jesus to be the man he needed to be. If you crave the answer to the question in your heart of what a man is, look no further than to Joseph to find that answer to what a man is in your heart. If God entrusted Joseph with being the example of what it means to be a man for the human nature of Jesus, we can trust that when we follow his example we are being the man God created us to be.
A True Woman’s Man
It is every woman’s deepest desire to be delighted in - to be loved deeply. Our deepest wounds often come from lacking this feeling, leaving us to fill them in worldly ways. Maybe it was things that your father did (or did not say) that made you begin to feel like that in the first place. Maybe it was the men in your life that walked away from you, breaking your heart. Whatever it is, each and every woman can look to St. Joseph. He is the Mirror of Patience, the Pillar of Families, and the Comfort of the Afflicted. What a sweet balm that is for the ears of a wounded woman! A man who is patient, understanding, and protecting. St. Joseph is all that and more. He is not just another saint, he is the greatest saint right under Mary. Everything he was for the Holy Family, he wants to be for you.
Just as God the Father entrusted his Beloved Son to St. Joseph, so does He want to entrust you to him too. His spiritual fatherhood has been planned for all of eternity. His paternal care was delicately crafted to be an earthly reflection of the Father’s heavenly care. Though he cannot replace God Himself, God wants St. Joseph to play as much of a role in your life as he did in Jesus’. Just as he was Jesus’ father, so is he yours. And everything that your biological father isn’t, St. Joseph is. If you find yourself battling those wounds which were caused by your father, let St. Joseph in. All that he was for Jesus on earth, he also wants to be for you in Heaven. He zealously defended and protected his family at all costs, taking care of the precious jewels entrusted to him. He loved his family to his very death, never denying them the very best he could give. And even now, his paternal mission continues with you, his spiritual daughter.. His mission is not finished until all his spiritual children are safely home with his Son - and he never grows weary of it. He wants to watch over you, and to carry you to his loving Son.
St. Joseph is also an example which all men in your life should imitate. After having witnessed a saint like him, we know men can live up to a much higher standard. Right now, we live in a “swipe right” culture - one where it is acceptable to use the opposite sex emotionally and physically. Yet, do we ever feel full with these kinds of relationships? No. We often find ourselves hungering even more than before. We are all seeking authentic and pure love, one which imitates the Father’s love for us. And there is no better reflection of this than marriage between Mary and St. Joseph. St. Joseph delighted in Mary so much that he sacrificed his entire life for her. He loved her so much that he died to himself to keep her the pure Mother that God had desired her to be. Without asking for anything in return, St. Joseph cared for Mary as a gentleman should. He treated her like a treasure. And that is what you deserve too. Real men wait. Real men will treat you with the utmost respect. Real men will lead you closer to who God has called you to be. These men imitate St. Joseph. And who better to be the father of your future family? Don’t be afraid to raise men to St. Joseph’s standard. Pray that through his intercession, they reach for it!
Can’t get enough of St. Joseph?
Interested in learning more? Want to entrust yourself to St. Joseph’s special patronage? Consider consecrating yourself to this boss of a saint! Checkout the link below for the book (we listed the cheapest option out there for you too):