The Universal Church is celebrating the solemnity of St Joseph on this Monday, March 20th This great silent saint who shared his life with the two holiest figures in entire history, Jesus and Mary.
This man, whom the Church rightly calls him Glorious Patriarch and her Patron Saint, Joseph, the Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mary, God’s Mother, Joseph, the Faithful Guardian and Virginal Father of Jesus, the Word Incarnate. If he was so faithful to God’s plan to care, protect and accompany Jesus and Mary, who are we not to call him on board to be our protector?
It is so wise and necessary to consecrate ourselves to St Joseph. As Pope St John Paul II said:
This patronage [of St. Joseph] must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to re-evangelization in those lands and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and now are put to hard test.
If the act of consecration means that we dedicate ourselves to God for a divine purpose, we would do well to consecrate ourselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ himself through the very person who took great care of Him while he lived here on earth. Having St Joseph on our side we can splendidly respond to God’s unfailing and flowing grace in our lives.
In this I am constantly reminded by what Father Donald Calloway wrote in his inspiring book Consecration to St. Joseph:
The person who consecrates himself to St. Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness, his loving attention, protection, and guidance.
According to the Spanish mystic the Venerable Mary of Agreda, there are seven privileges which devotion to St Joseph gives us: first, acquiring the virtue of purity; second, procuring powerful intercession to escape sin; third increasing love and devotion to Mary; fourth, securing the grace of a happy death; fifth fighting off demons with the mention of his name; sixth, gaining health of body and assistance in difficulties, and seventh, securing children in families.
Certainly, St Joseph holds a privileged place. Pope Leo XIII tells us that no saint has approached so closely the Virgin Mary’s holiness as St Joseph: By its very nature, [the conjugal union] is accompanied by a reciprocal communication of the goods of the spouses. If then God gave St. Joseph to Mary to be her spouse, he certainly did not give him merely as a companion in life, a witness of her virginity, a guardian of her honor, but he made him also participate by the conjugal bond in the eminent dignity which was hers.
Furthermore, as Father Calloway writes, Saint Joseph is the greatest saint in the Kingdom of Heaven because God predestined him for that position. He and only he had the privilege as well as the responsibility to be called “father” by the Son of God while he lived here on earth. Only Joseph was to love, command and educate the God-made-Man. In so doing, Joseph earned the role of being the patron of the Church and our spiritual father.
St Joseph was a real father to Jesus because he exercised a fatherhood toward Jesus that was authoritative, affectionate, and faithful how can he not be our spiritual father. Joseph is there for you and me to spiritually feed, shelter, clothe, educate, protect, and correct us.
That is why it is a great privilege to have a great intercessor as St Joseph. From her own experience, St Teresa suggests to you and me: I would wish to persuade everyone to honor him with particular devotion. I have always seen those who honored him in a special manner make progress in virtue, for this heavenly protector favors in striking manner the spiritual advancement of souls who commend themselves to him.
Let us then consecrate ourselves to St Joseph daily, thanks to his powerful prayer:
O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Church! O Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God! O Guardian and Virginal Father of the Word Incarnate! In the presence of Jesus and Mary, I choose you this day to be my father, my guardian, and my protector.
O great St. Joseph, whom God has made the Head of the Holy Family, accept me, I beseech you, though utterly unworthy, to be a member of your “Holy House.” Present me to your Immaculate Spouse; ask her also to adopt me as her child. With her, pray that I may constantly think of Jesus, and serve him faithfully to the end of my life. O Terror of Demons, increase in me virtue, protect me from the evil one, and help me not to offend God in any way.
O my Spiritual Father, I hereby consecrate myself to you. In faithful imitation of Jesus and Mary, I place myself and all my concerns under your care and protection. To you, after Jesus and Mary, I consecrate my body and soul, with all their faculties, my spiritual growth, my home, and all my affairs and undertakings.
Forsake me not, but adopt me as a servant and child of the Holy Family. Watch over me at all times, but especially at the hour of my death. Console and strengthen me with the presence of Jesus and Mary so that, with you, I may praise and adore the Holy Trinity for all eternity. Amen.