Saint Joseph was a model father figure. He was a master craftsman, a worker and, most importantly, chosen by God to demonstrate manhood as foster father of the child Jesus. A secular interpretation of Matthew 1:19 alleges Joseph walked out on Our Lady, assuming she had committed adultery when he became aware of her pregnancy with the unborn Messiah.
This faithless theory fails to grasp the glorious reality of St. Joseph. Catholics commonly believe he was preserved from mortal sin by a unique grace from the Holy Spirit. Considering I bear the name of this blessed saint, I'd like to tell of an alternative interpretation the Church allows. It's commonly referred to as the Reverence Theory.
The Reverence Theory holds that Blessed Joseph never questioned Our Blessed Mother's purity. Though a visit from an angel did ultimately make him stay, this theory acknowledges that he wasn't leaving out of disgust, but rather, out of humility and reverence to God.
When Joseph heard the good news of his wife bearing the Messiah, he was overjoyed but felt unworthy. As a model father figure, he was necessarily a man of profound justice. Knowing Mary bore the Son of God, he felt obligated to leave her as she no longer belonged to him.
This view paints the foster father of Christ as a man worthy of cultivating the full spectrum of human masculinity always present in the divinized humanity of Christ. It's not unfair to say that being like St. Joseph is being Christlike. It is, unfortunately, fair to say the spirit of fatherhood is decaying in the United States.
Obviously, no one has a father figure of St. Joseph's caliber. What's sad, however, is that 1 in 3 American children live in homes with no biological father at all. Two-thirds of women, moreover, think dads can be replaced by moms or other men. So what does this assume? Did the Blessed Virgin not need St. Joseph? Did Jesus not need him? The assumptions made under this line of thought are deeply disturbing.
Fathers, like St. Joseph, are an absolute necessity in living the full human experience. Every child living life without the presence of a father is witnessing fallen human nature in action. Dads matter. This is why everyone, especially fathers, should be consecrating themselves to St. Joseph.
Father Donald Calloway's book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, offers 33 days of spiritual reading to do exactly that. If interested, anyone can purchase his book in our store here.
To learn more, watch today's episode of The Download — Missing Dads.