Solemnity of St. Joseph

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  March 19, 2019   

Pope Benedict XVI to fathers: Take St. Joseph as your model

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As fatherhood withers under the attacks of Satan and his minions, Holy Mother Church is encouraging all fathers to take St. Joseph as their exemplar and patron.

While broken homes and fatherless children are the norm today, popes continually uphold St. Joseph as the remedy. In a 2009 homily preached during an apostolic journey to Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI urged all fathers to take St. Joseph as their guide. On the feast of St. Joseph that year, Benedict gave fathers the following directive:

Once more, I wish to extend a particular word of encouragement to fathers so that they may take Saint Joseph as their model. He who kept watch over the Son of Man is able to teach them the deepest meaning of their own fatherhood. In the same way, each father receives his children from God, and they are created in God's own image and likeness. Saint Joseph was the spouse of Mary. In the same way, each father sees himself entrusted with the mystery of womanhood through his own wife. Dear fathers, like Saint Joseph, respect and love your spouse; and by your love and your wise presence, lead your children to God where they must be.

Fathers are currently abandoning their families in untold numbers. The great St. Joseph, however, was so dedicated to his family that he merited to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. In a homily delivered in March of 1969, Pope Paul VI spoke of this dedication that fathers so need to imitate:

So St. Joseph was a "committed" man, as we might say nowadays. And what commitment! Total commitment to Mary, the elect of all the women of the earth and of history, always his virgin spouse, never his wife physically, and total commitment to Jesus, who was his offspring only by legal descendance, not by the flesh. He had the burdens, the responsibilities, the risks and the labors surrounding the holy family. His was the service, the work, the sacrifice, in the shadows of that gospel picture in which we love to meditate on him; and we are certainly not mistaken, for we all know him now and call him Blessed.

Watch the panel discuss the remedy to lost fatherhood in The Download—Solemnity of St. Joseph.

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