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Our Forgotten Father: Joseph, the Silent Saint

Our world has never needed a father more than now. Our shepherds are not merely absent to their spiritual children, but also often part of the pack of wolves devouring souls. Many young people are tragically confused about their sexual identity. Parents have no idea how to be sacrificial spouses. Fortunately, we have no need to despair. The greatest human father who ever lived is with us now. He has quietly waited until he was needed more than ever. St. Joseph’s time has come!

The gospels record no spoken words of St. Joseph. He received far less attention from the Church Fathers than Our Lady or even St. Paul. Like a quiet, hardworking father, he has waited in the background of history. Until now.
I recently had the pleasure of reading Fr. Donald Calloway’s book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Blessings of Our Spiritual Father. I followed the month-long consecration practice. It was the most excellent consecration experience of my life. I could not recommend this book more than I currently do. It is the greatest book on St. Joseph since the Second Vatican Council.

The previous expert on St. Joseph was the scholarly Jesuit, Fr. Francis Filas. He was a Canadian, and he wrote perhaps the definitive work on the Holy Family, and St. Joseph in particular. Sadly, his works are all out of print and very expensive. Fr. Calloway’s book, while less academic, is nevertheless the needed prayer guide that so many of us require when enduring the endless scandals in the Church.

I agree with Father Calloway that “now is the time of St. Joseph.”

March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph. It is an important day for Catholics, especially in these troubling times! St. Joseph is the Terror of Demons, the Saint of Chaste Souls, the Protector of the Domestic Church. We need his powerful intercession more than ever. This coming week is the perfect time to begin your own consecration.

St. Joseph does not speak in any of the Gospels — not because he had nothing to say, but because his mere presence said all that was necessary. Like many fathers, he spoke little but did much. Simply being there for Our Lord and Our Lady was enough. He was a very simple man. He had no education to speak of, nor any real status in society. He was not a Jewish priest or political official.

Yet, just as Our Lady was a simple woman chosen to be Christ’s mother, so St. Joseph was chosen to be Our Lord’s father on earth. This should not be surprising. God does not choose us because of our accomplishments or education, but because He has His own plans for us. How humble he must have been! How he reminds us that we abuse and ignore all the many intellectual blessings God has given us. We should not look down on St. Joseph’s shortcomings. We should marvel at what he accomplished despite them! In this, St. Joseph is a model to all men, especially to men who are fathers. Men should imitate him — and women should beg for a spouse as chaste and hardworking as he.

Our Blessed Lord learned many things from St. Joseph. He learned how to walk and talk because St. Joseph taught Him how. Christ would have spoken with the same accent as His earthly father. St. Joseph would have protected Him from the harsh Palestinian countryside and provided Him and Our Lady their “daily bread.” He taught Our Lord how to work as a carpenter, and he taught Our Lord how to provide for Our Lady.

How much we owe St. Joseph! How unappreciative we’ve been of our father! The time to appreciate him has finally arrived. He is owed very much for all he has done. Like the hard work of so many forgotten fathers, St. Joseph has been laboring in the background of the Church, going unnoticed.

In his silence, we learn that St. Joseph was, in a certain sense, the first contemplative — the first “monk,” if you will. He was the first person aside from Our Lady who contemplated the Annunciation and the Incarnation. St. Joseph has always appeared with Our Lord and Our Lady, always silently. At Fatima he held the Christ Child as Jesus blessed the world. At Knock, St. Joseph was also silent; he gazed at Our Lady along with St. John the Baptist. St. Joseph saw the wonders of Our Lord in ways no one else could have imagined — and he must have contemplated these things in silence.
Fathers are always concerned with protecting the family they love so much. Oftentimes, they suffer in silence rather than share their burdens with their children or wives. St. Joseph, perhaps, was no exception. He never complained or blasphemed. He never cursed or demanded comfort. His tongue was pure, as far as Scripture tells us. He was an incredible example to his son. How easy it would have been for St. Joseph to complain about his ill fortunes. He had to carry his family to Egypt and make a living there. He had no resources besides his own hands. Yet not once did he complain or curse God for what he endured. He bore the pain in silence, probably offering it up to God the Father. In this sense, not only was Joseph the most important saint behind Our Lady, but he was a perfect father on Earth as well. That is why St. Joseph has one the highest places in Heaven, just below Our Lady.

St. Joseph, you built and protected the original Church: your spouse and your son. Build up our church, which is in such need of repair! Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis!

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