Only one saint stands out as the best human model of God’s fatherhood. Saint Joseph is the best ally for men who want to be good husbands and fathers. And yet we know so little about him from the Bible. Only recently has devotion to Saint Joseph become popular. Why now? It’s because of all that Satan has done to destroy the image of fatherhood. Abba-Father is giving Saint Joseph to the world as a remedy for all of the demonic strategies against marriages and families.
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (Matthew 1:24 NIV)
Joseph is taking into his “home” — his fatherly care — anyone who asks for it. If Mary is our Mother, then Joseph is our Father representing God the Father. We who have been adopted through baptism to become children of the Divine Father are also adopted by the only human father who is perfect. How did your dad fail you? What did you seek but not get from the father-figures in your life? Joseph has all of the qualities you’ve longed for.
His job, however, is not to replace God as the father we need. His mission is to be the human image of Abba-Father, replacing the flawed image we’ve carried around since childhood. His greatest desire is to replace Satan, the father of lies who has tricked the world into rejecting God’s fatherhood.
Sometimes we mistakenly think that the Devil is the polar opposite of God. We think that Satan is the ultimate nemesis of God, and God is the ultimate nemesis of Satan. This is not true. God already won the battle — long before Jesus defeated Satan on the Cross. The war is being waged between the Devil and the children of God (all humans). Jesus died for us, to set us free from the captivity of evil.
The Devil’s true nemesis is the one who is nicknamed “The Terror of Demons”: Saint Joseph.
Men are warriors. God created them to have victory in their blood. Therefore, Joseph is a warrior: the strongest fighter in the army. Jesus is the army’s General, the Commander-in-Chief. Joseph is the army’s second in command, the Deputy Commander or Executive Officer. He uses the authority of the General to go up against the enemy and win. And since Satan’s war is being waged against us humans, Jesus has sent a human to lead us through the battlefield and take back territories that the Devil has stolen.
Jesus referred to this when he said, “The gates of hell will not prevail against My Church” (see Matthew 16:18). He wasn’t talking about the enemy’s aggressions against the Church. Gates don’t attack. Gates protect. Our mission on the battlefield is to attack the gates and knock them down. Our mission is to make breakthroughs that free Satan’s captives. With our Commander-in-Chief, we proclaim as our own mission statement the same scripture he read aloud at the start of his public ministry:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
(Isaiah 61:1 NIV, quoted in the New Testament at Luke 4:18)
Yes, this is your mission statement too! Jesus taught me this many years ago. My book Overcoming the Power of the Occult had just been published and I’d been invited to speak to a Catholic youth group about the occult games they liked to play with. When I arrived at the meeting room, the youth minister handed me a bible while opening it to any random page. He asked me to lead the meeting with a scripture. Guess what scripture his bible fell open to! Yup, the one I just quoted above.
At that moment, Jesus told me (and the Holy Spirit filled me with certainty all the way to my core) that this was my mission statement and the calling of every Christian.
That night, some of those teenagers (perhaps most of them) left for home set free from the lie that they could safely play with the Ouija board.
How Saint Joseph wins battles for us
Jesus gave us his mission and he gave us his authority over evil so we can succeed in the mission.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. (Titus 2:11-15 NIV)
Saint Joseph was all of those things — self-controlled, upright, and godly — and he is our role model. When we purify our lives from sin, we gain Christ’s own authority to stop the tactics of the Devil, first in our personal lives and then in the lives of others according to the mission he gives us. The Devil becomes afraid of us!
Saint Joseph, armed with the authority of Christ, is leading the way to victory. He guides us in knocking down the gates of hell. He is advancing our invasion into Satan’s territory to reach victims of the battle, i.e., those who’ve been trapped by the Devil’s lies.
This does not include rescuing those who are already in Hell. There is no redemption for them. It’s too late for them; they have made their choice. The people who are still alive and have been seduced by demons into following them into the earthly territories of Hell — these are the prisoners we’re going after.
The earthly territories of Hell are all of the fortresses of evil from where Satan’s minions go out and spread lies, steal God’s children away from him, and infect the world with evil. They are the headquarters of Planned Parenthood, Communism, the occult, sexual deviancy, and other portals to Hell.
Saint Joseph does not fight political wars, but he does lead an army against evil agendas in politics. He does not fight in courtrooms, but he does fight against the evils that brought cases to trial. He battles for souls anywhere that the Devil invades. His weapon? The truth! The truth about who God is. The truth about what it means to be a child of God. The truth about Jesus conquering the Devil throughout his earthly ministry and especially on the Cross.
Remember how Jesus defeated the Tempter in the desert (see Luke 4:1-13). He spoke the truth about each scripture that Satan twisted. He countered each lie with the truth. The most effective way to resist the Devil is to crush his lies with the truth and then act on the truth.
Look at how the battle is won in James 4:1-8 (ESV):
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
What are the weapons the Lord gives us as we follow Saint Joseph into battle? This scripture gives us four. (1) Commit firmly to being on God’s side; God gives grace to those who are at enmity with the world. (2) Resist the Devil; never believe his lies but counter them with the truth and act on the truth. (3) Draw near to God; pray, pray, pray! (4) Repent of your sins; the Sacrament of Confession demolishes the Devil’s strategy against you while it strengthens your resolve to remain on God’s side of the battle.
With the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph is asking for prayer, penance and holiness. In her apparitions, she has been telling a sinful world that we can no longer live in enmity against God. She has been begging people to change their lives. Joseph is totally united to her in this message. Prayer, penance and holiness is exactly how we successfully spread the Kingdom of Christ in a demonized world.
As Patron Saint of the family, Joseph goes into every home where he’s invited and, with the authority of Jesus, he leads us to defeat the Devil. He assists in taking care of the children. He helps strengthen marriages. He teaches men to imitate him. He also joins in with the prayers of parents whose adult children have strayed off into Satan’s territories.
Satan fears Saint Joseph because, though a mere human, he is the perfect image of God the Father. After Jesus and Mary, there is no one whom Satan runs away from more speedily than Saint Joseph.
However, to benefit from Saint Joseph’s warrior-fatherhood, we need to pull him out from the shadows and give him a place of importance in our homes, in our lives, and in our churches. He humbly accepts that the Blessed Mother has been in the limelight, but when given the opportunity, he gladly steps out in front to protect us from the enemy’s attacks and to help Jesus rescue those lost lambs who have wandered away from the safety of the sheepfold.
Meet Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph has always been recognized by Christians as an extraordinary man, although most of what is known about him does not come from scripture. Throughout the history of the Church, saints, mystics, popes, and others have given us a fuller picture of him. Here is a partial list of the fatherly traits they described. As you read through them, take time to connect these traits to Abba-Father. Saint Joseph, in his perfection as a father, reveals to us what our Divine Daddy is like more so than any other father-figure.
- He is perfect in love, humility, and dedication to his mission of caring for Jesus and Mary, according to many Fathers of the Church including Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine.
- He is authoritative, affectionate, and faithful, as Saint Augustine pointed out while explaining that, although he was not the biological father of Jesus, he was a true father. A holy father.
- He is patient. Saint Joseph Marello said, “He was always imperturbable, even in adversities. Let us model ourselves after this sublime example and let us learn to remain peaceful and tranquil in all of life’s circumstances.”
- He is Protector, and this is one of the fatherly traits that scripture reveals. He protected Jesus and Mary when King Herod was trying to destroy the newborn king.
- He is Provider, as we know from his trade as a carpenter. We also see his unfailing determination to provide a safe place for Mary to give birth when all the inns were booked up. Saint John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris Custos, “The growth of Jesus ‘in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man’ (Luke 2:52) took place within the Holy Family under the eyes of Joseph, who had the important task of “raising” Jesus, that is, feeding, clothing, and educating him in the Law and in a trade, in keeping with the duties of a father.”
- He has a strong sense of responsibility as indicated in the scripture about Mary and Joseph losing track of the Child Jesus for three days. They had assumed he was hanging out with others in the caravan who journeyed with them on the way home from their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they realized that he had been left behind, they searched “anxiously” (see Luke 2:48). This is not the anxiety of someone who worries without self-control and without trust in God. It’s the anxiety that every parent feels when a child is unwittingly endangering himself.
- He is a just man, as shown in how he handled the news that Mary was pregnant. Being “a just man and unwilling to put her to shame”, he decided to send her away quietly. (See Matthew 1:18-24.) Even though the situation was shocking and disappointing, he didn’t react with anger or fear or judgmentalism. His decision was based on love and compassion for Mary.
- He is always submissive to God’s will. Saint Francis de Sales said, “To be just is to be perfectly united to the Divine Will, and to be always conformed to it in all sorts of events, whether prosperous or adverse. That Saint Joseph was this, no one can doubt.”
- He is a problem-solver. Imagine the difficulties he had to overcome while the Holy Family lived in Egypt. Saint Francis de Sales said, “Saint Joseph was in a land which was not only foreign, but also hostile to Israelites. The Egyptians resented that the Israelites had escaped from their tyranny, and also that they had been the cause of many of their ancestors being drowned in the Red Sea.” To bring his family through those challenges, he had to be a good problem solver. According to the mystical revelations of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Joseph was often unable to find sufficient work and provide the food, clean water, or proper housing that he wished to give his family. His problem-solving skills kept them alive and unharmed.
- He comforts us in difficult times. Saint Joseph Marello said, “Let us commend ourselves to our good father, Saint Joseph, who is the Patriarch of troubled people, since he himself went through so much trouble.”
- He helps us pray and worship. Pope Benedict XVI said, “Joseph fulfilled every aspect of his paternal role. He must certainly have taught Jesus to pray, together with Mary. In particular Joseph himself must have taken Jesus to the Synagogue for the rites of the Sabbath, as well as to Jerusalem for the great feasts of the people of Israel. Joseph, in accordance with the Jewish tradition, would have led the prayers at home both every day — in the morning, in the evening, at meals — and on the principal religious feasts. In the rhythm of the days he spent at Nazareth, in the simple home and in Joseph’s workshop, Jesus learned to alternate prayer and work, as well as to offer God his labor in earning the bread the family needed.”
- He wants to be your father. In a vision, Jesus said to the Servant of God Sr. Marie-Martha Chambon, “You must call Saint Joseph your father, for I have given him the title and the goodness of a father.”
- He is available, placing himself at the service of family life and your spiritual growth. Pope Benedict XVI said, “There is but one fatherhood, that of God the Father, the one Creator of the world, of all that is seen and unseen. Yet man, created in the image of God, has been granted a share in this one paternity of God (Ephesians 3:15). Saint Joseph is a striking case of this, since he is a father, without fatherhood according to the flesh. He is not the biological father of Jesus, whose Father is God alone, and yet he lives his fatherhood fully and completely. To be a father means above all to be at the service of life and growth. Saint Joseph, in this sense, gave proof of great devotion.”
- He is the most luminous of all the saints, according to Saint Gregory Nazianzen who wrote: “The Almighty has concentrated in Saint Joseph, as in a Sun of unrivalled luster, the combined light and splendor of all the other saints.” (Note: Saint Gregory did not imply that Joseph is greater than Mary. She is not called a saint. She is The Mother of God, a super-category of holiness.)
- He was Mary’s most chaste husband. From the beginning, saints and mystics have told the same story about his marriage to Mary. Details vary but the essence is the same: Before they knew that they would someday marry, she had taken a vow to be married to God alone. Joseph, too, had taken a vow of celibacy as an act of devotion and complete surrender to God. Mary was one of the temple virgins serving the Lord since early childhood. Normally the temple virgins were sent home to marry and raise children when they reached the age of fourteen, so the temple priests, recognizing how special Mary was, decided to find her a husband. All the unmarried male descendants of David were brought before the altar presenting a staff. The priests believed that God would give a sign through the staff of the man whom God had chosen for Mary. Joseph’s staff sprouted lilies, which is why on holy cards he is often depicted with a flowering staff. He was delighted to take as his bride someone who was as devoted to the Lord as he was; they could both keep their vows of celibacy. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi said, “For just as husband and wife are one flesh, so too Joseph and Mary were one heart, one soul, one spirit.”
- He is the second Adam, the perfect Adam, the way Adam was supposed to be. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi said, “And as in that first marriage God created Eve to be like Adam, so in this second marriage he made Joseph to be like the Blessed Virgin in holiness and justice.”
- He is the spiritual father of all humanity. Pope Pius XI wrote, “The intercession of Saint Joseph is that of the husband, the putative [accepted] father, the head of the family of Nazareth which was composed of himself, Mary, and Jesus. And as Saint Joseph was truly the head or the master of that house, his intercession cannot be but all-powerful. For what could Jesus and Mary refuse to Saint Joseph, he who was entirely consecrated to them all his life, and to whom they truly owed the means of their earthly existence?”
- He is a role model of masculinity. Jesus as a male child learned from Joseph’s fatherhood what being a man, a husband and a father truly looked like. Every manly trait that Jesus exhibited he learned from Joseph. These traits, in turn, reveal to us what God the Father is truly like. Jesus endured much; picture Joseph enduring much while he dealt with ordinary townspeople who were far less holy than he was. Jesus stood up to bullies, full of self-confidence without demeaning anyone; picture Joseph stopping fist fights between angry neighbors, intervening without fear and with great wisdom. Jesus made many sacrifices before his final, huge sacrifice; picture Joseph sacrificing his time at work to give the Child Jesus his attention and also sacrificing the material pleasures he could have earned if he had spent more time at work.
- He obtains great blessings for those who invite him into their lives with great devotion. Saint Teresa of Avila wrote, “I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which he has delivered me, both in body and in soul…. The Lord wishes to teach us that, as he was himself subject on earth to Saint Joseph, so in heaven he now does all that Joseph asks.”
- He has unlimited power to help us. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to Saint Joseph is unlimited: It extends to all our needs, and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard.”
The world needs Saint Joseph now more than ever
Ralph and I enhanced our marriage and our relationships with Father God by consecrating ourselves to Saint Joseph through a 33-day spiritual exercise using Father Donald Calloway’s book called Consecration to Saint Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (published by Marian Press). I highly recommend this to everyone who wants to stand firmly on God’s side of the battle and receive Saint Joseph’s protection. Consecration is both a devotion and a commitment. You can consecrate yourself, your marriage, your family, your home, and your work to Saint Joseph. You can place yourself into the hands of the best human father ever.
Father Calloway explains why this is so important:
In our day, Jesus wants the Church to know, love, honor, and seek refuge in the spiritual fatherhood of Saint Joseph. There has never been a time in history when God’s people have needed Saint Joseph more. Why? Simply put, the majority of men no longer know or understand what it means to be a gentleman, let alone what it means to be a good father. Children have grown up with poor examples of fatherhood, if they have grown up with a father at all. Contraception, pornography, abortion, gender confusion, moral depravity, empty churches, morally corrupt clergy, and cultural chaos are only a few of the fruits of a society that lacks real men and fathers. Jesus wants to draw our attention to the spiritual fatherhood of Saint Joseph in order to right these wrongs and bring order back to the Church and the world.
In looking at how much Saint Joseph is needed today, Father Calloway compares him to his biblical namesake, the great patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob. Saint Lawrence of Brindisi said of this:
The former Joseph was holy, righteous, pious, chaste; but this Joseph so far surpasses him in holiness and perfection as the sun outshines the moon.
Pharaoh, the mighty king of Egypt, exalted Joseph and made him the highest prince in his kingdom because he stored up the grain and bread and saved the people of his entire kingdom. So Joseph saved and protected Christ, who is the living bread and gives eternal life to the world.
Father Calloway adds:
Today, there is a worldwide spiritual and moral famine on the earth. Souls are dying because of a lack of spiritual nourishment. Hearts are broken; marriages are ruined; lives are destroyed; children are murdered in the womb; and truth and common sense are in short supply. The spiritual and moral famine in the world is devastating every nation, laying waste to humanity. There is not a single country left that has not been affected by it. What are we to do? To whom can we go to find nourishment for our souls?
“Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you!” (Genesis 41: 55)
The Devil’s overwhelmingly successful attack against our families and his massive infiltration of our world are not a surprise to Abba-Father nor to Saint Joseph. Over the past 150 years, Saint Joseph’s importance as the perfect model of fatherhood — for the restoration of God’s image as Father, wrestling away from Satan his evil plan to replace God as the father of the human race — has become increasing recognized. Notice how it’s evolved:
- In 1868, Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP, asked Blessed Pope Pius IX to declare Saint Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church.”
- In 1870, the pope proclaimed that Saint Joseph is the “Patron of the Universal Church.”
- In 1879 at Knock, Ireland, Saint Joseph appeared with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Apostle, and Jesus (who appeared as the Lamb of God on an altar).
- In 1889, Pope Leo XIII wrote Quamquam Pluries, an encyclical letter about Saint Joseph.
- In 1909, Saint Pope Pius X officially approved the Litany of Saint Joseph (which is included below for your edification).
- In 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, during the final apparition of Our Lady, Saint Joseph appeared with her. He was holding the Child Jesus and together they were blessing the world.
- In the 1950s, visionary Sr. Mary Ephrem was told by the Blessed Virgin Mary (under the title Our Lady of America) that the Church should emphasize a renewed devotion to Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph himself also spoke to her about this.
- In 1955, Venerable Pope Pius XII established May 1st as the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.
- In 1958, Bishop Angelo Roncalli, who had a great devotion to Saint Joseph, was elected to the papacy (as Pope John XXIII).
- In 1962, Pope Saint John XXIII entrusted the Second Vatican Council to Saint Joseph.
- Later that same year, the pope added Saint Joseph’s name into Eucharistic Prayer #I of Holy Mass.
- In 1989, Saint Pope John Paul II wrote Redemptoris Custos, an apostolic exhortation on Saint Joseph.
- In 2013, Pope Francis added Saint Joseph’s name into all of the Eucharistic Prayers. He also consecrated the Vatican City State to Saint Joseph.
Where does this put us today? Saint Joseph wants everyone to consecrate our homes to him. Now. Our homes are battlefields. The Devil and his minions have been fighting against domestic peace, fighting against children growing up to become holy priests or religious or fruitful parents, fighting against the holy Sacrament of Marriage. And most of all, fighting against the true image of God as our Father.
To help win the battle in your home, set up an adoration chapel or a shrine. We tend to think that adoration chapels are only for churches and must contain Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. But consider what Blessed William Joseph Chaminade said about Saint Joseph:
How many times did he, like the lone sparrow, nestle on the roof of that holy temple of the divinity, contemplating this divine Child sleeping in his arms, and thinking of his eternal repose in the bosom of the heavenly Father?
Your home becomes an adoration chapel every time you contemplate the presence of Jesus and praise him. We don’t need to see the Eucharistic Host to adore Jesus. He is with us all of the time.
Joseph adored him as he held him in his arms. He adored him as he taught him, played with him, and worked with him. And he invited others to adore him, too. Picture the scene in Bethlehem when he and Mary welcomed the scraggly, smelly shepherds. Picture how he welcomed the magi, though they were not Jews. Imagine how he felt as he watched them give gifts to the baby. And now he is inviting you, too, to spend time each day adoring your Savior and giving him gifts.
This is what a good father does. He helps his children to know and adore Jesus. He is concerned about their eternal salvation.
The prayers of a father for his children are very powerful — but only when he is firmly and completely on God’s side of the battle. Half-heartedness weakens his authority. Whole-hearted commitment to his role as God’s warrior gives him the authority of Jesus, and with this he leads his family in defeating the Devil.
Meditate on the Litany of Saint Joseph
We can get a bigger picture of what Saint Joseph’s fatherhood looks like by using the Litany of Saint Joseph. Pause to reflect on each of the fatherly traits that are named here in the titles of Saint Joseph. Stay with each one until you attach them to Abba-Father. For example, how is God the Father “most chaste”? I see this as describing God’s purity. So then I ask: How does Abba’s purity affect my life? Why does this make him the most wonderful Daddy ever?
The Litany of Saint Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us. – Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us. – Jesus, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, – have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World, – have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, – have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, – have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, – pray for us.
Saint Joseph, – pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, – pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, – pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, – pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, – pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, – pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, – pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, – pray for us.
Joseph most just, – pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, – pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, – pray for us.
Joseph most strong, – pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, – pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, – pray for us.
Mirror of patience, – pray for us.
Lover of poverty, – pray for us.
Model of artisans, – pray for us.
Glory of home life, – pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, – pray for us.
Pillar of families, – pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, – pray for us.
Hope of the sick, – pray for us.
Patron of the dying, – pray for us.
Terror of demons, – pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, – pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, – spare us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, – graciously hear us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, – have mercy on us, O Jesus.
He made him the lord of his household – And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray:
O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
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© 2020 by Terry A. Modica
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