So, there’s this new devotion that’s taking the Catholic world by storm. Have you heard of it?
Well, to be honest, the practice itself is not exactly new. In fact, it’s one of the best spiritual weapons touted by some of the most devout of saints: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. André Besette, St. Padre Pio to name a few. What is it?
A personal devotion and consecration to Saint Joseph.
A new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, is capturing the hearts of many faithful in the Church, myself included. My husband and I just recently underwent the 33-day preparation period, and consecrated ourselves to St. Joseph on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Making a consecration to St. Joseph is an acknowledgement that St. Joseph “is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely to his paternal care so that he can lovingly help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God. 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. Saint Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him his loving attention, protection, and guidance.” (p. 5, Consecration to St. Joseph)
The Church has been increasing her promotion of St. Joseph steadily over the last 150 years.
While the devotion to St. Joseph is not exactly new, the Church has more theology on St. Joseph now than ever before.
In 1870, Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church.” From that point forward up until today, apostolates, religious communities, shrines and oratories, teachings, prayers, and liturgical advances—all centered around St. Joseph—have sprung up in the life of the Church. Fr. Calloway in his book claims that now, in our day and age, is the “time of St. Joseph.”
Through his book, Fr. Calloway states that he hopes to offer to the Church “a renewed understanding and appreciation of the great St. Joseph.”
Similar to St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Mary, the book consists of a 33-day preparation period, in which one delves deeper into what Fr. Calloway calls the ten “Wonders of St. Joseph,” while also meditating on each aspect of the Litany of St. Joseph each day. At the end of the preparation period, a formal act of consecration is made.
Why make a consecration to St. Joseph?
Truthfully, I tend to be a “bandwagon Catholic” when it comes to cool devotions and practices, so when I first heard of some friends making the consecration, I was ready to jump right in! But, as is important in all aspects of the spiritual life, I needed to spend some time discerning whether this practice was something God truly desired me to make.
I would encourage you to do the same, but with an affirmation that Jesus does want us to get to know His earthly father, just as He wants us to know and love His Blessed Mother.
This does not put St. Joseph on the same level as God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or even Mary… but if Jesus spent the majority of His earthly life under the roof and protection of a man whom God chose to guide and guard Him, why wouldn’t we want to get to know—and love—that man ourselves? As Fr. Calloway puts it, “Be at peace. The Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are one.”
Therefore, if you discern and indeed determine that this is a practice you’d like to make, I firmly assert that your filial devotion to St. Joseph will greatly help you in your future marriage and family life! And here’s why.
St. Joseph’s example and intercession is needed for the building of holy families.
Just take a look at the Litany of St. Joseph, and you’ll see more than a handful of virtues and qualities that every Christian strives to emulate. Who wouldn’t want to adopt as their spiritual father and guide someone who has these attractive and admirable traits? He is the Head of the Holy Family; this a role most highly honored on both sides of heaven.
In our age of marital relativism—where “marriage” is no longer only between one man and one woman, broken marriages are rampant in every culture, and many people don’t even desire marriage—a holy model of marriage and family is all the more vital. The spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph helps protect marriage and the family.
St. Joseph is a master in holiness, purity, love, humility, prayerfulness, and a sacrificial spirit. By consecrating yourself to St. Joseph, you become “an apparition of St. Joseph” in the world. In other words, these virtues that St. Joseph possesses become more prevalent and visible in you. Emulating St. Joseph not only makes you more prepared for marriage, but it also makes you more attractive to your future spouse.
If you’re discerning a vocation to marriage, you want this man on your side! He knows what true marriage is all about, and he won’t shy away from helping you find the virtues necessary to achieve it as well.
“He [St. Joseph] did not hesitate to entrust himself and his family to God. By virtue of this trust he completely fulfilled his mission, entrusted to him by God for the sake of Mary and his son. Supported by the example and protection of St. Joseph, offer a constant witness of devotion and generosity.” ~St. John Paul II