I am so glad that Pope Francis declared this the year of Saint Joseph, because I think we, as a Church, as the people of God, have been needing to be stronger in our devotion to Saint Joseph for a long time now. Saint Joseph is the intercessor and the model for all of us in our vocation, whatever that vocation may be. Today, I think we should reflect on what our vocation, our calling is, and how we are living it, and then intercede for the assistance of Saint Joseph as we try to live our life better.
Men have many different roles in their lives: fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, workers, employers, mentors, even sons of God. Women’s roles are similarly varied, and each person is expected to fulfill different roles with different people, sometimes all in the same moment. People need a role model and intercessor in order to carry out all those roles with faithfulness: that role model is Saint Joseph. There is a saying, in Latin, Ite ad Ioseph, in English, “go to Joseph.” It comes from the Old Testament, when the people were facing a famine, they knew that the Joseph in the Old Testament was wise and had stored up grain in abundance. So they were told to “go to Joseph” for help in their time of need. We need to go to the New Testament Joseph, Saint Joseph, in order to live our calling, be faithful to God, love our families, support our communities, and to be happy in our lives.
In Joseph, we see the model of so many virtues that help us in our vocations:
- Faithfulness: Joseph was faithful to God and faithful to Mary. His faithfulness helped him overcome the uneasiness of becoming Mary’s husband after he understood what God required of her, and of himself.
- Obedience: Joseph was obedient to God in everything. He often heard from God in his dreams, and every time, he did what he was asked to do. His obedience helped God’s plan for the salvation of the world to come to fruition.
- Purity: Joseph’s purity gave him strength to love and protect Jesus and Mary. His purity helped him to be devoted to them. His pure heart helped him to be completely focused on doing what was best for his family.
- Courage: It took courage to keep his family safe from Herod, and during their time in Egypt, and along the many journeys they had to take.
These are just some of the many virtues we see in Saint Joseph. And we need all of them today! We need faithfulness to remember our calling and to live as God has called us to live, without giving in to the distractions the world throws at us. We need obedience to do what God requires of us, even when it’s inconvenient, even when it calls us to die to ourselves a little bit (or die to ourselves a lot!). We need purity in an age when pornography is so very available and sexuality has been made into something unclean, which is never how God intended it to be. We need courage to live all these things in a world that is hostile to our beliefs, convictions, and way of life. We need to “go to Joseph” for so many reasons in these days.Ite ad Ioseph. Go to Joseph. Living in the world today requires this devotion: we need to go to Joseph often and repeatedly. Our devotion to Saint Joseph can be a game changer in our world today. Through his intercession, may our God transform our lives, our families, our workplaces, and our world.