On Fathers’ Day, we remember and honor dads, grandfathers, uncles, and all the men, living and deceased, who tirelessly and selflessly gave of themselves for their families with unconditional love. It is a good time to also recall the exemplary role-model and patron saint of fathers – Saint Joseph – foster father of Jesus, husband of Our Lady and patron of the Universal Church.
Saint Joseph experienced the same difficulties in life we all do, yet he lived an exemplary life and established an ideal that is well-worth emulating for all fathers who have come after him. Saint Joseph was a man of compassion and caring. He was a man possessed of unwavering faith in God. He was a man who loved and protected his family. As Saint Matthew describes him in his Gospel, Joseph was a “righteous man” (Matthew 1:19).
For Joseph, doing God’s will was paramount; God always came first. Each time God told him to do something, Joseph’s response was immediate and he would carry out the task at hand the way God wanted it done – after the angel’s message came to him in a dream, he took Mary into his home as his wife; upon receiving the angel’s warning, Joseph immediately got up and took his little family and fled to Egypt in the middle of the night to escape Herod’s jealous wrath, then, later, returned them home to Nazareth. Joseph kept the Sabbath and went to the Temple in Jerusalem for the Passover. He faithfully and tenderly loved, protected and provided for the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Saint Joseph certainly set the bar high for modern-day fathers, yet, by his very example, Joseph solidly demonstrates that it is quite possible to follow his example to be a righteous man by listening to, trusting in and obeying God’s word.
Just how important are fathers? A father is a source of strength and support. He strives to provide for and raise his children to know right from wrong, to develop sound moral values. A dad puts the needs of his family before his own. A dad teaches his children the value of hard work, courage, honesty and good judgment. A dad creates memories with his children that will last them a lifetime…by teaching them to ride a two-wheel bicycle or how to throw a curveball or simply just by quiet-time together, allowing his children to revel in the security of a protective, paternal love. A dad encourages his children to live lives of holiness and quiet fortitude. Most of all, through his own life of faith, a father teaches his children by example to cultivate a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father through prayer, to live their lives according to God’s word and guide them firmly along the path to their eternal, Heavenly destination. Whether he realizes it or not, it is through such dedication and commitment to his family, that a dad emulates Saint Joseph. What greater lessons could a man’s life teach? So, yes, fathers are very important!
On June 16th, as we honor and thank our dads for all they have done for us and for how much they mean to us, let us remember to ask Saint Joseph for his intercession on behalf of all dads and that his holy example continue to be an inspiration to all fathers.
Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God,
I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage
to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss
when I draw my dying breath.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. Amen.