There is a quote that says:
“Good times produce weak men, weak men produce bad times, bad times produce strong men and strong men produce good times again.”
I think it’s fair to say that we need strong men to produce good times again. Here at Integrity Restored, we are constantly hearing from those struggling with pornography addiction as well as the cries for help from their wives and families and the calls for support from clergy and educators. The problem is rampant, and it is weakening us as husbands, as fathers and as men.
During this year of St. Joseph, I have been reading more about the life of this great saint, and I thought we could use him as a role model in this battle. While we do not read much in Scripture about St. Joseph, we can infer a lot by what is written. We do know that the Holy Family lived in challenging times. Life in general was very tough, and God our Father knew Joseph was a strong man who could and would protect the Holy Family. Joseph’s strength came from his obedience to the will of God, his self-sacrifice for Mary and Jesus and his constant commitment to their wellbeing.
The world is still in a troubled state, but we now have the Good News of eternal salvation through Jesus. St. Joseph protected, provided for and established a home dedicated to God for his family. His life of holy service is an example for men today to follow.
How many of us as husbands and fathers make sure to lock the doors and windows each night to protect our families? Yet, we leave the internet wide open, giving pornography easy access to our homes. That virtual door needs to be shut and locked as well!
Pope Francis said in a recent letter:
” We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safe keeping.”
This does not mean we are to physically, financially and spiritually protect them like St. Joseph; rather, we protect them in our hearts by avoiding sin and care for them through our love for others.
I’ve been thinking about how we can use St. Joseph as an example. Here’s what I came up with:
- Obedience of faith – it wasn’t easy for St. Joseph to learn that Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit. Yet, he did as the Lord asked even though it was difficult.
- Complete service – never one to hide from his role, St. Joseph kept his family safe from Herod. He protected them and provided for them through his work.
- Spiritual leadership – it wasn’t easy for St. Joseph to be the earthly father of the Messiah, yet he took his role seriously as the spiritual leader of the Holy Family. As St. John Paul II pointed out:
” Already at the beginning of redemption after Mary, St. Joseph is a model known as faithfully carrying out God’s commands.”
This is true spiritual leadership: providing an example for your family of living out God’s plan with obedience.
How often do we consider the life of St. Joseph as we ponder our spiritual walk? How often do we ask him to help us in our daily struggles?
Let us pray each day for the strength to follow the ideals of St. Joseph in our own lives as men, husbands and fathers, using his example to guide us in these difficult times.
Also, I highly recommend the Custos program from the Fathers of Saint Joseph, run by my good friend Devin Schadt. Check out the program here: CUSTOS: Total Consecration Through Saint Joseph – Program – Fathers of St. Joseph (fathersofstjoseph.org)
CUSTOS is a one-of-a kind 33 day consecration spiritual boot-camp that helps men who are or will be fathers to encounter the real St. Joseph, walk with him, and become like him. A unique combination of daily biblical reflections based on St. Joseph, daily prayers and spiritual practices, CUSTOS is a powerful way to experience personal and relational transformation.
St. Joseph, pray for us!