“I did not understand St. Joseph well enough, but that will change.”— St. John of the Cross
In the 16th century, St. John of the Cross humbly acknowledged that he lacked a proper understanding of the greatness of St. Joseph. Inspired by the tremendous love that his friend, St. Teresa of Avila, had for St. Joseph, St. John of the Cross made a firm resolution to get to know and love St. Joseph better.
What about you? Do you know St. Joseph? Do you feel you understand his greatness and love for you?
Saint José Manyanet, a priest in 19th-century Spain, fervently promoted devotion to St. Joseph and the Holy Family. He prophesied that a “time of St. Joseph” would soon arrive in the life of the Church. He wrote:
I believe that the true time of Saint Joseph has not arrived yet: after two thousand years we started only now to glimpse something of the mystery in which he is immersed.
Well, my friends, I firmly believe that in our day the Lord wants to direct our hearts, families, parishes, dioceses, and Church to St. Joseph in a major way. In 1961, Pope St. John XXIII made a profound statement about St. Joseph. He wrote:
In the Holy Church’s worship, right from the beginning, Jesus, the Word of God made man, has enjoyed the adoration that belongs to him, incommunicable as the splendor of the substance of his Father, a splendor reflected in the glory of his saints. From the earliest times, Mary, his mother, was close behind him, in the pictures in the catacombs and the basilicas, where she was devoutly venerated as “Holy Mother of God.” But Joseph, except for some slight sprinkling of references to him here and there in the writings of the Fathers [of the Church], for long centuries remained in the background, in his characteristic concealment, almost as a decorative figure in the overall picture of the Savior’s life. It took time for devotion to him to go beyond those passing glances and take root in the hearts of the faithful, and then surge forth in the form of special prayers and of a profound sense of trusting abandonment. The fervent joy of pouring forth these deepest feelings of the heart in so many impressive ways has been saved for modern times!
What the Vicar of Christ clearly stated is that now is the time of St. Joseph. We are living in modern times, the time in which the Church is witnessing an unprecedented era of devotion to St. Joseph. According to Pope St. John XXIII, God desires devotion to St. Joseph to surge forth in our day in the form of special prayers of “trusting abandonment.” This means one thing in particular: It’s time for total consecration to St. Joseph!
Here is a list of remarkable events that have taken place over the past 150 years which show St. Joseph’s increasing importance in the life of the Church. They clearly indicate that we are living in an unprecedented time of St. Joseph.
1868 — Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P., writes a letter to Blessed Pope Pius IX asking him to declare St. Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church.”
1870 — Blessed Pope Pius IX declares St. Joseph the “Patron of the Universal Church.”
1871 — Founding of the Josephites by Cardinal Herbert A. Vaughan
1873 — Founding of the Congregation of St. Joseph by St. Leonardo Murialdo
1878 — Founding of the Oblates of St. Joseph by St. Joseph Marello
1879 — Apparitions at Knock, Ireland. Saint Joseph appears with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Apostle, and Jesus (appearing as the Lamb of God).
1889 — Pope Leo XIII writes Quamquam Pluries, an encyclical letter on St. Joseph.
1895 — Blessed Petra of St. Joseph begins construction on a shrine to St. Joseph in Barcelona, Spain. It is consecrated in 1901. At her beatification in 1994, St. John Paul II calls Blessed Petra the “apostle of St. Joseph of the 19th century.”
1904 — Saint André Bessette constructs an oratory dedicated to St. Joseph in Montreal, Canada. It expands, is declared a minor basilica, and is finally completed in 1967. Today, it is known as St. Joseph’s Oratory and is considered by many to be the preeminent international center of devotion to St. Joseph.
1908 — St. Luigi Guanella begins constructing a church dedicated to St. Joseph in Rome. It is completed and consecrated as a basilica in 1912.
1909 — Pope St. Pius X officially approves the Litany of St. Joseph.
1914 — St. Luigi Guanella founds the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Salvation of the Dying.
1917 — Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. During the last apparition on October 13, St. Joseph appears holding the Child Jesus and blessing the world.
1921 — Pope Benedict XV inserts the phrase “Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse” into the Divine Praises.
1947 — Spanish Discalced Carmelites found Estudios Josefinos, the first theological journal devoted to St. Joseph.
1950s — The alleged apparitions of Our Lady of America given to Sr. Mary Ephrem emphasize a renewed devotion to St. Joseph, and St. Joseph himself speaks to the visionary about this devotion.
1955 — Venerable Pope Pius XII establishes the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, to be celebrated on May 1.
1962 —Pope St. John XXIII inserts St. Joseph’s name into the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
1989 — Saint Pope John Paul II writes Redemptoris Custos, an apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph.
2013 — Pope Francis, echoing and fulfilling the intentions of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, inserts the name of St. Joseph into all Eucharistic Prayers. He also consecrates Vatican City State to St. Joseph.
Whoa! Did you know all that? Most people are unaware of these remarkable events. Without exaggeration, the Church has done more to promote St. Joseph in the last 150 years than in the previous 1,800 years of Christianity! But why now? Why St. Joseph?
There are many reasons, but I believe there are two which are especially important.
First, we need the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph to help us protect marriage and the family. Marriage and the family have always been under attack, but in modern times, the threats have reached extraordinary heights. Many people no longer know what it means to be a man or a woman, let alone what constitutes a marriage and a family. Many countries even claim to have redefined marriage and the family. There is great confusion on these matters, greater confusion than in any previous era of human history. The Servant of God, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the longest-lived visionary of the Fatima apparitions, knew the seriousness of the times and made a powerful statement about this issue. She wrote:
The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family.
To combat and overcome Satan’s deceptions, the Church needs St. Joseph. His example and protection are the only way out of the confusing mess we are in. Who else can we turn to who can help us understand what marriage and the family are all about if not to the head of the Holy Family and our spiritual father?
Second, the entire world needs to be re-evangelized, including the vast majority of baptized Christians. Saint Joseph was the first missionary. Today, he desires again to bring Jesus to the nations. Many nations and cultures which were previously Christian have fallen away from their Christian roots and are on a path to self-destruction. Countries once established on Judeo-Christian principles have become overrun by ideologies and organizations which seek to strip society of all that is sacred. Without a major turnaround, civilization itself will self-destruct.
In his apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph in 1989, St. John Paul II reminded us of the necessity of invoking St. Joseph in the work of re-evangelizing the world. He wrote:
This patronage [of St. Joseph] must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to re-evangelization in those lands and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and are now put to a hard test.
Now is the time to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! God is telling his Church that, in order to defend marriage and the family, elevate morals, recover lost ground, and win souls for Jesus Christ, we need to bring St. Joseph onto the battlefield. He is the Terror of Demons! With his powerful spiritual fatherhood, incredible love for his spiritual children, and constant intercession, the Church can be renewed as a light to the nations!
What exactly is consecration to St. Joseph? In other words, what does it mean for a person to be consecrated to St. Joseph? Well, it basically means that you acknowledge that he 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 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.
Perhaps someone reading this has already consecrated themselves entirely to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is wondering if they can consecrate themselves to St. Joseph and entrust everything to him, as well. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” God desires that all children be committed to the love and care of a mother and a father. You are not a member of a single-parent spiritual family. Mary is your spiritual mother, and St. Joseph is your spiritual father. The spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph is extremely important for your spiritual growth. Total consecration to Mary is not diminished by total consecration to St. Joseph. Mary wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Jesus wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Everything you have given to Jesus and Mary can also be given to St. Joseph. The hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are one.
So is there a book that offers a method of consecration to St. Joseph? Yes, there is! It’s called Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of our Spiritual Father, and it follows a method similar to the tried-and-true 33-day preparation method employed by St. Louis de Montfort in his Marian consecration. The 33-day program can be done by individuals, parishes, and entire diocese. Through this program, I hope to spark the first worldwide movement of consecration to St. Joseph!
Consecration to St. Joseph has endorsements from Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Jim Caviezel, Scott Hahn, and many others. Get your copy of Consecration to St. Joseph and be part of the movement! Go to www.consecrationtostjoseph.org to find out more!