From the National Catholic Men’s Ministry
Many of us see St Joseph as the perfect father. If God Himself had to choose an earthly father, he would surely be perfect.
The gospels show us clearly that Joseph was a man who was unsure of how his earthly fatherhood would play out exactly. He firstly was willing to quietly divorce Mary so as to keep her from scandal.
He knew he was not the biological father of her Child. And yet, God in His supreme wisdom willed it for this ‘son of David’ to be the most important man to ever be called father here on earth.
St Joseph did not have a book of instructions on how to be a great dad. He definitely did not have the other book on how to be a great dad to a non-biological son. And finally, he did not have the instruction manual on how to be a human dad to the Divine Son.
As fathers of the 21st century, we should contemplate the struggle, the burden, the feelings of inadequacy and insecurities of the greatest father on earth…St Joseph; the man Jesus called daddy.
For most of us men, fatherhood is filled with mistakes, uncertainty, a lack of proper role models and little or no guidance. So just like St Joseph we are called to stumble through this extremely crucial role.
But it’s also supposed to be filled with joy, love, sacrifice and peace. This is where we must look to our brother St Joseph to teach us the art of encountering God and reflecting His love to our children in the midst of our own insecurities and struggles.
St Joseph based his daily life on a childlike belief and trust in God as Father. Every new struggle, whether it was taking his pregnant wife approximately 90 miles to Bethlehem or fleeing around 430 miles to escape Herod’s attempts to kill his Son; Joseph, amidst his fears and anxiety, was obedient to the voice of God.
He totally bent his will to the will of God. And therein is the secret. St Joseph was the greatest of fathers because he truly believed that despite how insufficient and disqualified he felt in raising the Son of God as his own, God is always sufficient.
So, as we reflect on our own roles as fathers, whether it be biological, spiritual, stepdads or mentors, they require of us to be instruments of love, joy, mercy, and forgiveness.
In other words, they require us to be images of our Father in Heaven, like St Joseph. This we can only be if we bend our wills to the will of God.
Every single day as we perform our daily tasks we must ask ourselves, am I reflecting the image of God? We need St Joseph to help us do this and therefore this Father’s Day let us as wounded men as we are, go to him as ‘The Model of Fatherhood’ asking for his prayer and his strength.
To our Spiritual Fathers, our priests, on this Father’s Day, we echo the words of Pope Francis addressing some seminarians on June 10, 2021. He said, “The world is thirsty for priests who are able to communicate the goodness of the Lord to those who have experienced sin and failure, for priests who are experts in humanity, for pastors willing to share the joys and labours of their brothers, for men who allow themselves to be changed by the cry of those who suffer.”
This is why we call you fathers, and this is what we too as lay men must imitate in our homes.
On behalf of the National Catholic Men’s Ministry (NCMM), we wish ALL fathers a truly Happy Father’s Day. We pray that this Father’s Day may bring you hope and joy as we continue to support each other on the road to Heaven.