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St Joseph is the man!

Many men are struggling with the “father wound” and the effects are visible in many ways. However, they can turn to St Joseph as spiritual father for healing and to find their vocation.

Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon spoke of the strengths of St Joseph during Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, March 18. The Mass culminated a nine-day Novena to St Joseph leading up to Tuesday’s St Joseph Feast Day (March 19). It was organised by the National Catholic Men’s Ministry and students of Catholic secondary schools attended.

Archbishop Gordon used the image of water in a container to describe the roles of parents: the mother provides the fluid, and the father, the container. When the father, is absent, whether emotionally or physically, the son or daughter lacks the container “strong enough to hold the spiritual stuff”.

This manifests in “an addictive way of living… an inability to have proper boundaries, not being able to relate deeply, not being able to be vulnerable, not being able to love in the ways you know you need to love, not being able to share yourself in vulnerable ways and know that is okay”.

He advised that people turn to St Joseph, as “spiritual father” to get what they haven’t received from their earthly father and for healing.

Archbishop Gordon said, “To ask Joseph to be our spiritual father is to recognise that the spirit realm is as real as what we have here, and Joseph is active in our lives here on earth as other fathers are active”.  St Joseph can help guide people to find a mentor whom they can trust and learn from.

St Joseph is also a source of guidance for vocations because in fulfilling the call made to him by God, Mary was able to fulfil her vocation as mother of God and Jesus, as saviour of humanity.

Archbishop Gordon said Joseph has the title ‘Saviour of Jesus Christ’, “because Joseph is the only one who saves Jesus Christ” and does this twice, taking Mary into his home and raising Jesus as his own son and when the Holy family fled to Egypt to avoid Herod killing the child.

He noted that St Joseph, unlike Mary who did not have original sin, was “just like us” and could relate to the struggles of being human. He also was a man who listened to God and what God asked of him: he said ‘yes’.

Underscoring that St Joseph is well placed to offer guidance in vocations, he stated, “Everything you need for your vocation spiritually, Joseph is the man to help you spiritually with it because he is the man who understands the high cost of saying ‘yes’ to God.”

Directing some statements to the male students present, he asked if they were ever asked by God to do something they thought was difficult. He gave examples: standing up for what is right, speaking to their friends about bullying or how they are treating someone, not getting involved in “slack talk”. “Have you ever stood up for what is right and felt the cost of that?” he asked.

St Joseph gives an image of masculinity by being an honourable and chaste man. Speaking to the students, he said every man struggles with chastity at various times and in different ways. St Joseph lived chaste in a love relationship with the Virgin Mary. Their relationship was “far more beautiful than we can imagine on the human level,” the Archbishop said.

St Joseph gave himself completely for the sake of his family. To the married men, he recommended St Joseph as their patron to pray for the graces needed to live this vocation, and to the men considering the priesthood, he simply said, “that is the guy who raised Jesus”.

Deacon Peter Timothy gave thanks after the liturgy and presented Archbishop Gordon with a stole made in Ghana.