Failed Fatherhood and Loss of True Christian Masculinity in our Society: A Clarion Call for St. Joseph, the Mighty Terror of Demons
Reflection delivered today, being the solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of Mary, at St Peter’s Chaplaincy UNN immediately after the stations of the Cross.
In our own generation, there is an unholy spirit in the air that is making an optimistic dangerous inroads with the mission to usurp and reset the society with a slogan ‘Build Back Better’. And this unwanted spirit is gaining momentum because the world is suffering from a broken wounded fatherhood. Many men have lost the sense of what it means to be a Man, refused to accept the sanctity of human Life, to understand motherhood as a gift and acknowledge the authority of fatherhood. We have thrown away the fundamental moral and theological truths. These are untold indications of failed Fatherhood. No wonder we are in a predicament and moral degradation that we find ourselves today. Worse still, even up till this moments, some parts of the world can’t even have a normal worship in the church because secular leaders, due to selfish interest, are telling us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, what to wear and how many people you can be with. Just imagine the chaotic election in the United States, the agonizing structure of corruption in our country Nigeria, is no longer surprising. Even 52% of marital divorces are signs of a broken wounded fatherhood.
Now, who do we look up to? Sports figures by putting on their jerseys, world actors, actresses or musicians whose lifestyles have caused more harm than good? All these are flawed models and broken bridges. Meanwhile, when an engineer or an architect discovers a danger in a building, he gets back to the blueprint. It is with this Special strategy that God, the creator of the world is drawing our attention to a Man with the title, terror of Demons, the virginal father of Jesus, the most chaste, loving and sacrificial husband of the most beautiful woman ever. It is St. Joseph, the only man that is fit as fiddle at this moment to withhold the devil from taking advantage of this brokenness, of this woundedness.
Therefore, We are not going to build back better anything until different families begin to experience a sacrificial and virtuous father in a manner that recognizes the centrality of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Now is the time to bring in St Joseph in a special manner into the Church in order to accompany his most chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary in this battle. Our Blessed Lord, on the cross offered us his Mother as a gift to guide the Church. But in a present world that is suffering different family crisis, contraceptive attacks and threats of abortion, the Holy Spirit inspires the Church for this special gift of a Father. The devil is a strategist but efforts has been set on top gear towards a tremendous victory over darkness.
Meanwhile, the declaration of this year as a Year of St Joseph by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2020 is a commemoration of 150 years that Pope Pius IX declared St Joseph as the Patron of the universal Church. We could imagine why the Church have not thought of the need of St Joseph until the 20th and 21st century. Besides the Holy Spirit has been working behind the scene for this appointed time. History could reveal that it took 1889 years for the Church to get an official document on St. Joseph, under the auspices of Pope Leo XIII, history also reveals that no church was dedicated to St Joseph in Rome until the 20th century. The very first apparition that witnessed St Joseph was that of Fatima precisely in October 1917, when he accompanied our Blessed Virgin Mary to bless the world with the infant Jesus. The appearance of the holy family at Fatima is attested to by St. Lucy de Sanctos who died sometimes in 2005, when he revealed in 1925 from that apparition that the final battle will be over marriage and family. And it was even later in 1921 that Blessed be St Joseph was added to the benediction hymn. In 1962, his name began to appear at Mass. In 1989, a second document about St Joseph was published by Pope St John Paul II. We have not wondered why for 2000 years, no papal name has assumed Pope Joseph and no year have been dedicated to St Joseph until now.
All these recent developments could testify why Jesus never offered this gift of his Father on the Cross as he did about his Mother. The Holy Spirit rather saved this paternal gift in our time which is experiencing huge crisis as never before. So, this critical moment is an era of St. Joseph. he is not in any way competing with Mary, her spouse. Besides Blessed Virgin Mary is greater considering her immaculate conception and title as theotokos (Mother of God), but there is something we need to unpack about those graces in him that fitted him to be the husband of the Mother of God, Pope Francis in patrick corded, the father’s heart, called him a miracle. And just as our Blessed Lord grew up in wisdom and love of God under their care, so also, we who are brothers and sisters of Jesus ought to recognise both of them as our Spiritual parents.
Thus, for us to conquer with him, we need to imbibe some of the great qualities of who in his holiness, virtue, sanctity, maturity and depth of interior life was able to play a special role as Father of God made Man.
His fatherly example: As the head of the family, not withstanding that Mary had a gracious opportunity than her, and in spite of the position of Jesus as God, St Joseph was able to assume the role of leading at prayers in the Holy family. We don’t doubt that mothers are more Spiritual and devoted than fathers but, fathers should learn to lead in the family on every Spiritual exercise. Besides, the rosary, which is our normal traditional family prayer was given first to a man, St. Dominic. When fathers lead at prayers, they gather and appropriate the powers of that family headship and this faith continues in the children exponentially. Come to think of it, though Jesus does not look like Joseph since he is not his biological father, yet when you see Jesus in action, you see that manliness and authoritative figure that Joseph inculcated in him.
He is the chaste guardian of the Virgin: How do you treat your wife? Do you make effort to respect the dignity and sanctity of her body? Or you consider her as a sexual object? Of course we need to recognize that we are rational beings and not animals.
He is the zealous defender of Christ: many men are spiritually impotent. No powers resides in them again for the protection of their family. No man slays a dragon without a sword. This is a time of darkness and death. He was a dammed good man, a good father, let us conquer by raising brothers and sisters for Jesus Christ.
He is the glory of domestic life: How many of your children will go to school and tell others my dad is a glory of domestic life. In stead of being Pillar of families, men have been abusers of families, chasing after money to the detriment of the discipline of the child.
Joseph is Mighty terror of Demons: Only two people who can talk to God and their request is immediately granted. They are Mary and Joseph. Just as Jesus could not refuse the maternal plea of Mary at the wedding at cana so also he wouldn’t refuse any paternal request from Joseph his father. Devil has been rejoicing but now is time to unleash the big guns through St Joseph against every demonic plan.
Finally, the name Joseph mean increase, St Joseph is the increaser who has come to intensify our relationship with Jesus and Mary. Let’s bring in St Joseph and correct the wrongs of our time. Although we may have been wrong, let us Humble ourselves so that God can use our brokeness to elevate our families against the adversaries of Satan. Remember, our devotion to St Joseph begins from being faithful to our family responsibilities. Husbands love your wives, wives be submissive to your husband and children obey your parents and the society will be a better place