At just the right time, the Catholic Church is blessed by a renewed kindling of love and devotion to St. Joseph. This new book is an outgrowth of that love, and a practical guide to renewing our own devotion to “our spiritual father.”
What does it mean to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph?
We are perhaps more familiar to the practice of personal consecration to Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord. According to author Father Donald Calloway, consecration to St. Joseph “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 into his paternal care so that he can help you acquire his virtues and become holy.”
With the renewal to the act of formal consecration to Mary, Catholics worldwide are discovering the joy and spiritual bounty of a consecration to St. Joseph as well. Total consecration to St. Joseph means that an individual or a group (perhaps a parish?) makes a formal act of filial entrustment to our spiritual father for 30 days (a handy schedule to time the beginning and completion of the consecration journey is provided in the text or at the website, http:// consecrationtostjoseph.org) so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you closer to God.
As St. Peter Julian Eymard, a 19th-century French Catholic priest and founder of two institutes devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, observed, “devotion to St. Joseph is one of the choicest graces that God can give to a soul, for it is tantamount to revealing the entire treasury of our Lord’s graces. When God wishes to raise a soul to greater heights, he unites it to St. Joseph by giving it a strong love for the good saint.” As St. John of the Cross said early in his life, “I did not understand him [St. Joseph] well enough, but that will change,” having been encouraged by his friend, St. Teresa of Avila, to get to know and love St. Joseph better.
Would it not also be good advice for our souls?
Father Calloway gives us further encouragement in this simple, practical, yet profoundly devout work. First, we need the spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph to help us protect marriage and the family. As St. Lucia, the visionary of the Fatima apparitions observed, “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family” (Voce di Padre Pio magazine, 2008).
Second, Father Calloway points us to the lost, and the fact that the world needs to be re-evangelized, including a vast majority of baptized Christians.
In an apostolic exhortation titled “Redemptoris Custos” written 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 Christ, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world in those lands and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and are now put to a hard test.” (“On the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and the Church,” no. 29, available at www.vatican.va). Father Calloway spurs us on to this good work: “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 Christ, we need to bring St. Joseph onto the battlefield.”
How do we get started?
Walking in holy imitation of the methodology of St. Louis de Montfort and the 33-day Marian consecration, Father Calloway does not seek to re-invent the wheel, but guides in a similar fashion and structure on our consecration to St. Joseph. He has a 33-day calendar, a light touch if we happen to miss a day, and a way to arrange your particular consecration calendar around the liturgical feasts that are associated with St. Joseph. Perhaps it’s best, recommends Father Calloway, that we select a date to begin that coincides with a liturgical feast of St. Joseph. 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. St. Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him his undivided attention, protection, and guidance. The book envisions not only individual but group acts of consecration to St. Joseph.
How to make your consecration as an individual
It’s recommended to choose a day that coincides with a liturgical feast of St. Joseph. Your consecration date is day 33 of the program. Basically, you will spend about 20-30 minutes a day on a short exposition on one of the invocations in the powerful Litany of St. Joseph, followed by a reading on St. Joseph, concluding with the recitation of the Litany of St. Joseph.
If you miss a day, just make it up and continue your preparation. Like all litanies of the faith, there is power in understanding the breadth of the character and attributes of St. Joseph — he is noble son of the House of David, foster father of the Son of God, husband of the Mother of God, chaste and just, prudent and brave, obedient and loyal — what a panoply of gracious virtues to emulate! Where St. Joseph calls me forward is the simple phrase — pattern of patience — that speaks a continuing challenge to a life that is too anxious and too worried.
We fell in love with Father Calloway and this wonderful book, and plan our own consecration journey soon. What is more, the addenda at the end of this book furthers the call of consecration to St. Joseph, with a helpful listing of churches and shrines to St. Joseph worldwide. From nearby Santa Fe to Krakow, Poland; from Mexico City to Knock, Ireland; from Rome to Nazareth, there are wonderful pilgrimage sites worldwide that could make a special visit of consecration a life-changing renewal of faith.
St, Joseph, sacred father of our faith, model of workers, pillar of family life, have mercy on us!