St Joseph is a model and powerful intercessor for men who are discerning God’s will. Like many of us, he had his own plans, desires and dreams. Work hard. Build a career. Settle down with the woman he loved and raise a family. Sound familiar? Sounds great. And then God stepped in! Mary’s news that she was pregnant turned his world upside down. He didn’t know what to do. Confused. Disoriented. Afraid. How could this be? What did it mean? We cannot really know what Joseph went through at this moment and there is much speculation amongst the Church Fathers that is beautiful and helpful for our meditation. But essentially it was too much for him, so broken hearted, he decided to divorce her and move on with his life (Mt 1:18-19).
Then suddenly he received his own annunciation! God broke through again and (somewhat) explained the mystery he was involved in and how He was asking him to respond (Mt 1:20-24). Joseph was like us. A human being, a real man, struggling to understand and do the will of the Father, wrestling with God’s will and God’s ways! I wonder if he asked himself, and asked God “why me?” as so many of us have done when faced with the call to live for Christ with an undivided heart, when asked to live consecrated chastity? Joseph, I imagine, struggled to do the Father’s will. It must have sounded crazy to him. He had no idea what it could mean and God only gives us enough light for the next step! But he listened and he obeyed (Mt 1:24; 2:14). His was the obedience of faith (Heb 11). He acted manfully. He made a decision. Even though he didn’t have the whole picture! From then on, his life was marked by this “special grace of intimacy” with Jesus and Mary.
“Ite Ad Joseph” is a wise spiritual maxim. Go to Joseph. He knows. He understands. He will help you struggle with the will of God and move forward. He will strengthen you in your struggles with chastity. He will help you make a decision to follow the Lord. He is the heavenly patron of all consecrated men and women. He is a model of manliness for all priests, called to chaste, spousal love for the Church and entrusted as guardians of the Holy Eucharist. He is the guardian of virgins and spouse most chaste and he is a real man! He is the terror of demons! Ite ad Joseph!
Fr. Emmanuel Mansford