Reflection 64: Hearing the Voice of God (Re-blogged)

Reflection 64: Hearing the Voice of God

Video

When you are at church, do you listen?  Specifically, do you listen to the voice of God?  Often times we sit and listen to the homily and our mind wanders and we miss all or most of what was said.  Where does your mind wander?  The truth is that sometimes a wandering mind is from the Lord.  Sometimes there may be one thing said at Mass that our Lord then places on your heart to ponder.  Do not be afraid to let Jesus take you on a spiritual journey while at Mass or while alone in prayer.  He may often wish to speak a homily directly to your soul (See Diary #221).

Reflect, today, upon how well you reflect.  True prayerful reflection is not simply daydreaming.  It’s not distraction that leads us to obsess or worry about this thing or that.  Prayerful reflection is a way of letting God take hold of our imagination so as to lead us into His Truth.  He often desires to lead us into a particular word of Truth that we need to know at that time.  How well do you do this?  Ponder your prayerful pondering and next time you pray do not be afraid to let God take control.

Lord, I know You speak to me day and night.  Help me to hear Your sweet voice and to listen.  Help me to allow You to take control of my prayer and to direct me into all You have to say.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Investigation: Cardinal Wuerl received $2 million in 2020 for ‘ministry activities’

By CNA Staff

March 4, 2021 Catholic News Agency The Dispatch 8Print

Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, retired archbishop of Washington, during a private audience at the Vatican Oct. 30, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Washington D.C., Mar 4, 2021 / 05:32 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop emeritus of Washington DC who stepped down in 2018 amid scandal, received over $2 million from the archdiocese last year for unspecified “ministry activities,” an investigation has found.

A March 3 examination of the archdiocese’s financial records by The Pillar found that Wuerl was allocated $2,012,639 for “continuing ministry activities” during fiscal year 2020.

The amount appropriated to Wuerl is up from approximately $1.5 million in 2019. The archdiocesan financial statement does not detail what “continuing ministry activities” the funds facilitated.

In contrast, the amount the archdiocese allocated for “Formation of priests” declined slightly from $1.1 million in 2019 to just over $1 million in 2020.

Similarly, “Archdiocesan charitable giving” in 2020 was listed at just over $401,000, down from just over $651,000 in fiscal year 2019.

The Pillar confirmed that Wuerl gave at least one retreat to a group of U.S. bishops in January 2021. The archdiocese did not respond to The Pillar’s questions about what other ministry responsibilities, if any, the archdiocese had given Wuerl.

Revelations during summer 2018 about the sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick raised questions about whether Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor, was aware of McCarrick’s misdeeds.

McCarrick was found to have sexually abused both minors and adult seminarians and priests, and Pope Francis laicized him in Feb. 2019.

For his part, Wuerl has insisted he knew nothing about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct until 2018.

But previous reporting by CNA, as well as the recent McCarrick Report, found that Wuerl was made aware in 2004 of inappropriate conduct, apparently not of a sexual nature, on the part of McCarrick involving an adult.

Though Wuerl forwarded a report of the alleged misconduct to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C., no record has been found that the nuncio, who by that time had fallen seriously ill, ever forwarded it to the Vatican.

The McCarrick Report also details a 2010 incident whereby Wuerl advised against then-Pope Benedict sending a birthday greeting to McCarrick because there remained “the possibility that the New York Times is going to publish a nasty article, already prepared, about the Cardinal’s ‘moral life.’”

Wuerl, 80, was appointed to lead the Washington archdiocese in May 2006. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2010. He was previously Bishop of Pittsburgh since 1988.

Wuerl had submitted his resignation to the Vatican in 2015 upon turning 75, as is the requirement for bishops.

Pope Francis accepted Wuerl’s resignation in Oct. 2018 at Wuerl’s request, but asked him to remain as Apostolic Administrator until the appointment of his successor. In May 2019, Archbishop— now Cardinal— Wilton Gregory was installed in Washington.

The archdiocese of Washington released a statement March 4 following The Pillar’s report, saying the funds in the “continuing ministry activities” account are donations “made by persons who want to cover Cardinal Wuerl’s expenses and ministerial needs.”

These include “living expenses, prior travel for business in Rome, as well as for charitable requests asked of the archbishop emeritus,” the statement said, adding that the “donations have accumulated over time.”

However, The Pillar noted that the funds allocated for Wuerl are classified as “net assets without donor restrictions,” meaning they are not subject to “donor imposed restrictions stipulating how, when and/or if the net assets are available for expenditure.”

The designation appears at odds with the archdiocese’s statement that the funds were donated with the specific intention of covering Wuerl’s expenses.

The Pillar contacted the archdiocese to ask specifically about the funds’ designation—  which is regulated both by state law and the IRS— and did not receive a reply by press time.

“All the expenses of Cardinal Gregory and Cardinal Wuerl are reviewed by members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council throughout the year. All expenditures go through the Archdiocese’s normal budget and internal control procedures, which are also audited by an accounting firm annually,” the archdiocesan statement concluded.

The U.S. bishops’ conference has guidelines for providing for retired bishops, recommending that their diocese give them a stipend of at least $2,250 per month, as well as housing, health insurance, a car, travel expenses, secretarial assistance if needed, and a suitable funeral and burial.

McCarrick, Wuerl’s predecessor, is known to have funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop’s Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Washington has so far declined to disclose sources, sums, and uses of money, though it has acknowledged that the fund exists.

Economy adds 379K jobs in first report of Biden presidency (THANK YOU PRESIDENT TRUMP!)

Economy adds 379K jobs in first report of Biden presidency
The economy added a whopping 379,000 jobs in February, a major improvement from the 49,000 jobs added the previous month, and over double the 175,000 economists expected.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent from 6.3 percent last month, and the number of unemployed people remained similar at 10 million.

The latest jobs data — covering the first full months of the Biden presidency — points to early signs of improvement for an economy still struggling to dig itself out of a deep hole.

Trump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol

BY JOHN KRUZEL – 

Former President Trump, his eldest son and several of his allies were sued on Friday by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)t In…

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Former President Trump, his eldest son and several of his allies were sued on Friday by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) over their role in the run-up to the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

The 65-page complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., accuses Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of inciting the riot and violating a number of federal and D.C. laws.

Each defendant was among the speakers at a pro-Trump rally that immediately preceded the deadly Capitol breach. The lawsuit depicts the incendiary rally speeches as a tipping point that culminated a months-long disinformation campaign to push the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions,” the complaint states. “As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified money damages and asks for a court order requiring Trump and his allies to provide at least a week’s notice before holding any future rally in D.C. related to an election.

Among the allegations contained in the nine-count complaint is that defendants conspired to prevent lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence from certifying President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s election win, in violation of a federal civil rights law.

Brooks called Swalwell’s lawsuit “frivolous.”

“Under no circumstances will Swalwell, or any other Socialist, stop me from fighting for America,” Brooks said in a statement.

Attempts to reach Trump and Giuliani for comment were not successful.

The lawsuit is the latest instance of potential legal exposure for the former president. Trump also faces a criminal probe in Georgia for pressuring officials to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral win and is under investigation in New York for possible financial crimes and civil violations related to his businesses.

The Biden administration’s Justice Department also faces pressure from progressives and Trump critics to pursue criminal charges against the former president.

Swalwell’s lawsuit comes less than a month after Trump was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial over his role in the Jan. 6 attack. Swalwell, a former county prosecutor in California, served as one of the House impeachment managers in the Senate trial.

Senate rejects Sanders $15 minimum wage hike


BY ALEXANDER BOLTON – 03/05/21 12:46 PM EST 105

Just In…

Senate rejects Sanders $15 minimum wage hike

© Greg Nash

The Senate on Friday voted to reject a proposal sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. 

Seven Democrats and one Independent who caucuses with Democrats voted against it. The vote has yet to be gaveled closed, though it appeared every senator had cast their vote by 12:15 p.m.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Angus King (I-Maine.) voted to sustain a procedural objection — a budget point of order — against the wage increase.

Coons’s vote was especially surprising as he is one of President Biden’s closest allies in the Senate, but he and Carper also represent a business-friendly state.

The Senate voted 58 to 42 against an attempt to waive a procedural objection against adding the wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The overwhelming vote raises doubts whether Biden will be able to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 at any point in his first term.

Until Friday’s vote, Manchin, an emerging powerbroker in the 50-50 Senate, had been the only Senate Democrat to openly state his opposition to a nationwide $15 wage standard. Manchin instead favors setting it at $11 an hour and indexing it to inflation.

With eight members of the Democratic caucus voting against it on procedural grounds, it’s hard to see Biden getting his priority anytime soon. Instead, he is likely going to have to compromise on raising the federal minimum wage, which has not been increased since 2009, to some amount below $15https://587d678c77877163388bf41d0c1b26b3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Biden reiterated his strong support for it during a conference call with Senate Democrats last week and invited them to keep working on the wage increase.

“The president wants us to move forward right now on COVID relief but he has made clear he supports an increase in the minimum wage 100 percent,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an outspoken proponent of a $15 minimum wage, told reporters after the call.

Friday’s minimum wage vote came shortly after news broke that centrists Democrats had forced their leaders to accept a significant reduction in weekly unemployment benefits.

Democrats announced Friday morning they were near a deal to set the weekly unemployment benefit at $300 a week instead of the $400 a week favored by Biden and included in the House-passed relief deal.

In a concession to liberals, the emerging unemployment benefits agreement would exempt up to $10,200 in benefits received in 2020 from taxes and extend the boost to federal unemployment benefits to Oct. 4 instead of Aug. 29, the end date set by the House.

Moderate Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also voted for the procedural objection to Sanders’s $15 per hour minimum wage amendment.  

Every other Senate Republican voted the same way.

Some Democrats expressed uneasiness about Sanders’s proposal to raise tipped wages earned by restaurant workers at a time when many restaurants are struggling to stay open during a drop in business because of the pandemic.

The vote was largely symbolic after the Senate parliamentarian ruled last week that a provision raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 violated the Byrd Rule and could not be included in the relief package that Democrats plan to pass with a simple-majority vote under special budget rules.

Proponents of the $15 per hour wage may take some solace in the fact that Friday’s vote was on waiving a budget point-of-order objection to the amendment rather than a straight up-or-down vote on the amendment itself — leaving Democrats who voted no some wiggle room to vote yes in the future.

Because the parliamentarian ruled the wage increase violated the Byrd Rule, it would have stopped the entire relief package from passing with a simple-majority vote if it were successfully added.

But the procedural objection — which would have required 60 votes to waive — could have been sustained by Republican votes alone in the 50-50 Senate, indicating Democratic centrists are sending a message.

The Beiging of Bishop Barron

MARCH 4, 2021

ERIC SAMMONS

Bishop Barron

Bishop Robert Barron first came to fame in the Catholic world for his fight against what he called “beige Catholicism.” The founder of Word on Fire rightly saw that a milquetoast, flaccid expression of Catholicism—so common in parishes across the country and embraced by the liberal elements of the Church—is a death knell for the Church. Barron wrote eloquent articles and produced polished videos reminding Catholics that the Faith is more than the insipid liturgies and watered-down teachings they were being fed each week. Justifiably, his influence grew and eventually he was named the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. 

Yet since being named bishop, Barron has pivoted his ministry, presenting Word on Fire as navigating between the Scylla of beige Catholicism and the Charybdis of “extreme traditionalist Catholicism.” In doing so, however, Barron misses the changing face of the traditionalist movement while falling prey to the very beige Catholicism he originally opposed

When you read Barron’s descriptions of traditionalist Catholics, you find the words “extreme,” “radical,” and “angry” peppered throughout. Apparently, in his view traditional Catholics are a fringe movement of socially-inept people who desire to overthrow the Church and install their own 1950’s-style religion in its place. Clearly the good bishop hasn’t kept his finger on the pulse of this movement. Traditionalism is booming (in this country, at least), and it’s a diverse, joyful group of people who want exactly what Barron first promoted: a faith that’s no longer watered-down to conform with the surrounding culture. 

Why is Barron so wrong in his assessment of the traditionalist movement? Some of his error is understandable; it’s true that traditional Catholics have long had a reputation for being mean and judgmental. This reputation is partially justified. From the early 1970’s until Pope Benedict’s motu proprio liberalizing the use of the traditional Latin Mass (what Benedict called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass), traditional Catholics were truly on the peripheries of the Church. 

Traditionalists endured persecution from Church officials and fellow Catholics, all because they wanted to practice the faith as countless generations had practiced it before them. Labeled “schismatic,” they were given less respect by far than heretic theologians. While most Catholics ignored the growing abuse crisis among bishops and priests out of a misplaced sense of loyalty and obedience, traditionalists were among the few who spoke out…and they were attacked for it. It’s no surprise that perhaps they had a chip on their collective shoulder. 

Much has changed in the Church since those days. In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict acknowledged the key point that traditionalists had long argued: that the traditional Latin Mass had never—and could never—be abrogated. In addition, the abuse scandal went public in 2002, showing that traditional Catholics had been right all along in calling bishops to account for their terrible mismanagement of that crisis. 

And that’s not all that’s changed: the 2018 McCarrick scandal demonstrated to the world that the episcopacy is still horribly corrupt, in spite of PR-driven efforts to address the abuse crisis. Church leaders were still covering up their sins and illegal activities while doing little to nothing to boldly proclaim the Gospel to the nations. Catholics realized that this wasn’t just beige Catholicism, it was black Catholicism. Yet bishops—including Bishop Barron—still speak about the McCarrick affair like an English gentleman who sees someone picking up the wrong fork at dinner. It’s unfortunate, but let’s not get too worked up, shall we?

Because of all this, traditional Catholicism has boomed as an alternative to the status quo—beige—Catholicism that Barron now represents. The movement has become far more diverse than it was back when you had to drive hours to find an underground Latin Mass to attend. Catholics from all backgrounds are now being drawn to traditional expressions of the faith, and while perhaps it was anger at events like the McCarrick scandal or the bishops’ sycophantic response to state COVID-19 restrictions that originally motivated them, they fell in love with tradition and now stay because they believe traditional Catholicism is the fullest expression of the Catholic Faith.

Traditional Catholicism is no longer monolithic, either, if it ever was; it encompasses a variety of opinions and views on how best to practice the faith and reform the Church. There are only two unifying threads within traditionalism: a love for the traditional Latin Mass and a suspicion about making Vatican II the sole key for unlocking the mysteries of Scripture and Tradition. Consider some of the public figures who attend the Latin Mass regularly, such as Scott HahnJanet Smith, and Leah Darrow. These figures are not the “mean, angry traditionalists” that populate Bishop Barron’s caricatures. They are joyful Catholics who have simply found a deeper devotion to Christ through the practice of traditional expressions of the Faith.

There lies the irony of Barron’s negative views of traditionalism. Catholics are fed up with beige Catholicism, but they don’t want the half-measures that Barron recommends in response. Instead of replacing felt-banner 1970s liturgies with slightly less gauche ones, they want liturgies that give all the glory to God. Instead of substituting heretical teachings with orthodox yet oh-so culturally-relevant homilies, they want unadulterated, politically-incorrect, and unapologetic proclamations of the Faith. And instead of a half-hearted, cover-your-*ss response to the abuse scandal, they want a deep cleaning of the hierarchy, from top to bottom. They see that Catholicism as practiced since the 1970’s is far worse than beige, and Barron’s response itself has lost all color. Give us that ol’ time religion, they say.

It’s clear that Bishop Barron is far and away one of the most talented members of the American episcopate. Unfortunately, it’s also clear that he’s missing the new pulse beating within the Church: the strong and joyful beat of traditional Catholicism. Instead of considering it his enemy, he should recognize it as the fulfillment of what he’s been striving for all along.

[Photo Credit: Jeffrey Bruno/Catholic News Eric Sammons

By Eric Sammons

Eric Sammons is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine. He is the author, most recently, of The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did (Catholic Answers, 2017).

Redemptive Suffering in the Early Church

SHANE KAPLER

Redemptive Suffering in the Early Church

In Part One of our series we looked at the Epistle of James’s revolutionary teaching on the value of suffering upon our souls, and in Part 2 we saw how St. Paul expands upon this insight to show how our sufferings also benefit the souls of others. In this final article we want to explore these apostolic insights were faithfully communicated to the next generation of Christians. 

Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch, Syria, wrote of suffering and martyrdom during his transport to Rome, on his way to die in the Colosseum (AD 110). Many of Ignatius’s statements echo Paul’s teaching on suffering. In Ignatius’s Epistle to the Ephesians he wrote, “My spirit is in sacrificial service for the cross, which is a scandal to unbelievers [1 Cor 1:18]”; and he told the Magnesians, “If we do not willingly embrace dying for his passion, neither is his life in us [Rom 8:17].” When Ignatius wrote to the Christians in Rome, he asked that they not attempt to intervene on his behalf: “Permit me to be an imitator of the sufferings of my God. If anyone possesses [Christ] in himself, let him consider what I want and let him suffer with me.” Like Paul, he saw his life being poured out as a “libation,” a drink offering (Phil 2:17; 2 Tim 4:6). He linked his martyrdom to the offering of Christ, re-presented to the Father in the Church’s Eucharist: “Permit me to be food for the beasts, through them I will reach God. I am the wheat of God and I compete through beasts’ teeth to be found the pure bread of Christ.”

Ignatius’s sacrifice consisted of more than the act of martyrdom. It had already begun in the mistreatment he suffered at the hands of his Roman captors (Rom 5:1). Kenneth Howell, in his masterful translation and commentary on Ignatius’s epistles, highlights the bishop’s use of antipsuchon, or “substitute soul.” Appropriating Paul’s words to the Colossians, Ignatius knew that his suffering benefitted more souls than just his own. He told the Smyrneans: “My spirit and my bonds are your substitute soul”; and their bishop Polycarp, “I and my bonds that you love are your substitute soul in every way.” To the Trallians he wrote, “My spirit makes you pure not only now but also when I attain to God.” He expounded upon Paul’s theology of the mystical body in his letter to the Philadelphians, “My brothers, I am being completely poured out for love of you and with exceeding joy I try to make you secure. It is really not I but Jesus Christ who does so. In him, as a prisoner I am all the more afraid because I am still incomplete. However, your prayer will make me complete for God so that I may obtain a share in the lot where I received mercy.” Ignatius made it clear that it was Christ who accomplished all of this in his body. Union with Christ would make the Philadelphians’ prayer for Ignatius efficacious and his perseverance in suffering meritorious for them.

The early Church knew that God’s providence extended to every area of their lives. The Didache, or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (c. AD 100), directed readers to “accept as blessings the casualties that befall you, assured that nothing happens without God.” Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258) taught that God made use of calamity to correct the erring; but he also recognized some sufferings as no more than the consequence of life in a fallen world: “[W]e are all, good and evil, contained in one household. Whatever happens within the house we suffer with equal fate, until, when the end of the temporal life shall be attained, we shall be distributed among the homes either of eternal death or immortality.” It is our union with Christ that injects meaning and purpose into these common sufferings.

The Church’s meditation upon suffering has continued down through the centuries. In the thirteenth century, for instance, St. Anthony of Padua sagely remarked, “God sends us afflictions for various reasons: First, to increase our merit; second, to preserve in us the grace of God; third, to punish us for our sins; and fourth, to show forth his glory and his other attributes.” In our own time, Pope St. John Paul II reflected deeply upon the subject in his apostolic letter Savifici Doloris, or On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering. John Paul was intimately acquainted with suffering. His mother died when he was only eight years old, and his father and brother before he turned twenty-one. He lived decades of his life under Nazi and Soviet occupation. He survived an assassin’s bullet and endured the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. John Paul descended into some of the darkest experiential places known to man, only to discover that he was not alone; the Crucified was there, awaiting him: 

Christ does not explain in the abstract the reason for suffering, but before all else he says: “Follow me! Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my cross.” Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the sufferings of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man’s level and becomes, in a sense, the individual’s personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy.

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This is the wisdom of the Cross (1 Cor 1:23–24)—the rich fruit borne of the Epistle of James’s admonition to “count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials” (1:2). The Church of the twenty-first century needs to re-appropriate this wisdom. Praise be to God, who gives generously to all who ask (James 1:5).

This article was adapted from Shane Kapler’s James: Jewish Roots, Catholic Fruits (Angelico Press, 2021).ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

By Shane Kapler

Shane Kapler is the author of The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Seven Core Beliefs of CatholicsThrough, With, and In Him: The Prayer Life of Jesus and How to Make It Our Own and The God Who is Love: Explaining Christianity From Its Center.  He can be found online at www.explainingchristianity.com.

Men Need St. Joseph (Amen!)

CONSTANCE T. HULL

Men need St. Joseph. Women also need St. Joseph, but we live in a time when men are under constant attack. Masculinity is repeatedly labeled as toxic, misogynistic, and aggressive. Men are told they must either become more like women or sit down and be quiet. They are mocked and berated. For decades, we have seen men portrayed by Hollywood as children in need of mothering from domineering women who “know” better. 

We ourselves within the Church have absorbed and even accepted many of the lies our culture tells us about men. Within our parishes, men and women are pitted against one another in power struggles or offered sentimental versions of the Faith, which has led many men to disengage. Women complain that they don’t have enough of a role in the Church, and yet, it is women who dominate most parish staffs and ministries. Men have taken a backseat within our ranks lest we seem to be sexist. At times, the priesthood gives into societal pressure since they don’t want to be seen as a part of the corrupt patriarchy our culture is constantly telling us exists, especially within the Catholic Church.

After decades of attacks on men and masculinity, the Church has declared a Year of St. Joseph. A year to celebrate a man, the holiest of men, who was the earthly father of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the husband of the most perfect woman to ever life, Our Blessed Mother. The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church through the stormy seas of our present age, and Our Lord has asked us to turn to his foster-father as a guide. This is especially true of men. Now is the time to reclaim authentic masculinity.

We need men to rise up and embrace their God-given masculinity. To lead with a manly heart burning with the zeal and love of God that will help transform our families, our parishes, the Church, and the world. This is not an easy task in a time when so many men come from broken homes and who have been taught their entire lives that their masculinity is a threat, as opposed to a tremendous gift from God given for humanity’s sake.

St. Joseph is the saint to lead men on the path to holiness and into an authentic masculinity that enters into the depths of the Most Sacred Heart. Men devoted to prayer, hard work, sacrifice, spiritual warfare, truth, love, and the deep desire to lead souls to Christ. St. Joseph is not only the intercessor men need within family life, he is the masculine saint our priests need to lead as spiritual fathers called to lay down their lives for the Church.

How do men come to a deeper understanding and filial love for a man who said absolutely nothing in Sacred Scripture? As Fr. Calloway tapped into in his book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, men can come to know St. Joseph through his titles, as well as in how he acted in Sacred Scripture. In looking at the titles the Church has given to St. Joseph, men can meditate on the virtues and masculinity St. Joseph lived as the head of the Holy Family.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Noble Offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-Father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Zealous Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.

This first section listing St. Joseph’s titles in the Litany of St. Joseph, tells us something crucial about St. Joseph. His entire identity was rooted in Christ, salvation history, and Our Blessed Mother. He was first and foremost a man of God. Authentic masculinity—as well as authentic femininity—can only be lived in relation to God. It is through our profound union with God that He can transform men into the holy men we need. 

A man who does not have God at the dead center of his life will not be able to live his vocation fully. Our culture is divorced from a properly ordered understanding of masculinity because it has abandoned God. Once we are cut off from God, the understanding of man and woman becomes disconnected as well. Catholic men must be men of prayer, penance, and a desire to follow God’s will at all costs. 

We can also see that St. Joseph’s masculinity was fully realized in relation to Our Blessed Mother. In Mulieris Dignitatem, St. John Paul II explained how women draw masculinity out of men and help them to live their vocations. St. Joseph’s manhood was perfected through his intimate spiritual union in marriage with Mary. This is also why priests need Our Blessed Mother, as well as holy women united to her, to draw out their masculinity in a profound and beautiful way. Masculinity is always lived in relation to femininity—spiritually and/or naturally—but it should never become effeminate. The same is true for women in relation to masculinity.

St. Joseph is a defender and protector of the Holy Family. These attributes of masculinity are very often under attack. From a man simply holding a door for a woman to the men who run into save others, men are accused of being aggressive because of their God-given drive to defend and protect others. Regardless of what our culture tells us, men are meant to defend and protect. The titles go on in the Litany:

Joseph Most Just, pray for us.
Joseph most Chaste, pray for us.
Joseph Most Prudent, pray for us.
Joseph Most Courageous, pray for us.
Joseph Most Obedient, pray for us.
Joseph Most Faithful, pray for us.

This next section lists virtues St. Joseph emulated throughout his life. He was just, chaste, prudent, courageous, obedient, and faithful. Men are called to be strong and gentle, pure and passionate, humble and courageous, and to submit always to God’s will in faith. Masculinity is not simply either/or. A father has to be both firm and gentle with his children at times. Men must defend the truth courageously, but do so in a loving way that is a reflection of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Joseph helps men live this both/and aspect of masculinity that has become blurred in our culture

The last titles in the Litany are reflections of a life of Christian discipleship and how St. Joseph leads men to holier lives lived in union with the Most Holy Trinity and in the service of others.

Mirror of Patience, pray for us.
Lover of Poverty, pray for us.
Model of Workmen, pray for us.
Glory of Domestic Life, pray for us.
Guardian of Virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of Families, pray for us.
Comfort of the Afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the Sick, pray for us.
Patron of the Dying, pray for us.
Terror of Demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

St. Joseph shows men how to be providers by holding up both work and family life in his person. He is a man of patience and poverty in an age of materialism and excess. He leads men back to their true center through a life of simple dedication to their families, communities, and serving God in every moment of the day.

St. Joseph is also present to those men who carry the heavy Cross of chronic illness, suffering, and affliction or who walk with those who are sick. He is there at the moment of death when the Enemy seeks to take souls away from Christ through fear and despair. In other words, St. Joseph is a loving spiritual father who is with men at every stage of life and who teaches men how to be present to those in their lives who are suffering.

One of his titles that is fitting for our times is Terror of Demons. We are at war. We are engaged in a spiritual war and the souls of our families, parishes, and our nations are under attack. Men fight and defend in battle. It is one of the awesome and difficult responsibilities of men in this life to wage war when necessary. In the spiritual life, it is always necessary and we need men in our families and our priests calling us to fight for the salvation of souls. St. Joseph will lead men to fight the spiritual battles that will win souls for Christ.

Men truly need St. Joseph. In this time of virulent attack on men, we women need to be leading the men in our lives—husbands, brothers, priests, friends, brothers in Christ—to St. Joseph and to embrace their masculinity. We cannot continue to engage in the disordered power struggles that are celebrated in our culture. We must seek to live our God-given masculinity and femininity side-by-side in order to reveal to the world the complementarity of the sexes, not just in marriage, but as human beings. St. Joseph, ora pro nobis.

By Constance T. Hull

Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in philosophy.  Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (www.swimmingthedepths.com).