St. Joseph as a Spiritual Father

Icon of St. Joseph and Jesus

As I help prepare for our family’s Father’s Day celebration this weekend, my thoughts happily keep turning to the foster father of Jesus, thanks to recently working on a Consecration to St. Joseph. I must admit my sorrow at neglecting a deeper relationship with him before now.

As a woman, I pretty much relegated St. Joseph to the guys while putting my focus on the Blessed Mother. I am beginning to see how shortsighted that is, especially since I have been without an earthly father for nearly 20 years (my father and father-in-law both died from cancer three weeks apart in 2001). I saw him more as a model for men in their role as fathers, but missed the importance of knowing him as my own spiritual father. I knew St. Joseph was fatherly to Jesus; I just never saw him as fatherly to me.

I’ve always known that I became a child of God and a member of God’s family through Baptism. I’ve known that Jesus is my Lord and my brother, and that Jesus gave me His mother as my spiritual mother. Well, that also has to mean that St. Joseph is my spiritual father.

Just as I have grown in appreciation for the Blessed Mother as a spiritual mother — not meant to replace my biological mother, I now have the desire to learn more about St. Joseph and how his spiritual fatherhood can draw me closer to my heavenly Father, and help me grow in virtue and holiness. Venerable Pope Pius VII said:

If Joseph was so engaged, heart and soul, in protecting and providing for that little family in Nazareth, don’t you think that now in heaven he is the same loving father and guardian of the whole Church, of all its members, as he was of its Head on earth?

As we mark Father’s Day, we should consider asking St. Joseph’s intercession for the men we love who are fathers or who will one day be fathers, including our clergy. Here are two prayers that I recently learned that I especially like:

Memorare to St. Joseph

Remomber, O Most Chaste Spouse of the Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to they protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, my spiritual father, and beg your protection. O Foster Father of the Redeemer, despise not my petitions, but in your goodness hear and answer me. Amen.

Prayer of the Holy Cloak Novena

O Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, you who were chosen by God above all men to be the earthy head of the most holy of families. I beseech you to accept me within the folds of your holy cloak, that you may become the guardian and custodian of my soul.

From this moment on, I choose you as my father, my protector, my counselor, my patron, and I beseech you to place in your custody my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I possess, my life and my death.

Look upon me as one of your children; defend me from the treachery of my enemies, invisible or otherwise, assist me at all times in all my necessities; console me in the bitterness of my life, and especially at the hour of my death. Say but one word for me to the Divine Redeemer whom you were deemed worthy to hold in your arms, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, your most chaste spouse. Request for me those blessings which will lead me to salvation. Include me amongst those who are most dear to you and I shall set forth to prove myself worthy of your special patronage. Amen.

by Ann Gundlach, Former Director of Communications