In this year of St. Joseph, I wanted to take this time to remind all husbands and fathers to embrace the responsibility to be the spiritual head of your family.
I was recently listening to an interview with Fr. Donald Calloway where he was talking about his recent book, “Consecration to St. Joseph”. He made the point that we as men, as husbands and as fathers, need to be the spiritual leaders in our families. Too often men will renounce our God given role to lead our families to our wife or forgo it entirely where our wife is left to pick up and carry, many times on her own, the mantel that we let drop.
One excuse that we often give to try and comfort ourselves or justify our behavior is admitting that our wife is more spiritual than we are, she knows more of the faith than we do, or she is holier than we are and so it stands to reason that she should be the one to lead.
Fr. Callaway pushed back on this idea by highlighting the fact that while Mary was conceived without sin, St. Joseph still led the Holy Family. Although Mary was the better “prayer”, she supported and trusted St. Joseph to be the spiritual leader, and so did God.
St. Joseph is a model and a reminder for all of us men. A model to see that regardless of who the holier one is in the home, we are still given the amazing task of being the head of our household. And a reminder that our authority to lead is one not of ruling over, but about doing the will of God in love and humility.
In a home where the wife was literally “Full of Grace” and “the Immaculate Conception”, St. Joseph did not abdicate his role to Mary. We too, in all love and humility, are called embrace the mission to lead our family in faith, to lead and carry out the will of the Father in Heaven.
When we are tempted to fall into this false sense of humility or try to outsource our God given responsibility to someone else, even if it is to an amazing wife and mother, just know that St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother are not impressed.
What does that mean concretely? Well, first we can ask ourselves, do we love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our strength, and with all of our souls? Do we trust Him and His will for us and our families? Do we believe that He is with us and that He is calling us to a deeper relationship with Him? Are we going to prayer everyday, without compromise? Are we initiating and leading couple prayer time with our spouse and are we bringing the family together each night for family prayer time? Are we taking the initiative to ask our wives to go on a married couples retreat together, or to learn more about your faith together? Are we leading by example when it comes to humility and forgiveness? Are we going to Confession and bringing our children with us? Do we love Jesus in the Eucharist? Do we foster that same love to our families? Do we help to get the kids ready for Mass on Sundays? Are we leading by example our faithfulness to Christ and His Church? Are we growing in our knowledge of the Scriptures and sharing with our families the ways of the Lord in word and in deed? Are we witnessing the love of God to our friends, families, and even to strangers? St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Foster Father of Jesus Christ, Head of the Holy Family, and Patron of Fathers, Pray for us that we too may do the will of the Father and lead our families in faith and love.
by Jason Angelette, Faith and Marriage