Share this story
Creating a Path That Leads to St. Joseph’s Heart
I rarely gave much thought to the foster-father of Jesus. Inspired by others who have a devotion to St. Joseph, I embarked on a 33-day consecration to him. I found myself continually thinking about him weeks after its completion. His example as a man modeling goodness and love really impressed me. The Holy Spirit has guided me to see that this is missing in the lives of men right now. My experiences with the healing ministry of Unbound — a prayer ministry in the diocese that empowers people to take hold of the freedoms they have been given in Christ — and my own journey reveal to me a need to get back to the core virtues St. Joseph embodied.
Around the same time, Drew Isbell, who chronicles his relationship with St. Joseph here, invited me to a meeting of men that he felt had a heart for St. Joseph, and I was convinced that God was calling me to do something about this. I began to read more about St. Joseph, listened to podcasts and homilies, and even led a small group through Advent with reflections on him.
The Lord continued to place on my heart the idea of a mission for young adult men centered on Jesus’ foster father — a ministry called Sons of Joseph. Through prayer, discerning, and Pope Francis calling for a Year of St. Joseph, I kept getting more positive reinforcement to continue down that path. Soon, the concept started to take shape and the Holy Spirit presented the purpose of Sons of Joseph:
To positively and magnanimously disciple young men and their families toward heaven;
To cultivate intrinsically minded and joyful leaders, embodying the virtues of St. Joseph, who change the world by shepherding all men into:
- embracing their sonship through a loving, passionate, and fortified relationship with the Holy Trinity;
- seeking justice through healing and forgiveness with Unbound (https://www.heartofthefather.com/about/unbound) and the Holy Spirit;
- seeking mastery of heart and will through prayer, prudence, and a growth mindset;
- working toward a healthier lifestyle for Christ in fraternity with other men and with temperance and obedience.
The goal is to compassionately protect and promote, through love, all that God intended to be true, good and beautiful in this world. Families in 2020 potentially spent more time together — in close quarters and with fewer distractions — than in any other recent time. Men worked from home, more or less, or not at all. Children were schooling virtually at home, and mom’s taxi service was shut down, with no place to go. This could have generated more occasions to invest in family and our domestic churches, but did it?
I witnessed how these additional concentrated hours served to magnify the hearts of men. It bared the condition of the man’s heart. If they were stressed, the anxiety grew. If they were angry or annoyed, they struggled with peace. But if their hearts were grateful, they became even more appreciative and engaged.
This amazing opportunity presented itself for men to become more like St. Joseph to grow closer to their families and to God. Yet there was no map to show them his ways or how to guide themselves and their families to heaven. Few men are blessed to have saintly fathers or role models who characterize and personify Josephite traits, so what’s the panacea?
The statistics point to how destructive it is for children to lack a father in their homes. I know many men who work hard to financially provide for their families. They put in the extra hours away from home or work while at home. These fathers may live in the same houses as their children, but they are hardly “present” with them. These absentee fathers have given their kids a house, but not a home.
This is where St. Joseph comes in. He is the model of workers and the pillar of families. This is only one example of why he is needed now, and an initiative must exist to help young men and new dads become competent in the mannerisms of the greatest male saint. A mentorship path is lacking for young men to become guardians of dignity in all that is true, good and beautiful while working to master greatness, or magnanimity.
What I and a team of men devoted to St. Joseph are proposing is a guide and personal roadmap to lead men to greatness, as God originally intended. We are discerning and designing lesson plans for an apostolate, and fraternity, for men who want to personify all that Joseph is.
The journey begins into “Identity and Transforming” our lives. Then it goes into, “Healing, Unbound and Freedom,” followed by a deep dive into “Who is Joseph?” “Virtues and Magnanimity” are honed as the focus becomes about our “Domestic Churches and Leadership” within our spheres of influences. The final preparation is on Activating Josephites” with the full intention of completely living the purpose, leadership, and characteristics of St. Joseph’s Heart in the world.