Written by Paul Hanrahan


We are certainly living in dark times. Despite the amazing life style afforded modern man (especially in the western world) through technology, medical science, education, nutrition, transport etc. and all that these advances provide for our health and comfort, we somehow seemed to have come to this very dark place in history. Many see the signs of the times as the end of the world approaching. Many others have succumbed almost through despair for the future.

We must always remember, God is in control. Not man, not our governments and institutions (many of whom think they are) and not even the hierarchy of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The control these leaders seem to have is an illusion. For the most part these leaders have come to accept the illusion for reality and so have many of the population in turn.

Roman Emperors were able to “govern” the people of their day, though exercising despotic, narcissistic whims of their own, by a simple understanding of the requirements of most people; “give the people bread and entertainment!” In the words of French novelist and journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

At Family Life International we believe we are living in these times because from all eternity, Almighty God had a plan for our lives. Ever since my return to the one true Faith, I have always felt God was running things in my life. I have seen His hand at work in many events and moments of my life especially in the pro-life, pro-family apostolate I have been called to. The difficulty sometimes has been in maintaining my patience and trust that He will continue to guide us.

In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

This is great news for Catholics especially, but for the world generally, as Saint Joseph is the model Father for all and the world is falling to ruin, especially because families are falling to ruin and this because of the great lack of real fathers in the modern world. The problem of fatherlessness has been identified and discussed now for decades but the problem continues to grow more desperate each year.

What is the antidote to all those issues that lay behind this grave condition mankind finds ourselves in? How do you overcome the materialism of secular society? How do you overcome the relativism and subjectivism behind modern ‘philosophies’? How do you overcome the sex saturated world of pornography, contraception, abortion, etc? How does modern man identify the lack of virtue in men that brought us the fatherlessness ruining families and lives?

Fatherhood is a learned concept not an inherent one. It is instinctive to desire to procreate and have your own children but how to raise them, especially in a world in chaos takes instruction and example. Fatherhood is exemplified in a perfect way by God our Father. He is Father to all and loves perfectly. Everything we have is given to us by Him. He is always there to guide us and is always calling those who stray and forgives unconditionally.

However in a fallen world we need the lived example of one who has lived as one of us. Our own fathers are meant to be such role models and there are of course many great examples of such heroic fathers, even in our troubled times, however for many it doesn’t exist and the problems deepen and grow more dire each passing year.

Fatherhood plays a key role in the Church also where the priests are meant to be our spiritual “fathers” and is why they are addressed as such. Their Bishops are meant to be fathers in almost every sense of the word and so the priests can learn how to be fathers to their own flocks, their parishioners. They in turn are then able to guide the fathers in their care and help them through their daily struggles. Fatherhood though has broken down at all levels and the Church, the family and consequently, society is suffering.

We have in our midst it so happens, one who embodies the perfection of fatherhood at the natural and spiritual level. Saint Joseph was granted the graces given all the other saints we are told by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and is the greatest of all saints after the Blessed Virgin Mary, his spouse. The Litany of Saint Joseph gives us all his honours and titles:-


 Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us .
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David,
Light of the patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most valiant,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Joseph most strong,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of artisans,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the wretched,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. He made him the lord of His household,
R. And prince over all His possessions.

Let Us Pray.

O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother, grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in Heaven, Thou Who livest and reignest forever and ever. R. Amen.

Let us in this year of the glorious Saint Joseph, proclaim him to our own families and to our friends and all we meet as the model of fatherhood and ask through his intercession to bring all men the graces needed for their station and office in life, that we may all fulfil God’s plan for us and restore this fallen world.

“I do not remember,” says Saint Teresa of Avila “ever to have asked anything
of St. Joseph which he did not obtain for me.”

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