Father to Father is a weekly feature, appearing each Wednesday, examining what the Church, through the office of the Pope, is saying to us fathers. You can subscribe to the newsfeed here.
Over the past several weeks, we have looked at many aspects of St. Joseph’s incredible life: his work habits, the way he lived conjugal union with the Blessed Virgin, and his silent strength.
Today we continue our examination of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, this time looking at the relationship between St. Joseph’s interior life and his ability to make great sacrifices for the child Jesus.
The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah’s coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life.
Welcoming God into our homes – and welcoming a wife and children (and more children!) – requires a sacrifice. And as the Pope spells out for us: not simply a small inconvenience, but a total surrender. This is only possible with a deep and abiding life of prayer.
It was from this interior life that very singular commands and consolations came, bringing him also the logic and strength that belong to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power of making great decisions-such as the decision to put his liberty immediately at the disposition of the divine designs, to make over to them also his legitimate human calling, his conjugal happiness, to accept the conditions, the responsibility and the burden of a family
A full prayer life creates a rich interior life that allows us to be “clear and simple souls” with the necessary “logic and strength” to lead our families away from danger and towards the kingdom of Heaven.
Am I able to surrender my will so that my service to my family is total?
I must admit that the days when I followed well my plan of life developed with my spiritual director and stayed focused on prayer and started the day the way I was supposed to… those were the days when I was best able to give everything for my wife and children.
As the Pope notes: a profound interior life brings forth commands and consolations, the kind that give us the power to make great decisions as fathers.
My goal this week: to live a better life of prayer so that I may totally surrender myself to my family and the “demands of the Messiah coming into [my] home.”