When the topic arises, some people may ask why we should consider consecrating ourselves to St. Joseph. Father Donald Calloway’s new book, Consecration to St. Joseph, answers this question eloquently. Perhaps you don’t yet have access to the book, or maybe you question whether you want to spring for it. If so, the following thoughts may be helpful.
What Does Consecrating Ourselves Mean?
The Encyclopedia at Catholic Answers tells us that,
Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies.
It goes on to further explain how Moses consecrated the entire Hebrew people as the People of God, as recorded in Exodus 24. Consecration in this sense definitely is not something new.
Consecrating Ourselves to St. Joseph
In his new book, Father Calloway explains that in consecrating oneself to St. Joseph,
…you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely to his paternal care so that he can lovingly help you acquire his virtues and become holy. Total consecration to St. Joseph means you make a formal act of filial entrustment to your spiritual father so that he can take care of your spiritual well-being and lead you to God.
But Some of Us Have Consecrated Ourselves to Our Blessed Mother!
Some of us may have consecrated ourselves to Our Blessed Mother, Mary. So, a question may arise as to whether we can or should further consecrate ourselves to St. Joseph as well. Consecration to Mary (and to Jesus through Mary) is a practice made popular by St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary. Under this consecration, we give our life to Our Lady. In doing so, we can better avail ourselves of her motherly love as our spiritual mother, and achieve an even closer union with Jesus.
In answer to the question whether it’s okay to consecrate ourselves to both Our Lady and St. Joseph, Father Calloway tells us,
God desires that all children be committed to the love and care of a mother and a father. You are not a member of a single-parent spiritual family. Mary is your spiritual mother, and St. Joseph is your spiritual father…Total consecration to Mary is not diminished by total consecration to St. Joseph. Mary wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph!…Be at peace. The Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are one.
Okay, but what if we do consecrate ourselves to St. Joseph, but haven’t yet consecrated ourselves to Mary? No need to be troubled in this case, either. You will benefit from consecration to St. Joseph in any event.
Benefits of Consecrating Ourselves to St. Joseph
But how will consecration to St. Joseph be of benefit? Well, let’s consider this crazy, “mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,” to borrow a line from an old Kinks tune. The family, as never before, is under demonic attack. It is the basic building block of the Church and of society. The enemy knows this and is doing all he can to destroy families, the Church and society. It’s become a cliché, but what’s right is viewed as wrong, and what’s wrong is considered right in today’s world.
Even some ordained clergy are suggesting that the Church adapt to the world’s view of right and wrong in these issues, in spite of what Scripture and two millennia of Church teaching tell us. We are engaged in a spiritual battle—one from which we cannot run and hide. The stakes are too high. Now, consider some of St. Joseph’s titles, including “Terror of Demons,” and “Pillar of Families,” “Most Strong,” “Protector of Holy Church,” among others. Why, oh why, wouldn’t we want to consecrate ourselves to him? Why would we not want to ask him to take us under wing as our spiritual father, our guardian, and our protector? After all, who protected our Savior as a child when Herod wanted to kill Him? Who cared for and protected the Holy Family until his death in the arms of Jesus and Mary?
But What If We’re Busy—Doesn’t This Take a Lot of Time?
A simple act of consecration—a simple prayer—actually is all it takes to consecrate ourselves to St. Joseph. That being said, Father Calloway outlines a program of prayer and spiritual reading to help us get to know and love St. Joseph even more. Under his program, even the busiest lay person, with multiple irons in the fire, can find a little time each day to prepare for consecration to this powerful saint. As Father Calloway tells us,
…if you miss a day, don’t panic. Just make it up and continue your preparation. You can do this!
When Should We Begin Preparation for Consecrating Ourselves to St. Joseph?
Father Calloway provides a consecration chart in his book that outlines some feast days on which people may wish to consecrate themselves. Working backward from a chosen feast date, we can calculate the kickoff date for our period of preparation for consecration. For example, if we want to make our act of consecration on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, which is March 19th, then we’d begin on February 15th (or the 16th, if in a leap year). To consecrate oneself on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, you’d start your preparation on March 30th. Father Calloway lists other suggested feast days we might consider as well, including Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Knock, and All Saints Day, to name a few.
A Call to Action—A Call to Consecration
Right now, as you read this, many are readying themselves for preparation for consecration to St. Joseph using Father Calloway’s book and approach. Some are preparing for consecration to St. Joseph. Some parishes have begun planning to conduct the preparation and consecration. Some men’s ministries are considering it. Men in Knights of Columbus councils and assemblies are considering and planning for it. Whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, St. Joseph is ready and waiting, and now is the time.
St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, Pray for Us!