(Alternative pun titles: St. Joseph, building relationships. St. Joseph, constructing marriages. St. Joseph, wood’nt doubt him for a minute…)
I had every intention of posting this yesterday on St. Joseph’s feast day but then I (somehow) got sucked into some March Madness (#1 in my family bracket, y’all!) and then didn’t get it done.
But, redemption is real and St. Joseph will understand.
Ever since my junior year of college I’ve had a devotion to St. Joseph. Initially it started because I saw lots of people kneeling by Mary and I felt like St. Joseph was a little neglected. I’m a sucker for underdogs (hence almost all of my MM picks are upsets. Gonzaga for the win!)
I looked up more about St. Joseph and discovered the beautiful litany for him which includes such titles as; terror of demons, head of the Holy Family, solace of the wretched, and Protector of Holy Church. Amazing and pretty hard core. So no longer did I view St. Joseph as this simple and quiet man who gets overshadowed, but an integral player for salvation history. He protects Mary and Jesus, he guides them away from danger and into Egypt, he is responsible for their well being. Can you imagine being responsible for the well being of two perfect people? Or protecting this perfect (and moderately helpless) family from actual murderers? Herod’s men were being sent out to kill babies, it was the law of the land. And the angel appeared to Joseph to tell him to take his family into Egypt.
My discovery of St. Joseph also came a pivotal part of my spiritual life, which is not surprising. How often do we “randomly” discover a saint who “happens” to speak into our personal struggles.
Anyway, at this point I was a senior in college and recently discerned away from the religious life. Previously, I was pretty sold on the idea. I had an order picked out, I had an official visit date set, I had my application in, and I had my personal belongings divvied out between my friends. But, all of that fell through (for the better) and I was crushed, disappointed, and a little confused. And now I realized I was probably called to marriage (dun dun dun).
So, turning to my new spiritual BFF, I told St. Joseph that I didn’t want to just date around. I had dated a fair amount in high school and was a little boy crazy in my early years of college. I didn’t want to just date for the fun of it. But ultimately I just wanted to do what Jesus wanted me to do. I figured that the foster father of Jesus probably had a pretty good idea of what that was.
But I decided to be bold in my prayers. I told St. Joseph, “If it’s okay with Jesus, I would like the man I am going to marry to ask my dad for permission to date me”.
I don’t even know why I said it. It seems like a totally ridiculous request. Like, seriously, who asks for a dad’s permission to date their daughter? But my heart was sentimental and I was emotional. So I made the request and forgot about it until a year later.
Fast forward one year, I’m on a great date with an amazing man and as he is driving me home he hands me his phone.
“Hey, will you put your dad’s phone number in my phone? If it’s okay with you, I’m going to ask for his permission to date you.”
I laughed out loud because who does that. And who asks for that in prayer? But Jesus and St. Joseph knew my heart, they knew my prayer, and (Praise the Lord) my request was in favor with God’s ultimate plan.
So I punched in my dad’s number under “Caitlin’s dad/Craig”.
Fast forward a year-plus-some-months-later and John and I got married.
Also John’s confirmation saint is St. Joseph. No surprise there.
I’m not saying that St. Joseph is a match-maker (he might be a little bit) or that if you ask for some random request he will grant it like a genie. But I am saying that he is a powerful intercessor. He knows Jesus and Mary personally and intimately. He is our spiritual father and wants to provide good things for his children.
I didn’t dive head first into this relationship because I knew that John was “the one”, whatever that really means. But I knew that Jesus had blessed the beginning of our relationship and had given me a huge gift in this sign. So I was more fully invested in prayer knowing that the relationship was a gift and I wanted to honor it and honor John.
Take some time to get to know the spouse of Mary, the protector of child Jesus, and the universal patron of the Church. Or read this cute article about Pope Francis and Pope Benedict and their love for St. Joseph.
Thanks, St. Joseph. Praise Jesus, now and forever!