Marian Helper Spring 2024

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, And they shall name Him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. ... she bore a son, and he named Him Jesus. In this passage, it is apparent that Joseph was a man attuned to the whispers of God that came to him through a dream. He was willing to turn his life upside down to follow the Lord’s command. He humbly put into action the Father’s desires, forming the foundation of a loving earthly family for Jesus. Culture of life In a time of great confusion and opposition to the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family, Joseph stands tall as the epitome of loyalty to the Lord and the lessons He provides. As a result, St. Joseph is a fitting patron for the pro-life movement, which strives to rebuild a culture of life and a civilization of love. Here are just some of the ways that St. Joseph can aid us in renewing society: l As an intercessor. Joseph has been a powerful intercessor in the life of my family, which has often turned to him in moments of difficulty and strife. By praying for the intercession of St. Joseph in the lives of pregnant women, preborn children, fathers, and the frail elderly, we can discover a spiritual lifeline that can help to rescue our world from the abyss of the culture of death. l As a motivator. Joseph can motivate us to strive to do the best for our families and our communities. With Joseph as our guide, we may be surprised at the goals we can reach and the hearts we can touch. l As a pillar of strength. True masculine strength does not resemble the stereotypes we find in society. It begins with self-mastery, not bluster or bullying. The gentle Joseph, a man of silence, is a model of the infinite strength of God the Father, who sustains the cosmos from moment to moment, often in silence. A pregnant woman looks to the father of her preborn child for support and comfort during a challenging time in her life. When a father models St. Joseph, the woman can draw the strength necessary to give birth to her child. The fatherhood initiatives at many pregnancy resource centers around the country demonstrate the important role fathers play — even before a child’s birth. When my own mother reflected on her marriage, she often spoke of how she decided to marry because she believed she had found a man who would be a good father to her children. In my father, I discovered someone who lived out many of St. Joseph’s virtues. He gave me a firm foundation for pursuing my interests — including my involvement in the pro-life movement. It is my fervent prayer that fathers will follow in the footsteps of St. Joseph in pursuing their vocations with love and dedication. When fathers live up to the responsibilities of their sacred calling, true miracles can happen! Maria Gallagher is the author of Mercy’s Power: Inspiration to Serve the Gospel of Life. To order, visit ShopMercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426(Product code: B61-MPOW). Marian Helper • Spring 2024 • Marian.org 19 “The Dream of Joseph,” Jacques Goullons, ca. 1645–50. We invite you to send us your intentions for the St. Joseph Novena. See the attached envelope or visit Marian.org/b61 to have your intentions remembered.

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