This week marked the solemnity of St. Joseph, much overlooked in my view. His purity and integrity of heart, mind and body is such a wonderful and inspiring model for all of us, especially boys and men. When I think about St. Joseph, the recent words of Pope Francis in his official message for World Youth Day 2015 – “Have the courage to be happy” – echo with me where he declares, “We need to protect the purity of what is most precious of all: our heart and our relationships. This ‘human ecology’ will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness.”
This becomes all the more striking when one reads the following statement from the US Department of Justice: “Never before in the history of telecommunications media has so much indecent and obscene material been so easily accessible, by so many minors, in so many homes, with so few restrictions.”
One can’t get more “Churchilian” than that in the starkness and urgency of its warning. All the more reason, therefore, especially for parents and grandparents, to exercise all the vigilance one can muster about what enters the home via the internet and TV and social media, and to get to know what’s available technically to filter out such harmful material and protect those altars most sacred to God the Father, the souls of innocent children.
But aside from the very practical things we must do, there is the need to turn again for heavenly help in this effort to ‘The Pillar of Families’ himself, St. Joseph. To that end, I recommend the Novena to St Joseph, which is so easy to say and can be recited any time of the year as a family or even as just a parent’s prayer.
But also why not think about paying a little pilgrimage to either your local church, or any church, where there is a statue of St Joseph, to invoke his protection on the household against impurities? Or, better still, think about taking the family to pay a special visit to the only national shrine to St Joseph which you will find at the church of St. Michael’s Abbey Farnborough.
“So protect your families! Protect your families!
Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them!
Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care.
Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.
What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation!”