I wanted to share this information with seasoned and novice bloggers alike. My personal struggle is marketing myself for more viewership of my content. Over the past couple months I did some SEO homework and started updating my posts from 2-3 years ago. I have seen increased search engine results in my February and March stats.
I just did not know this process had an official name. Please check out this below link if you want ideas about utilizing your past content to help improve your traffic in the present.
On March 19 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Joseph–foster father of Jesus. According to Richard E. Vatz, professor at Towson University, in The Washington Times (https://m.washingtontimes.com), “there is no root cause more consequential in producing permanent violence, poverty and related life dissatisfaction issues than fatherlessness.” St. Joseph provides the ideal for what it means to be a kind and loving father and man. More than ever this world needs strong men to be role models for their families and communities.
An analysis of Scripture and Traditional Catholic teaching will show us that St. Joseph’s silence, humility, and patience will equip men in the 2019 with the tools necessary to foster meaningful and lasting relationships with their friends, spouses, children, and neighbors.
Silence leads to sanctity
Guess how many words of St. Joseph did the Evangelists record in the Gospels? If you guessed a whopping ZERO than you are correct my friend! Though included in the key infancy and adolescent scenes of Jesus’ life the foster father of our Lord said nothing!
The old adage “actions speaks louder than words” applies more directly to St. Joseph than arguably any other person in history– as we can only analyze his actions. Cardinal Robert Sarah in The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise plainly stated, “Man must make a choice: God or nothing, silence or noise.” Using Sarah’s logic Joseph not only clearly, but overwhelmingly choose God!
Joseph’s ability to heed the Angel’s message to flee the wrath of King Herod demonstrates a complete trust and dependence on God. The noise of life yanks me in different directions– all away from God. Looking to the silent saint as a role model helps to remind me of the importance of asking the Lord for help.
Humility overcomes Hubris
Hearing that you must play “second fiddle” naturally causes humans to react in various manners. Being the “B team” certainly just not connote a positive image in sports, politics, and work. Some people downplay the role of a foster, or step-parent. “I am not the real, or official dad” is a mantra that may go through a stepdad’s head—especially on hearing the news that children are a package deal with his so-to-be spouse.
The movie Stepdads comically portrays the real life challenges men have to face in modern mixed family units. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, but not merely because of the comedy. Rather, its message rang true that mere biology does not suffice for parenthood, let alone fatherhood. Love is the hallmark of fatherhood.
True love involves the virtue of humility. According to Peter Kreeft, “Humility is not an exaggeratedly low opinion of yourself. Humility is self-forgetfulness.” St. Joseph accepted the responsibility of raising Jesus Christ as his own even though he and Mary never had sexual relations.
As a just man, Joseph obeyed God’s will and married Mary. St. Pope Paul VI in his homily for the Feast of St. Joseph in 1969 used the word humble six times in referring to the foster father of Jesus. More specifically, the recent canonized pontiff wrote, “Saint Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises to great destinies, and he is the proof that in order to be good and genuine followers of Christ there is no need of ‘great things’; it is enough to have the common, simple, human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic (Emphasis added mine).” St. Joseph’s simple, humble, and hidden life act as a good model for fathers, and men in general, that avoiding the drama of sin is possible and worthwhile!
Model for Workers
Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy remarked, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Although St. Joseph’s lifespan may be up for debate, his levels of patience certainly could not be argued. Being a carpenter by trade, I am most confident that Joseph was quite patient. I can barely do a house project without cursing let alone craft with wood.
Men typically associate themselves with the work that they do. “Where do you work?” is almost always the first question I am asked (and that one that I ask) when meeting a new guy either at the parish, neighborhood, or at work outings. St. Pope John Paul II articulates the value of work best in his Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos,
If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption (no 22, Emphasis added mine).
Due to Original Sin, humanity suffered (still suffers) a fractured relationship with God. The Mystery of the Incarnation involved God becoming man in the Person of Jesus Christ. Divine Love selected Joseph of Nazareth to be the legal and foster father of Jesus Christ and protector of Mary. St. Paul VI declared, “Because of that function which he [Joseph] performed in regard to Christ during his childhood and youth, he has been declared Patron or Protector of the Church, which continues Christ’s image and mission in time and reflects them in history” (https://stjsa.org/paul-vi-and-saint-joseph). May all men reflect upon the silent, humble, and diligent example of St. Joseph the Worker, and Foster-father of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to be graced with opportunities to be holier versions of ourselves!
On March 6 we celebrated Ash Wednesday. That great day marks the beginning for the season of Lent. For some Lent is a season that brings to mind drudgery and self deprecation, but is this what Lent is all about? Is it about us merely giving something up, or is there much more to it? Lent reminds us that spiritual warfare is real. It is a call to arms in which we latch on to Jesus and head into battle. We are not alone in this fight. We have the communion of saints and our Lord Jesus Christ by our side.
Perhaps we should start with what Lent is not. Lent is not a time to give up something in an attempt to be fashionable. Many give up a favorite food or desert and call it a day. The whole point of giving up something is to replace it with a spiritual practice. What spiritual practice you take up is totally up to you. Maybe you find yourself too busy to pray. As a result, you may wake up 10 minutes early to pray to replace the 10 minutes you take eating your favorite candy bar. My wife recently gave up Starbucks, and she has chosen to take the money she would normally spend and give it to the St. Vincent De Paul Society at our parish. You may choose to take time throughout the day and pray the Liturgy of the Hours. As previously stated, that is up to you and what you feel called to do. However, fasting without prayer is merely dieting. If you are obtaining or fasting, but not praying you are dieting.
Lent is an ancient practice that goes back to the earliest days of the church. In Luke 4:1-2 we read “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished” (NRSV). I was always intrigued as to why the sinless and divine Son of God went into the wilderness to be tempted. This is something that Jesus did to prepare himself for ministry. He was at his weakest after fasting for so long, and Satan knew that this may be his only chance. Jesus did this as an example for us. He knows how we are tempted because he experienced it first hand.
If Jesus was tempted, do we think we are somehow exempt? I certainly hope not, but as our Good Shepherd he is leading the way through danger. By doing so he is stating that he is with us and beside us on this tough journey. If you are a follower of Christ the evil one will come after you. That is a guarantee. We will get beat up at times, but we must get back up and dust ourselves off.
When I was in the military, we were taught to always keep your equipment in top condition. Whether it was out Kevlar helmet, rucksack, or weapon everything had to be maintained. Lent reminds us that there is more to life than the things of this world. It is a time to reflect and evaluate our equipment.
In the spiritual life our equipment is our mind and hearts. What are they preoccupied with? What filth have they accumulated over the past year? A weapon will not work if it is grungy and filthy. Likewise, our souls get dirty from venial sin. If we become complacent with venial sin it is much easier to fall into mortal sin. Regarding this 1 John 5:17 states, “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal” (NRSV). Mortal sin severs our relationship with God. Essentially, we have made our choice, and it wasn’t God.
There is hope. The hope is Jesus Christ and the sacraments that he established. As previously stated, Lent is a time to reevaluate our spiritual lives. It is a time to reflect on the things we have done and not done. We all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). This does not mean that God does not want us anymore. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Our Lord has established the sacrament of reconciliation so we can once again be in fellowship with him. The great church father St. John Chrysostom put it this way, “And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year”.
The evil once tries to tempt us in our weakness, just like he tried to tempt our Lord. A lion attacks the member of heard that is sick, weak, and alone. Satan tries to do the same thing. He will try to make us feel alone and like we are too messed up to be reconciled to God. That is one of his greatest lies. Jesus wants you! In the sacrament of confession, we are absolved over the sins that we have committed, both venial and mortal. We have a clean slate and are once again reconciled with the church (in the case of mortal sin).
Partaking of the great, and underutilized sacrament, assists us by strengthening our resolves against Satan and his temptations. It is a crucial weapon in our daily spiritual warfare. Without it we are taking a knife to a gunfight. A few months ago a priest told me “Take advantage of the sacraments. They are there to help us. A priest will make the time.” I implore you to make the sacrament of confession a key part of your Lenten journey this year. Go during scheduled times, make an appointment, and make the time to make a good confession. You will be happy that you did. There is nothing greater than the love of God, and we feel it especially after He forgives us.
About our guest blogger:
William is a convert to the Catholic faith. Before entering the church he was ordained as a Baptist and Lutheran and earned a Master of Divinity from Liberty Theological Seminary. William lives with his wife and four children in Tucson, AZ and teaches religious education for children and adults. Check out his website/blog atwilliamhemsworth.com for more great and informative Catholic content!
O Almighty God, implore your aid in my time of desperation. All hope seems lost. My gaze and thoughts have became narrowed– only able to see the trials and tribulations that give me fits. The Enemy has jumped this season of suffering as an opportunity to lead me astray.
All my thoughts spiral out of control into a maze of misery and depression. Feeling no comfort and consolation at this time I experience vulnerability. My hope is always going to be in you my Lord. The weak creature that I am humbly asks for the consoling presence of the Holy Spirit. God you are my only source of strength, stability, and peace in this life! I know this to be true even as I attempt to fend off the onslaught of the Enemy. Please have mercy on me and forgive me of my doubts during this spiritual dearth.