The leaves are off the trees. Thanksgiving has come and gone. And stores and shops are playing Christmas music. As Christians, we are preparing now for the birth of our Savior. And specifically as Catholics, we are in the midst of Advent, which marks the end of the Year of St. Joseph.
Those of us in our recovery journey can learn so much from St. Joseph and, if we haven’t already done so, we can make this Advent an opportunity to offer special prayers and devotions to him. Indeed, what a beautiful way to prepare our hearts for the arrival of the birth of Jesus!
St. Joseph was more than a good earthly example of faith, hope, and charity. He also shows us how to love, work, and sacrifice. Through his virtue and patronage, our spiritual father leads the way to the manger of our Lord.
Our present world is overwhelmed with noise. But according to St. John of the Cross, “God’s first language is silence.” St. Joseph can teach us by his holy way of silence. The silence of St. Joseph shows us the way to deep prayer. As Jesus’ father, let’s recall that St. Joseph taught the Son of God how to pray. With that in mind, let’s ask St. Joseph to teach us how to pray by asking for his help. St. Joseph, teach us how to pray!
As we constantly struggle against temptations and the possibility of relapse, St. Joseph shines as a model of courage and fortitude. He stood tall and confronted the obstacles he and the Holy Family faced with courage, and he demonstrated virtue through his many actions.
We too must demonstrate virtue through our words at times, but also through our silent actions. For help in doing this, we can choose to include St. Joseph in our daily spiritual life this Advent. This might entail adopting a word or phrase from Scripture with reference to him, learning more about St. Joseph through books, videos, or lectures, or even reciting one of the Psalms each day, recalling that St. Joseph recited those same verses during his own lifetime. We could also journal, inviting St. Joseph to “write” alongside us.
We can use his example for strength to persevere in our trials as well. I recently concluded a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph. During it, I learned that St. Joseph is also known as the “Terror of Demons.” In fact, St. Joseph played a pivotal role in the life of Bl. Bartolo Longo, a former Satanic priest. Bl. Bartolo Longo had such a great love for St. Joseph that he told everyone to go to Joseph in their fight against temptations of any kind.
Fr. Donald Calloway writes in his book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father that, after the Virgin Mary, demons fear St. Joseph more than any other saint! According to Fr. Calloway, St. Joseph’s purity gives him extraordinary intercessory power against the forces of darkness. This should give all of us in recovery, especially those who have struggled with pornography or other sex-related addictions, comfort and assurance!
In fact, Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about this powerful saint: “meditation on the human and spiritual journey of Saint Joseph invites us to ponder his vocation in all its richness, and to see him as a constant model for all those who have devoted their lives to Christ in the priesthood, in the consecrated life or in the different forms of lay engagement.”
Therefore, when life’s darkest moments surround us, similar to the darkest days of December’s Advent season, let’s ask St. Joseph to help us. Let’s seek to emulate his faith, hope, and love. And let’s call upon him in prayer when facing temptations and claim him as a model of holiness in our lives!
Aaron Walter is a lifelong Catholic and former porn addict whose ministry, NewMenRising, is dedicated to pornography addiction recovery. He is a coach, mentor, and accountability partner and is passionate about helping husbands kick their addiction and transform their lives and relationships. You can connect with him at calendly.com/aaronwaltercoachingsessions.