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June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Sometimes it can seem like the Holy Family consists of two spiritual superstars … and that other guy.

This is quite understandable.

The father of this family, Joseph, was called to a very unusual vocation as the spouse of Mary, who was given the mind-blowing vocation to carry within her womb the Word of God made flesh. God chose Joseph to love, serve, and protect this family, and entrusted Jesus to his fatherhood.

Now, God could have provided in every way for this mother and child without Joseph.

But the Lord wanted to achieve his plan of salvation within the heart of the human family, revealing the essential role of fathers in the physical, emotional and spiritual development of their children. This reveals how blessed are families when a man is present, and committed to working with the Lord to protect, love and serve his family.

We are discovering in our day how children suffer when a father is not present.

Children raised without fathers:

  • 4x more likely to be raised in poverty

  • 10x more likely to abuse substances; 70% of adolescent substance abusers come from fatherless homes

  • 11x more likely to commit violence and 20x more likely to be incarcerated.

  • 80% of adolescents in psych hospitals come from fatherless families

  • 9x more likely to drop out of school

Emotional Abortion

I have witnessed in the last 20 years as a professional social worker the way that father wounds from childhood can interact with a young man’s involvement with abortion, creating a toxic synergy that can be both confusing and deeply painful.

As shared in my book about men and abortion, Tears of the Fisherman, boys and young men who experience absent, abusive fathers, or faced the traumatic loss of their father through divorce, are especially vulnerable to strong and complex emotions after participating in the abortion of their child. They can express those powerful emotions in ways that hurt them and their loved ones.

The good news is there is emotional and spiritual healing available that can help men navigate through these turbulent waters. As men progress through abortion healing programs like Rachel’s Vineyard, they discover that while they may have wounds with their earthly fathers, and have seriously sinned against God and their fellow man, they have a Father in Heaven who still loves them unconditionally and passionately as his sons. This is often a life-changing moment of grace that empowers them to continue on the journey to recovery.

As the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend progresses, men are able to restore their fatherly relationship with the aborted child (and repent of their role in that child’s death.)

As they address their abortion loss, men learn on a deep and intimate level how to grieve in a healthy way, within a process immersed in God’s Word. Fathers have the opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit into the dark wounds of their own loss and abuse.

The abortion recovery experience empowers them to begin to let go of the unhealthy ways they used to cope with this pain in the past. They are restored and strengthened as men and fathers. (For those who suffered from a family divorce, Life Giving Wounds is a wonderful outreach that offers education, retreat ministry and support groups.)

Now more than ever: consecration to Saint Joseph

Regardless of your personal history, all men and fathers in these confusing and challenging times, will benefit from a closer relationship with the greatest father in the history of the human family.

Fr. Donald Calloway has written an excellent and user-friendly guide to draw men closer to the one blessed to be chosen by God as father of the Holy Family. Fr. Calloway outlines a simple, easy to read, but profound journey of spiritual renewal for men in his book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of our Spiritual Father.

What does it mean to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph?

Fr. Calloway explains:

Well, it basically means that you acknowledge that he is your spiritual father, and you want to be like him. To show it, you entrust yourself entirely into his paternal care so that he can help you acquire his virtues and become holy … The person who consecrates himself to St. Joseph wants to be as close to their spiritual father as possible, to the point of resembling him in virtue and holiness.

Fr. Calloway shares the great blessing of this consecration:

Saint Joseph, in turn, will give those consecrated to him his undivided attention, protection, and guidance.

You may wonder, “Well that’s fine and sounds nice. But Saint Joseph was a model of great holiness, chastity and faithful service. I feel like my life has fallen well short of that ideal.

As Jesus, son of Joseph, said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The holiness and example of Joseph is not to make us feel ashamed, or focus on our failures as men. Rather, as a blessed Saint in the Heavenly Kingdom, he stands ready to father us in our faith journey.

Joseph is not a condemning, distant, unapproachable father. His holiness, and his unique vocation, are a gift to us. Joseph is a strong and loving spiritual father that will help you rise above the challenges and temptations that weigh you down. Joseph will lift you up so you can stand tall in humility, with a heart cleansed of sin, empowered to grow in your Christian vocation as a man.

Consider making this exciting journey of faith and conversion, and learn more about your spiritual father and mentor, Joseph, the father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This Father’s Day, let’s set a place at the family table, and in our hearts, for St. Joseph.

Kevin Burke, LSW, is a pastoral associate of Priests for Life and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard. An expert on men and abortion loss, he is the author of Tears of the Fisherman and co-author of Rivers of Blood/Oceans of Mercy.