There is a cry and deep sorrow at the very center of our world. A sorrow: born of confusion, and abandonment. The cry is wrenched from the hearts of adults but is rooted in the hearts of children.

Someday a wise anthropologist, or someone versed in the human sciences, will do an in depth study of our culture of death and make the connection between the origins of this cry and deep sorrow. Perhaps then we will have a better understanding of the complexities of human intercourse which resulted in the 20th century being so soaked on every page of its history with the blood of the innocent. Perhaps then we will be able to come to grips with a generation or more of fatherless men, of boys growing up, in the words of Susan Faludi in her work: STIFFED, growing up in “…a culture that has them by the throat.”
The following statement is not offered in the remotest as an excuse for evil, simply as an observation: put an adult whose own experience of being fathered, being authentically masculine, was that of being father deprived, in close proximity to a child likewise starved for affirmation and completion as a male and you have a situation ready made for legions of demons to create the evil of abuse.
Place such an adult in any relationship and likewise chaos will result through domestic abuse, divorce, child abandonment, promiscuity, homosexuality, addictions of all kinds.
My purpose here is not to attempt to address the all too well known scandals among the clergy, the bitter attitudes towards men in general and priests in particular of some women, religious and laity alike, nor to debate with those whose particular agenda of chaos co-operates in things like the promotion of homosexual and abortion agendas. {Interesting how frequently those issues find companionship.}
Rather it is to suggest we have a model of manhood and an intercessor for all fatherless adults and children alike in good Saint Joseph.
To the point he is the model of priestly manhood and fatherhood.
Given the simple reality that many men entering the seminary these days do so without their virginity intact we must do everything possible to enable them to have their virginity restored to them through a deep healing of memories, the transformation of their inner selves, and a true openness to, acceptance of, that most manly of virtues: chastity.
Chastity: as a charism of our divine election.
Chastity: as a living witness to the Kingdom.
Chastity: too as the purifying of our hearts that we may be true fathers to all whom we serve.
                                                 The spiritual formation of one who is called to live celibacy should pay particular attention to the future priest so that he may know, appreciate, love and live celibacy according to its true nature and according to its real purposes, that is for evangelical, spiritual and pastoral motives………priestly celibacy….is profoundly connected with ordination, whereby a man takes on the likeness of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Spouse of the Church, and therefore as a choice of a greater and undivided love for Christ and His Church, as a full and joyful availability of his heart for pastoral ministry…the priest…as he witnesses to the evangelical value of virginity…will be able to aid Christian spouses to live fully the ‘great sacrament’ of the love of Christ the Bridegroom for His Spouse the Church, just as his own faithfulness to celibacy will help them to be faithful to each other as husband and wife. [30]
Such a clear teaching and invitation is based on the assumption that it is a whole man, a real man, a person comfortable in his skin as a man, who embraces the chaste life of our divine election.
In our culture, however, we have seen a progressive denigration of that which the Father has created man: that is the human person, in the God created beauty and dignity of an equality of person which flowers in the diversity of some persons being created male and some persons being created female.
Not here the place to explore any further the sheer idiotic stance of those who pretend there is anything right in debasing either gender, much less in those futile and sacrilegious continuing efforts, in particular, to un-male or un-female children to the point of making adults who are so totally confused about gender they no longer even know they are persons.
Here is the place for affirmation of our manhood taken on by the Holy Spirit at ordination and restored to us in the sacrament as consecrated manhood: priesthood.
Each person, each male his maleness and each female her femaleness, sanctified at Baptism.
We priests have our maleness consecrated at ordination.
Therefore we cannot participate in any impurity of thought, word, deed, action, in heterosexual or homosexual activity, participation in any cause which diminishes the human person, especially not in any form of exploitation of the young or the vulnerable, nor in any cause which advocates the denigration of any human person. Rather as true fathers we are to be the prime protectors of every human person from the moment of their conception until natural death.
We are irrevocably and indisputably the protectors of the domestic church, proclaimers of the Gospel of Life, defenders of the human person, especially in those stages of life – it’s very beginning and natural end, its childhood and old age, its times of sickness or weakness – when life is most vulnerable.
To do less is to betray our male personhood and the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Bl. Pope John Paul II placed before all men, and for priests most necessarily, Saint Joseph as a model of true manhood, true fidelity to all that is most holy in masculinity.
Saint Joseph is a powerful intercessor for us as we seek to be whole and holy as male persons, mature men with childlike hearts as priests who are at one and the same time son of the Father, father to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, brother to all the children of the Father, through the activity of the Holy Spirit within us by our sacramental ordination, in persona Christi capitis.
Commenting on the visit of the Angel to St. Joseph [Mt.1:20, 21] Pope John Paul notes:
                                                       The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. [31a]
It follows quite simply then none is better than Joseph to introduce we priests to, and teach us about, Our Blessed Mother, Queen of the Clergy, than this model of manhood. Indeed since St. Joseph is also the Universal Protector of the Church, who better to enliven in our priestly hearts a profound love, respect, and devoted service to, Holy Mother the Church?
                                                  It is to Joseph, then, that the messenger turns, entrusting to him the responsibilities of an earthly father with regard to Mary’s son…he became a unique guardian of the mystery…Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery….Joseph’s way of faith… was totally determined by the same mystery of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian. [31b]
This is our vocation, to be protectors of the sacred as well as ministers of sacrament.
This requires we be real men, holy men, and fatherly men. Men capable of a husband’s and father’s, of a whole, holy man’s strength, courage, tenderness, love, wisdom, and generosity to provide for and protect those confided to our care by the same Heavenly Father who confided the Child and His Mother to the care of St. Joseph.
Our priestly vocation is an entrustment by the Most Holy Trinity, to our care, of countless immortal souls.
Our work is the salvation of souls.
                                                        Saint Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood. [31c]
That is an absolute truth which we should keep within our hearts as a template of our priestly lives.
We have been ordained to serve the person and mission of Christ with the fatherly care of our own hearts: Christ in the Church, Christ in all our brothers and sisters, in particular those whose material or spiritual lives are marked by such suffering they are deemed poor.
Being father, exercising holy fatherhood, is constitutive of our divine election.
Reluctance to being addressed as Father is a serious denial of sacramental reality and a gross lack of humility.
                                                       Joseph showed Jesus ‘by a special gift from heaven, all the natural love, all the affectionate solicitude that a Father’s heart can know.’ [31d]
Thus we are to love all those whom we serve.
Besides being a model of manly fortitude, solicitude, fatherhood and as a husband for us, St. Joseph is also a model of all the virtues, in particular chastity, humility, fidelity and absolute trust in Divine Providence, all essential in the life of a priest.
                                                      The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah’s coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life. It was from this interior life that ‘ very singular commands and consolations came, bringing him also the logic and strength that belong to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power of making great decisions – such as the decision to put his liberty immediately at the disposition of the divine designs, to make over to them also his legitimate human calling, his conjugal happiness, to accept the conditions, the responsibility and the burden of a family, but, through an incomparable original love, to renounce that natural conjugal love that is the foundation and nourishment of the family.’
                                                       This submission to God, this readiness of will to dedicate oneself to all that serves Him, is really nothing less than that exercise of devotion which constitutes one expression of the virtue of religion. [31e]
Saint Joseph in all his manhood is the model for priests!
Fidelity is the day to day, moment by moment, willingness to give ourselves as gift.
This exercise of devotion, which is an expression of the virtue of religion, is predicated on joyful acceptance of reality: our vocation of joy is the vocation of communion of love with the Blessed Trinity.
Once again, naturally enough, we come face to face with a simple fact: we need faith!
Faith is a gift. 
This we know.
Increase of faith is a gift we must ask for.
The faithful St. Joseph will intercede on our behalf for a constant increase in this gift of faith if we, man to man, ask him.
Our joy in seeking Christ alone is that we might do all that which is pleasing to Him, the Father, the Holy Spirit, never forgetting the key to rejoicing the heart of God is faith! [Hb.11:6]
Because of the pulverization of our true understanding of self as a male person and living out of that gift, a pulverization inflicted upon us by the culture of death, we too, even as adult men, can be burdened by the sorrow(s) so common among our brothers, the widowers, grandfathers, fathers, husbands, uncles, brothers, sons: Christ’s faithful laymen in the world.
There seems to be, frankly, to a very dangerous degree – dangerous for the faith, the Church, for the vulnerable, especially for the unborn and those weak in anyway, for women and children in particular – such a lack of mature holy manliness among bishops and priests in our day that perhaps this is why a bishop and priest like Bl. Pope John Paul II was seen as such a sign of contradiction.
When bishops and priests surrender their vocation as men, as fathers, to the demands of those persons, mostly women but also many wounded men, who demand what amounts to a weak, indecisive, veritable androgynous presbyterate, truly when the Lord looks down upon our world His Sacred Heart must bleed again and He must again cry out to the Father: “Father, have pity on Your flock, for they are wandering about, sheep without shepherds, children without fathers!”
                                                  In our contemporary confusion we often overlook the meaning of Christ’s Incarnation for sexuality and gender. Human nature is sexual, and so the assumption of human nature by God would necessarily involve gender as well. Jesus’ gender expresses His identity and His mission. Jesus Christ was, and is, and will always be human. And His maleness is not an accident of history; it has important purpose in God’s plan.
                                                  The entrance of Jesus Christ into the human scene draws upon the Old Testament Image of God as a faithful, forgiving bridegroom and makes it concrete…..Men themselves are called to imitate Him precisely as a man…..Christ teaches us how to be men, good sons of the heavenly Father. A man has only to look upon Christ to see himself as God intends. [32]
                                                   On the mountain of the Transfiguration, God speaks from the cloud, as He had done on Sinai. But now He says: ‘This is my Beloved Son; listen to Him’ (Mk.9:7). He commands us to listen to His Son, because ‘no one knows the Father except the son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him’ (Mt.11:27). And so we learn that the true name of God is FATHER! The name which is beyond all other names Abba! (cf.Gal.4:6) [33]
Perhaps no other area has been such a deep cesspool of anti-Christ distortion of truth, denial of the truth about self and priesthood, refusal to humbly accept the truth than the area of debate, no now longer possible without engaging in lie and disobedience if prompting the matter, than the issue of women and the sacrament of orders.                                                       
The cognitive dissonance common among the laity, leading many to be cafeteria Catholics, finds its counterpart among those priests and religious who, regardless of the simple truth it is NOT within the competence of the Church to do so, insist the sacrament of orders be attempted upon women. 
Love and truth are inseparable.
Love is never interested in self.
Love is always servant of the other.
                                                                 Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to His Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches…..Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition…reminded…[us]…of the position of the Catholic Church: “She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the examples recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing His Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing men only; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for His Church.”….the Church “does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination”…Christ’s way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to His time….”…in giving the Church her fundamental constitution, her theological anthropology – thereafter always followed by the Church’s tradition – Christ established things in this way.”….”In calling men only as His Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, He emphasized the dignity and vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time.” In fact the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles attest that this call was made in accordance with God’s eternal plan; Christ choose those whom He willed (cf.Mk.3:13-14; Jn.6:70), and He did so in union with the Father, “through the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:2), after having spent the night in prayer (cf.Lk.6:12)…the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the  mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lessor dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe…………
                                             …..in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf.Lk.22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. [34]
As regards that last paragraph, the solemn definitive word of Peter, we priests, especially if we have been pulverized into saying or doing anything to the contrary  must beg for the grace of love’s truth speaking courage and the grace to take deeply into our hearts this definitive teaching of the Holy Father:
                                                            With divine and Catholic faith is to be believed everything contained in the word of God, written and in Tradition, that is to say, in the unique deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and proposed as divinely revealed, whether by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, or which is manifested in the common adherence of the faithful under the guidance of the sacred magisterium: all these are to be held and any teachings to the contrary are to be avoided.
                                                          Each and everything concerning faith and morals which is definitively taught by the magisterium of the Church must be firmly embraced and held, that is, whatever is needed to defend and explain the same deposit of faith in a faithful and holy manner; therefore whoever refuses to accept such definitive propositions is opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church. [Canon 750 as amended in 1998 by the document Ad Tuendam Fidem]
As we seek to enter ever more deeply into communion of love with the Blessed Trinity, to become ever more engaged in our consecration as men endowed with the virtue of religion, sons of the Father, priests in persona Christi capitis, shepherds, fathers, teachers led by the Holy Spirit, we must enter more fully into union with Christ the man, the obedient son of the Father.
It is to journey, with steadfastness and honour, the pilgrim’s way.
Fidelity to our reality of being male persons, in the whole and holy authentic truth of this reality; fidelity to being and willing to be called that which we are, Father; fidelity to only teaching, shepherding only by, truth and truth-speaking in love; fidelity to being, often, pulverized by a culture of death which in general, and often in particular from both lay and religious women who carry the burden of much pain which is reality based, and much which is rooted in the culture of lies, as a willingness to be vessels of compassion, all this is fidelity to being in persona Christi.
Sometimes true love means uttering a simple truth word: no!
No, even though your pain is real and immense and perhaps makes it very difficult indeed, beloved sister and daughter, to understand equality of person does not mean sameness of sacramental vocation, I will not pretend to love you by telling you lies about contraception, abortion or sacrament.
No, even though your pain is real and immense and perhaps my truth-speaking will become the excuse you seek to leave the Church, no I will not pretend to love you by telling a lie such as ‘definitive’ teaching means only until the ‘next’ pope…for there is never, in reality, a ‘next’ pope, simply another priest is called to be Peter.
No, even though your pain is real and immense and perhaps my truth-speaking by simply being a male person is experienced by you as the reawakening of every hurt ever inflicted upon you in reality, or upon your sisters throughout history, and made worse by those whose agenda often distorts the truth of such things, I will not pretend to love you by telling the lie of denial about my gender, nor about the sacramental reality of priesthood which makes me, even more than by being a human male person, even more than through baptism, your brother and thus you my beloved sister, and, as priest you my beloved daughter and I your father-shepherd, teacher and servant.
                                                      The example of dedicated clerics is the best inspiration for the faithful….It is better to have a few ministers who are upright and effective than many who labor in vain to build up the Church. [35]
                                                      ….by presenting the word of truth properly and by preaching not themselves but Christ crucified, they should clearly proclaim in their preaching the tenets and precepts of our most holy religion in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Fathers. [36]
Love costs.
It costs the life of Love Himself upon the Cross.
Can we priests love anyone any less?
In the Litany of Saint Joseph, after praising him, as most just, chaste, etc., and most faithful, among the other titles listed is: terror of demons.
The holy man noted earlier in the Litany as being strong, obedient and faithful, is also the terror of demons.
When we, as true holy men, as priests, are by grace also strong, obedient and faithful we too shall be a source of terror for demons, in particular those demons of the culture of death.
Likewise when the Litany notes that St. Joseph is the mirror of patience, guardian of virgins, pillar of families, solace of the wretched, hope of the sick and, as patron a comfort to the dying, are not all these manly virtues also aspects of our divine election, our priestly vocation of service?
To become ever more completely that which we are, by gender, baptism and ordination, we must, like St. Joseph the good and just man before us, constantly be attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit within our beings. 
The Sanctifier at work within us, calling us to ever more complete abandonment to Divine Providence, ever deeper metanoia, that total kenosis where nothing remains in or about us but Christ.
Though not mentioned specifically in the Litany as one of his titles St. Joseph, like every saint, can be turned to as patron of joy!
A significant aspect of interior joy, itself a virtue and gift of the Holy Spirit, is the joy of repentance, of confessing our failure to be faithful and, through the actual grace of each duty of the moment, and when needed, the sanctifying grace of absolution in the sacrament of confession, beginning in Him each moment, again and again and again.
Even the secular world is full of expressions about it ‘taking a real man to admit he’s made a mistake’ etc., how much more then is it a reality of manhood to come to Christ for forgiveness.
It is at one and the same time to be a man, like St. Joseph, of courage and humility.
Indeed there is a direct connection between the frequency, or not, of our being priest-penitents and the frequency, or not, of our being available, like our patron St. John Marie Vianney, examples such as St. Padre Pio, for all those seeking sacramental absolution.
In the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, in chapter 15, we discover three remarkable teachings from Jesus where He reveals again the Father’s utter love for us, how He welcomes with joy those who return to Him.
We return to the Father because Christ has found us.
We return most fully through the reality of sacramental absolution – through being on our knees as one admitting our need of God and of Divine Mercy.
There is no greater antidote to the arrogance of the culture of death, nor to the, even among we priests, cognitive disconnect between orthodox teaching and the way we tend to do things, than to open wide the doors, of our being, in particular through sacramental confession, to Jesus’ own words imploring us to always be one with Him. [Jn4:5]
The fidelity of which St. Joseph is our patron and model was not for him, nor is it for we priests, primarily a matter of ‘doing’ what needs be done, as important as that is.
Fidelity of the true and sacred kind, which implies explicitly the nitty-gritty doing well of the duty of the moment, is first of all a matter of ‘being’: being totally trusting of, and abandoned to, the love and will of the Father for us.
It is impossible to do that act of abandonment without humility and it is well-nigh impossible to be humble without admittance, like the man at the back of the temple, that I am a sinner constantly in need of Divine Mercy.
Thus when Jesus speaks about the reality of what transpires when a sinner opens wide the doors of their being to repentance and forgiveness, He is also teaching about fidelity. [cf.Lk.15]
There is no doubt in my heart about the direct connection between the apparent joylessness in the lives of so many priests and the lack of priests being truly repentant and going humbly to a brother priest for sacramental confession and absolution.
My heart also suspects far fewer of our good Catholic people would abandon their Catholic faith in search of the so-called evangelical experience if they were granted more joy in their lives through being able to receive sacramental absolution.
Indeed we will never turn things around when it comes to men saying yes to divine election, to re-evangelizing the fallen away, evangelizing those not yet in the fullness of true faith, unless we rediscover the importance and reality of sacramental confession, absolution, in a word unless we repent.
Fidelity must always begin with repentance.
We are not always faithful.
We need to not only admit this to ourselves but to confess this in sacramental confession.
Even if our infidelity is ‘venial’ it remains an aspect of our hearts to which we refuse the gift of mentanoia, a door of our being we keep shut to Christ.
If our infidelity involves mortal sin then, of course, there is no option but sacramental absolution.
Here, through the treasure of St. Joseph as our patron and model of holy manhood we also imitate him in the mystery of holy fatherhood in our vocation of joy as priests.
There is within the exercise of our sacramental authority to absolve from sin, and to deliver from demons for which we should be an absolute terror, another truth on fatherhood:
                                                        As the steward of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest fulfills the command given by Christ to the Apostles after His Resurrection: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn.20:22-23). The priest is the witness and instrument of divine mercy! How important in his life is the ministry of the confessional! It is in the confessional that his spiritual fatherhood is realized in the fullest way. It is in the confessional that every priest becomes a witness of the great miracles which divine mercy works in souls which receive the grace of conversion. It is necessary, however, that every priest at the service of his brothers and sisters in the confessional should experience this same divine mercy by going regularly to confession himself and by receiving spiritual direction.
                                                  As a steward of God’s mysteries, the priest is a special witness to the Invisible in the world. For he is a steward of invisible and priceless treasures belonging to the spiritual and supernatural order. [37]
Saint Joseph is the patron of the interior life, having lived and served the person and mission of Christ with fidelity, courage, strength, obedience, selflessness and humility.
While being the teacher of Christ in the ways of a man’s life on earth St. Joseph was undoubtedly also a ‘student’ at the feet of the Master, learning communion of love with the Father.
This is the essence of spiritual direction for us as priests: to learn what we must teach.
To learn: that we are beloved that we might love.
To learn: truth that we might be truth-speakers.
Recently a brother priest described to me within him a growing hunger to be truly faithful. He begged me to pray he be granted the grace of perseverance.
I was deeply moved.
This priest is my senior by many decades in age and many decades, over sixty, of service to the Church and Her children. He is exemplary in his faith, courage, humility, selflessness, manhood as brother and father.
He is a true priest.
Yet here he was humbly revealing his heart to me, a heart acutely aware fidelity is a grace given, never presumed. A heart fully aware we are indeed but weak vessels of clay, always in need of repentance, always in each moment needing to begin again in Him.
Another reality which struck my heart as I listened to this good and humble priest was his clear awareness we have not been created primarily, nor ordained primarily, to do great things but rather to rejoice we are greatly beloved and to greatly love.
We are called first to be faithful to Someone.
It is through fidelity to the One who loves us so we are urged on by grace to be faithful in all else.
                                                        The response to the divine call is an answer of love to the love which Christ has shown us so sublimely. This response is included in the mystery of that special love for souls who have accepted His most urgent appeals. With a divine force, grace increases the longings of love. And love, when it is genuine, is all-embracing, stable and lasting, an irresistible spur to all forms of heroism. [38]
We know it is through the grace of divine election that we have been called.
Through ordination we have been consecrated.
The desire to be always filled with the grace of ever more complete self-gift to the Church and to all people as servants and heralds of the Gospel is itself the ever more ardent yearning, the ‘longings of love’ which within us become that ‘irresistible spur to all forms of heroism’.
Fidelity is heroic, for spouses, parents, religious, priests.
Fidelity is heroic especially in our day when we witness to the Gospel of Life in the darkness of the culture of death.
Fidelity is that manly heroic courage lived at a time when both as men and as priests we are pulverized from all sides, often simply because we are men, because we are priests.
Here too we turn to the good Saint Joseph as our model and patron, for he carried within his very being the history of a pulverized people, a history marked by deliverance as well. 
In his own life St. Joseph suffered much but was also faithful to his vocation of being both spouse and protector of his wife Mary and foster-father and protector of the Child Jesus.
We men who are priests are likewise called to embrace, with courage, the mystery of suffering, the blessedness of suffering. Likewise are we called to be faithful to our spouse the Church and to be Her protector, protectors of all that is sacred. We too are called to be father and protector of the Child Jesus: Christ who comes to us as every man, woman and child on the face of the earth.
No human being should be an orphan of our priestly, fatherly, manly hearts.
Because the reality of our very existence, essence of being, is that we are beloved of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, fidelity is our response to this communion of love, to love Himself.
We need constantly to remember, in the depths of our being and by the way we live and move and have our being in Him, that we are greatly loved and therefore, with joy, is our vocation to love greatly.
Through the intercession of St. Joseph we will be granted the grace to always remember it is in and through Christ that we are in relationship with the Father; our lives are for being in relationship with Christ, seeking and doing only the things of Christ; the Spirit is always at work within us to sanctify us and through us to sanctify all those whose lives we touch, most especially through the celebration of Holy Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation. [Jn.14:26]
We are in relationship through our very creation by Him, in the inexhaustible reality of baptism, that lavish outpouring of the Holy Spirit configuring us to Christ in His death and resurrection, and for us priests in the incomprehensible reality of intimacy through sacramental ordination in persona Christi capitis!
Our relationship is communion of love with Infinite of Infinite Love Himself! [Jn. 1:29, 36]
St. John also notes Jesus is in motion, coming toward, as He does within us, towards us, every moment of our life. [ibid: 29, 26]
How the heart of St. Joseph must naturally have pounded with the pride of a father every time he saw Jesus coming towards him and how the soul of Joseph must have leapt with joy every time he saw Jesus coming towards him.
Jesus comes towards us in every moment of our lives too.
Likewise St. Joseph must have watched Jesus every time He walked by, that is, contemplate Jesus moving about in every moment of his life.
Jesus walks about in every moment of our lives too, thus every moment is a moment of contemplation in love.
So overtaken by the beauty of Christ, the holy allure if you will of Christ, the fire of His love radiating from His Holy Face, those eyes revealing the love of the Father that His disciples couldn’t bear being separated from Him and cried out to know where He dwelt. [ibid: 38]
Should not our manly, priestly hearts likewise yearn to ask Him that question which is simply the cry of a heart yearning to be in communion of love?
Love’s invitation to intimacy is given, inviting us to ‘come and see.’
Always Love gives us freedom.
We are free to follow Him, or not.
Yet the essence of fidelity is to choose to always be inclined towards Christ, to follow Him; being always with Christ wherever He is in the moment.
Where is Christ in this moment?
Awaiting us precisely, where the Father wills us to be.
The place where Jesus dwells is there.
It is to be one with Him in that place He invites us to when He says: ‘come and you will see.’
Only when we follow Him, as St. Joseph did, into the reality, mystery, grace, of each moment, through fidelity to what the Servant of God, Catherine Doherty rightly named: the duty of the moment -–will we dwell truly, live and move and have our being completely, in Him, with Him, through Him, for Him!
Then all that we hunger for, seek, do, will be in accord with the fullness of our baptismal and priestly vocation.
Then, like our model and patron St. Joseph, will we be true whole and holy men.
Then, in the reality of being in persona Christi, will we know joy! [Jn.4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 14:9-11]
Fidelity is being in relationship with the Father in the place, manner, of Christ’s own relationship with the Father.
While this is true for all the baptized, its particular emphasis in our priestly lives is precisely rooted in the reality of our being consecrated by sacrament in persona Christi.
Our divine election assures us of the needed sanctifying grace of fidelity, in Christ to the Father by the action of the Holy Spirit.
Our fidelity is within the reality of communion of love with the Holy Trinity.
As the courageous and humble man chosen to be the earthly father-protector of the Child and His Mother, we too must strive to be faithful in the reality of every moment wherein Christ is always ‘walking towards us’:
                                                      …..you are always and everywhere the bearers of your particular vocation; you are the bearers of the grace of Christ, the eternal Priest, and bearers of the charism of the Good Shepherd. And this you can never forget; this you can never renounce; this you must put into practice at every moment, in every place and in every way. [39]
It is when we choose, or attempt to, as it were, deny for the purpose of some form of self-indulgence or lack of truth-speaking courage, to be unmanly that we at the same time choose to forget who we are as priests.
This is when fidelity itself becomes unbearable.
The first aspect of fidelity which suffers frequently is our being visible, hence the roman collar goes; then proper ritual fidelity, followed by a less and less willingness to remain steadfast in the confessional, all the while our interior life unravels.
Ultimately, unless we repent, unless through the grace of conversion in the sacrament of reconciliation where we fall on our knees confident in the gift of Divine Mercy through absolution and the grace of every moment in Him being the moment of beginning again, all will be lost.
Saint Joseph, even before the Angel was sent to affirm the choice of his heart, a selfless, manly, loving choice, was faithful. [cf. Mt.1: 18ff.]
St. Joseph was the first ‘steward’ of the Treasury of Grace Who dwells among us into the world!
                                                      As a steward of these treasures, the priest is always in special contact with the holiness of God…..in the priesthood a man is as it were raised up to the sphere of this holiness…At the same time, the priest experiences daily and continually the descent of God’s holiness upon man….[40]
This is the greater truth, the greater reality.
Though we may live at a time when we are pulverized by the culture of anger, blame and death which surrounds us, pulverized because we are male, because we are priest, it is a little thing to suffer for and with Christ.
St. Joseph suffered and remained faithful and chose the path of love, before he was ever consoled by the angel.
Dare we be less of a man than Joseph?
Dare we love less?
St. Joseph is our dear heavenly companion, our heavenly brother, patron, protector, model of all the manly virtues essential to priestly fidelity. He also is a living witness to the joy of complete self-gift which is also the reality of our priestly vocation. [Jn.15:12, 13]