Catholic Fatherhood: Sacrifice
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
Inspired by Pope Francis' declaration of 2021 as the 'Year of St. Joseph,' The Daily Knight will produce weekly articles to share and clarify the vocation of 'Catholic Fatherhood.' Our mission, at the Sacred Military Order of Knights of the Republic and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus, is to defeat modernism, the synthesis of all heresies, in the domestic church (the family), the parish, and society at large. Building your domestic church is the quintessential foundation for fostering the faith and rebuilding Christendom.
Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope Leo XIII:
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
Fathers are Called to Sacrifice
It is not simply a social custom in Western Civilization for the father to bare the responsibility to support and protect the family. In fact, in accordance with Divine Order, all fathers are called to sacrifice.
As we prepare ourselves for the Pascha, it is abundantly fruitful for fathers to contemplate Christ's Passion and the example that it provides for us in relation to our obligations to the family.
In a previous article on Catholic Fatherhood, I explained the role of a father as not only the head of the family, but also as the priest, prophet, and king of the home. The Almighty Priest, Prophet, and King, our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed His life on the Cross to victoriously gain the means to our salvation and the establishment of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This should be no different for a father, both spiritual and temporal, for his family.
St. John the Evangelist wrote of the Beatific Vision, "And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Apocalypse 21:2) Catholic Tradition teaches us that Holy Mother Church is the 'new Jerusalem' and Christ is her 'bridegroom.' Chris, throughout the Gospel, referred to Himself and was referred to as the Bridegroom:
"To whom he said: Can you make the children of the bridegroom fast, whilst the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then shall they fast in those days." (Luke 5:34-35)
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath prepared herself." (Apocalypse 19:7)
"He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled." (Gospel According to John 3:29)
In this supernatural relationship, Christ teaches us, via His marriage to the Church, our appropriate conduct with our wives and children. Christ supports His Bride and Children (the faithful) with the showering of Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments and the fruitful presentation of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist during the Wedding Banquet of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He protects us by His triumph over sin, giving the faithful the power to fight temptation of the flesh, the world, and the devil. And, when it was required for the fulfillment of that support and protection, Christ laid down His life in the most glorious and sublime sacrifice on Calvary; for St. Paul wrote:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Fathers must put the protection and support (spiritual and temporal) of the family before all selfish desires and inclinations. Every day, while at work or while performing duties at home, should be a continual and small offering of sacrifice to the Lord. It is within and through our charity, filial love of Christ, that we must provide for the family, for it is for the happiness of God that we procreate and develop future saints for Heaven.
Fathers must be the shoulders that the family stands on. We must be the rock, as St. Peter was for the Church, strong and stable, immoveable by stress and anxiety, a sight of confidence and strength against uncertainty and raw emotions, the earner of bread and the provider of safety, devout to the Faith and loyal to Christian virtue, the leader of prayer in the home, and the zealous knight against all that is unholy.
Furthermore, and perhaps the most important lesson, as Christ gave His precious life for the Church, and priests are called to give their life for the parish (their spiritual family), a father is required to sacrifice his life for the good, wellbeing, and security of his family.
The family, instituted by Christ, is the building block of Christian society, and must be supported and defended at all cost, just as St. Joseph protected the Holy Family during the flight into Egypt. It is without question, that St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, was prepared to give his life in defense of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.