Fatherhood, as we know, begins in the womb. For the past 39 weeks, my wife has been pregnant with our first child (If this article ends abruptly, I am rushing my wife to the hospital!).
This new life has been a major blessing to us and others, there is no doubt. It has meant more phone calls to our parents, more time praying as a family, more preparing for our future and more often than not, extra dessert!
It has meant friends and strangers offering prayers for us after Mass. It has meant smiles resulting from a pregnant belly, and it has meant feeling God’s love more than ever before.
The greatest realization for me, personally, however, has come from the reconsideration of the Holy Family. Never did it make sense to me before, the 3D dynamics of the Holy Family. These dynamics became evident in the familial relationships of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Prior to pregnancy, I saw the Holy Family as a 2D depiction of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and the Christ child. When I thought of the Holy Family, I imagined the figures you put out around Christmas time. Their roles were very holy, but static and unchanging. Yet there was so much more to the Holy Family.
Mary’s role as mother, for instance, started making sense, after seeing my wife care for our unborn child. She fervently prays for our child, never misses an appointment and lovingly prepares our home for this little one’s arrival. She has helped plan the baptism, arrange a pediatrician and get all the essentials a baby needs. Through this motherly love, I get a small glimpse into how our Blessed Mother would have cared for baby Jesus and how she cares for each of us.
For myself, learning about St. Joseph has made a world of difference in understanding fatherhood. During pregnancy, this has been accomplished through reading the “Consecration to St. Joseph” by Father Donald Calloway. What we have learned is that the Holy Family and St. Joseph’s spiritual fatherhood are truly remedies of our times.
St. Joseph is often only thought of as an elderly man who took Mary into his home. In contrast, Father Calloway re-examines the evidence, pointing out the youth-like vigor, courageous virtue and spiritual bravery of St. Joseph. Apart from Jesus and Mary, St. Joseph is the next greatest person to walk the face of the earth. How could we not long to learn about his fatherhood?
A seemingly ordinary man and woman quietly thrive in marriage. The lessons this couple teaches are timeless. Through Joseph’s love and respect for Mary and his obedience to God, he shows men how to be spiritual leaders.
Through Mary’s love for Jesus and Joseph, she shows the sublime beauty of motherhood. I believe by emulating their examples in marriage and family life, we too can keep Jesus at the center of our lives.
Luke Schmid is a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Church.