Good morning to you all! Yesterday thanks to Brenda and Fr. Keith we had a lovely mass and talk in honour of St. Joseph. While I wasn’t able to stay for the talk, the mass was very powerful and the presence and love of God was palpable.
Today I want to write about my own relationship with St. Joseph as a gay man and how he can help other people out there in my position too.
At the start of my conversion I had no time for St. Joseph. Everyone called him the quiet humble and hardworking man and to be honest it reminded me too much of my own dad, the hardest working man that maybe I’ve ever met that never spoke much!
But you see for me and for many other gay men, that’s the problem! We are often very emotional and sensitive and we needed a dad that could also listen to us, love us, reassure us and accept us.
So when I’d hear about this hardworking and silent St. Joseph figure I’d almost vomit!
That said I’ve always loved Our Lady and trusted her more than anyone and so I used to ask her to heal me of this prejudice I had against St. Joseph which obviously came from my own issues and wounds.
The first parallel I drew was how Joseph was going to divorce Mary when she fell pregnant because while not wanting to disgrace her must also have felt very hurt and needed to remove himself from this situation.
It reminded me of my own reaction and many other gay mens’ reactions to accepting their sexuality. Feelings of fear, shame and a desire to run away from the situation.
The only difference is that Joseph’s reaction wasn’t sinful, he was going to have a divorce while mine and many others was as we contemplated suicide.
Mary falling pregnant while not being married was an utter scandal at that time and Joseph desperately wanted to protect her. If he let his anger get in the way he could have publicly denounced her and maybe she’d have been stoned to death.
And so I began to see Joseph as a protector of people in vulnerable situations and thus of me. Just as Joseph protected pregnant Mary, he’d protect gay Michael, trans Toni, gay Séamus etc.
But I was still left with a few issues. When I’d meet other Catholics in the inner healing ministry they’d often say that Joseph was going to bring out the ‘true masculine’ in me and others and thus heal us of being gay?
Had Joseph moved from carpentry to conversion therapy I wondered and who was I to argue with these people who seemed to know far more about Joseph than me?
And so I’d sit in front of him in tears and say “What do you say about me?” and I’d feel an overwhelming love and acceptance of myself the way I was together with a fire in my heart to love and to live as sexually chaste as possible.
I dreaded meeting other Catholics because I knew that they’d probably neither understand or believe me and for as long as I wasn’t straight, I wasn’t holy in their eyes.
And yet this brought me to loving St. Joseph more because he would not have been popular or mainstream in his time and lived a very unusual life that would not have been understood by most.
Imagine if he went to the doctor and said “I’m stressed because my wife is having a baby with God and I’m just after moving to Egypt because an angel told me to…..”
He’d surely be locked up! And yet in prayer Joseph found the strength to get on with his unusual life without breaking down. He obviously had Our Lady to help him.
And so you see over the years I’ve learnt that there is far more to St. Joseph than just the saint to pray to when you are looking for a job or a plumber. Sure, he can do that too but let’s remember, Joseph was also a mystical man of prayer that knew and experienced every human emotion from joy to suffering and brought it all to God!
And so on this year of St. Joseph and just before tomorrow’s feast of the sacred heart of Jesus, let us not be afraid to consecrate not just our lives to St. Joseph, but also our emotions and hearts.
And while I wrote this from a gay man’s perspective hoping that it will inspire other gay men to draw closer to St. Joseph and to seek his help, it is equally valid for every human being and so without further ado, here is a nice poster of consecration to St. Joseph which I invite you to pray in your own time.
Daily Act of Consecration to Saint Joseph:
O dearest Saint Joseph, I consecrate myself to your honour and give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a greater purity of heart and fervent love of the interior life. After your example, may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. O Blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your Holy Death. Amen.
Blessings to you all and may St. Joseph bring us all closer to God and to eachother in love, mercy and understanding.