While I am a cradle Catholic, and used to love reading about (and acting out) the lives of saints, I recently confided to our chaplain that I feel as though I have a mental block when it comes to the saints as an adult.
As dependent as I am upon God, I also firmly believe God helps those who help themselves, and thus struggle when it comes to asking others for their prayers. And, while the saints have led virtuous lives, I struggle to ask for them to pray for my intentions, as well.
I think part of it is because of the (false) accusation that Catholics worship saints. I know we don’t worship them, but I think part of me is resistant to reach out to them because I don’t want others to think I am worshiping anyone other than God. So, I fail to remember saints are up in heaven, waiting and willing to pray for my intentions, the same way people around me are willing to pray for me.
Last Monday was the Feast of St. Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus Christ. The husband of Mary, a figure of a man who remains silent in the Gospels, but plays an integral role in the Savior’s physical safety, His formation, and His early years.
As we celebrated the feast day in my traditional style – meaning, I had a lot of thoughts, but no real celebration – I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between my husband and Mary’s husband.
My husband is Methodist, and I bristle with the concept of my husband (or anyone) being the spiritual head of anything, let alone the household. However, my husband plays a pretty impressive role as a non-Catholic spouse. He attends Mass with us on Sundays, he ensures our son learns his prayers, often times praying alongside our son, and he encourages our son to attend religious education in the preschool class. Furthermore, he willingly supports my chapel-related activities, and is there to lend a hand at almost every activity.
My husband does a lot – for our family, for myself, and for the Catholic Church.
And, he does it without argument, without cajoling, and without complaint. He understands my faith is important to me, and like any supportive spouse, is willing to do what he can to continue encouraging my participation in activities which are important to me.
I fully believe God reveals Himself to all people in His own way, at His own time. Therefore, I try very hard to support my husband in his faith journey, and don’t lose sleep over him converting – I made the personal commitment early on in our marriage to not pressure him to convert.
My husband may not be Catholic, but at times, I think he is more Christian than I. He supports our family in a physical, emotional, and spiritual sense. He plays his role as husband and father with little complaint, even though he has more than enough room to complain at times!
I can’t help but wonder if these similarities I see between St. Joseph and my husband are a subtle call to reflect on the greater life of a saint, whose purpose was to care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of Our Savior.
I can’t help but wonder if these similarities I am recognizing are also not a subtle call to reflect on the greater contribution my husband plays in our marriage – the role he plays, and the way in which he answers the call to love me, as Christ loved His Church.
Perhaps by focusing on the attributes of St. Joseph, I will continue to draw beautiful parallels between two amazing men – one who is already a saint, and the other one earning his sainthood through marriage to me.
And, since marriage is one way of achieving sanctification, I challenge my readers who may be married:
17 thoughts on “Parallels Between A Saint & A Husband”
Thanks–I needed this today! Going over my examination of conscious and my failure to fully appreciate the “St. Joe” in my life is on the list!
Haha! I feel as though that is a *frequent* Confession item for me… once I learned that was part of the married person’s Examination! But, I’m finding the more I think about the topic of marriage, the more I *feel* as though I am appreciating him more… not sure it entirely comes across too well… 🤔😂
I was a Methodist when my wife and married, decades back.
During pre-marriage prep, I learned that one of the conditions was that I agree that our children, if any, would be raised as Catholics. After a rushed and intense bit of research into what ‘being Catholic’ actually means, I agreed. That research left a lot of loose ends, so I kept digging.
Eventually I knew too much, and pretty much had to join. And that’s another topic.
Thanks for a good look at marriage, Saints, and all.
Haha! They didn’t make him agree to raise our children Catholic; instead, I was the one that had to sign something saying I would, to the best of my ability, raise our children Catholic. I was nominally practicing then. 😒
My son’s birth brought me back to the Church with gusto – my poor husband! But, he’s taken it in stride, and, for that I am so appreciative.
Thanks for sharing your own insight and experience coming into the Church – I love hearing conversion stories!
As I recall, it was an oral agreement: no signature. I may have misunderstood or be mis-remembering the question. Even then, as I recall, I thought of Catherine and myself as a unit – – – so her ‘yes’ would have been mine, too.
I think I just fell more in love with your husband! You are blessed….
Do you remember the litany? A prayer to as many saints as the church could fit in at the time….Each name was followed by “Pray for us.” That is a beautiful prayer, calling on them to support us in our faith journey. I seldom hear the litanies anymore. And who would know that you prayed to a saint for assistance? And who should care if it is YOUR journey and ask for help?
Your Dad is a saint on earth! Although hard of hearing and oblivious (!), he is always there to support our faith and the kids when we need it. He is a strong Catholic and a strong husband. And he will “drag” me into heaven along with him by his example an the way he lives his faith.
I don’t pray the Litanies as much as I should, but I still sometimes hear them.
I agree – Dad is very much a Saint on earth, and an exceptionally strong Catholic and husband. He is a great role model, and I also see many of Joseph’s qualities in him when I take a moment to reflect!
Okay, it’s like you sat down at the kitchen table with me this afternoon and said, “hey, I see you’re having a rough day. How about, instead of looking at the negative things so much, you take a moment to intentional pick out the godly, virtuous qualities here.” And then you told me your story. And then you challenged me to do just that. So I’m going to to do it right now. Thanks, friend!
Awww! Thank you!
I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a rough day. We all have those days – me, too! But, as part of being more “intentional” with my vocation as wife, I am spending more time picking up on the contributing assets of my spouse. It takes a serious internal commitment – sometimes, almost daily.
I am so glad this piece reached you when you needed it!! And, prayers your day turns around!
<3 How wonderful! I want to start thinking of my husband in terms of how he parallels to saints. I feel like this would help so much on the hard days when I'm off and almost looking for a flaw (which does, unfortunately, happen). Thank you for sharing!
It happens to all of us!! And, I am so glad you are thinking along the same lines I intended when I wrote this. It’s a little (okay, a lot) cool to find some similarities, and then the challenge becomes drawing them out in an intentional (and loving) way, as their spouse!
Challenge accepted!! 😉
I often think of the similarities of Saint Joseph and my husband. My husband is a man of few words and recently found a true passion for woodworking. I prayed to St. Joseph for my husband when he was in a career he did not love. St. Joseph intercedes for us so much – we gave our son the middle name Joseph! I love that you ask us if we have taken a moment to recognize our spouse’s saintly attributes! I need to do this more often!!
I think it is something we all struggle with! I also love how you have seen a connection between your own husband and St. Joseph! It’s really neat when we can find that model in our husbands, and for me, brings a sense of peace!
You married a great guy! He does have a strong faith. I can remember when we went through confirmation classes. So happy he found you!
Awww!! Thank you – from both he and I! 🤗🤗