Review by Michele Craig
Mark Miravalle begins his book Meet Your Spiritual Father: A Brief Introduction to St. Joseph by sharing the importance of St. Joseph as a key intercessor in our lives. He explains from his personal experience that “ At the greatest times and also the most trying times of my life, St. Joseph has been there as the “Mirror of Patience,” the “Terror of Demons,” and the “Glory of Home Life,” making up for my failings through his most generous and powerful intercession. From guiding my doctoral dissertation, to finding our family home, to assisting in so many times of domestic need, St. Joseph has always been there. For me, he is not only the holiest human after his wife but also an all-enduring, never tiring, forever-loving spiritual father and friend. For this, I could never offer him proper thanks and praise.”
Well,it seems to me that this book is at least the beginning of an offer of “proper thanks and praise” to St. Joseph! Mark explains in great depth many of the well known facts and traditions known about St. Joseph, and also brings to light many insights and anecdotes that I had never read before or even considered. For example, the stress of being a spiritual father: “Not only does every living human being depend on you doing your job for his or her eternal salvation, but, in fact, every human being who has ever lived, is living, or will live in the future depends on you doing your job well. Now, that’s a little pressure. This is what it concretely means to have the God-given vocation to be the Guardian of the Redeemer.”And when discussing St. Joseph’s role in the Holy Family and relating it to the role of a father in an earthly family: “Notice that, in a household made up of three of the most extraordinary people in human history (first, God the Son made man, the divine Messiah of the human race; second, the greatest creature in all history, the immaculately conceived, Co-redemptrix of the human race, Mediatrix of all graces, and world’s greatest human advocate; third, a man with a fallen yet redeemed nature), God designated “person-number-three,” St. Joseph, as the human authority in service of this special family. More specifically, notice that among these three, it was to St. Joseph alone that God the Father sent his angel to warn of the impending danger of death from Herod.”
Mark continues…. “What does that tell us? It tells us that God the Father respected the role of St. Joseph as the head of the Holy Family, even in a family that contained far superior beings than Joseph. Clearly, through his divine action, the Heavenly Father establishes St. Joseph’s role as the providential leader of the holiest family that ever lived. This also tells us that the role of a father and husband as the head of the family is not based on a greater degree of holiness but simply on the will of God in assigning to this role the primary authority within the family.”
Consider Mark’s comment: “…If, after knowing all you have gleaned from these facts, insights, and anecdotes about St. Joseph, it does not lead you to a greater love and devotion to your spiritual father, then this book has likewise been a failure.” For me, the book is a tremendous success! I have also been using the devotional prayers, Consecration to St. Joseph, chaplet, and litany provided in the book to lead me to a deeper understanding of -and connection to- my “Spiritual Father”.