A listener wrote to Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ and said:
I’ve been listening to St. Joseph’s Workshop from Day 1, and I’m still hopeless with a hammer. I’m writing to ask about St. Joseph. I don’t have a great devotion to St. Joseph, but it’s not for lack of wanting it. I just don’t feel it and I’m wondering how I can work on that.
Fr. Matthew read the question on St. Joseph’s Workshop, and responded:
“This makes total sense to me, because I was in the same spot about 15 years ago, right as I was discerning my own vocation. When it comes to certain devotions, they may not be there naturally. You can look at your life and say, ‘I love the Blessed Mother, I love St. Jude, I love Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have these different devotions I feel in my heart, but that devotion to St. Joseph I don’t feel.’
So how are you supposed to cultivate a devotion? How are you supposed to cultivate a deeper love for the saints, or for a particular saint, when you might not feel it at an emotional level? That’s maybe the crux of the matter. What is the origin of your devotion? Is it because you have this feeling, this emotion that wells up in you? If so, that’s a blessing. That’s something that God gave you and you responded to.
If you want a devotion to St. Joseph, if you want a deeper love of St. Joseph (and I could extend that to say of any saint) it doesn’t always begin with just an emotional affect. It doesn’t always begin with that natural attraction. And I learned that from personal experience.
When I started discerning my vocation, I was looking at all kinds of religious orders. And my own religious order, the Oblates of St. Joseph, I wasn’t all that attracted to it initially because I didn’t have this devotion to St. Joseph. And I remember going through this period thinking that if God is calling me to be an Oblate of St. Joseph, doesn’t that mean I need to be the biggest devotee of St. Joseph ever? And if I don’t have that, maybe that means I’m not called to be an Oblate of St. Joseph. That was the problem I was experiencing in my life and maybe one that you yourself have gone through.
Let me tell you what the solution to that is. If you want to have a devotion to St. Joseph, it actually begins not from an emotional level. It begins from a spiritual decision, and it begins by you informing your intellect and learning about this amazing saint – the man closest to Christ, the man closest to our Blessed Mother.
If that guy was holding Jesus as an infant, for all the years He was growing up, if that guy had the opportunity to learn from Jesus when He was an adolescent – I want to know that guy. I want to spend time with him, I want to pray to him, I want to know him.
That’s why it’s so important, in my opinion, to have a devotion to St. Joseph. And if it doesn’t come naturally, and if it’s not something you feel, you need to develop it. You need to read about St. Joseph. You need to deepen your understanding of who he is. You need to penetrate those mysteries of the Gospel that Christ is trying to open up to us and to reveal to us.”
Listen to more from Fr. Matthew Spencer below:
St. Joseph’s Workshop airs weekdays from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.