Stephen Buhagiar: Men, it is time! Let us go to Joseph

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Pope Francis walks down Via del Corso to pray at the Church of St. Marcellus in Rome March 15, 2020. The pope prayed as coronavirus deaths in Italy peaked at 368 in a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,809 out of 24,747 cases. PHOTO: CNS/Vatican Media

In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic currently sweeping northern Italy, a much more destructive virus is seeking to claim an even greater number of victims under the guise of an apparent act of benevolence.

Business Insider Australia recently reported that ‘PornHub’ is “now offering people in mandated quarantine in Italy, free premium subscriptions to its site as a way to help them cope”.

Pornhub is the world’s largest distributer of online pornography and was recently caught out by anti-trafficking activists who accused the porn giant of hosting videos of sex trafficked minors.

What is so incomprehensible is the fact that Business Insider Australia actually sought to excuse this invitation to view porn by concluding its article with the following; “It’s possible that watching porn could help generate virtual human contact… to make the experience [mandated quarantine] less anxiety and depression invoking.”

Where is our world heading when a seemingly respected media outlet publicly advocates for an organisation whose content includes multiple videos of underage sex trafficked girls? Heaven, we have a problem!

There’s more than one big problem with porn, says Steve Buhagiar

To put it bluntly, pornography is of the devil. Where men and women are created in the image and likeness of a loving Creator, the demon, via pornography, creates a counterfeit image where the person is stripped bare of personality, uniqueness, inherent worth, and, most critically, the disinterested love of another.

Pornhub’s own statistics released in December 2019 show clearly how devastating this killer virus is. In 2019, the site received 42 billion visits i.e. 115 million per day or 80,032 visits per minute. The terrifying fact for a parent is that 83.7 per cent of this pornographic content is viewed via a mobile device. Unfortunately, many of those who viewed it were parents themselves and, more specifically, husbands and fathers.

Men, we must go to Joseph! One of the most striking titles of St Joseph is ‘Terror of Demons’. This title places the context of the battle squarely on the table and names it! It reminds us of Saint Paul’s sombre words that ring ever more relevant in our present day:

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities… against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesiasn 6:12)

Yes, St Joseph is the Terror of Demons! In his latest book, Consecration to St Joseph, Father Donald Calloway shares some very helpful insights as to why the Enemy is so terrified of the Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin. Father Calloway focuses on three key gifts that St Joseph possesses in abundance with these being his chastity, his perfect humility, and the God given authority that he wields in his role as the head of the Holy Family.

St Joseph is known as the ‘Terror of Demons’ and many Catholics rely on his help. Photo: Lisa Johnston

Satan fell because of his pride. Because of his humility, St Joseph was able to accept the special grace of the Father’s own authority. He was able to teach and form in a most human manner, He who formed him in his mother’s womb. St Joseph had emptied himself ‘of self’ and had allowed his Creator to perfect his nature to the extent that he was ready to accept the Word made flesh first into his heart and then into his actual life in the Incarnation.

Satan, in his total rejection of God’s gift, turned in on himself and saw himself as the ultimate end of all actions. We see this same characteristic in those who succumb to the addiction of porn. They tend to their own pleasures and fail to see the other for the precious gift they in fact are.

They objectify the other and seek to use them for their own use. St Joseph lived with the most beautiful and perfect woman ever created. However, he only ever sought to make a gift of himself for her. He saw her as a beloved daughter of the Father whom it was his privilege to serve and to offer his life for. This is Chastity. To keep one’s heart pure and free from the desire to ‘use’ the other for one’s own lustful pleasures.

“St Joseph lived with the most beautiful and perfect woman ever created”

Satan hates that God submitted to the authority of a man. Both Jesus and Our Lady submitted to St Joseph’s authority and because of this submission, he was able to save them from the wrath of Herod when he made the decision to flee to Egypt.

In fact, theirs was a submission to the love that Joseph continuously offered them. Theirs was a perfect receptivity of the gift of Joseph’s whole life. In receiving his gift of self, Jesus and Mary allowed St Joseph to grow in his role of father and husband and, over time, more perfectly image the Father in heaven.

Men, go to Joseph and he will teach and help you. PHOTO: Unsplash/Michael O’Sullivan

Men, go to Joseph. St Joseph was the only man whom God willingly submitted himself to for some twenty or so years. St Joseph teaches us that it is only through humility that we will have the capacity to receive the gracious gift of God’s own life into our hearts.

St Joseph teaches us that it is only the pure of heart that will see the face of God as he himself did in the face of the Christ Child. St Joseph teaches us that at the heart of all God given authority to be a husband and father, lies the responsibility to serve one’s spouse and children and to do so daily.

Men, it is time to reclaim our manhood, our families, and to correct the trajectory of our weak and wavering society. Now is the time… men let us go to Joseph and learn from him!

Steven Buhagiar is the team leader of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Life, Family and Outreach Office.

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