Fr. Calloway’s extended reading today relates a fascinating bit of history: how the Holy Family’s physical home in Israel was relocated to Italy in 1291, just before Muslim invaders destroyed their hometown of Nazareth. The building was moved without the aid of diesel or hydraulic power.
But first he reflects on Joseph’s title “Head of the Holy Family.” God created marriage and family, soon after he created man, male and female. He established a peacefully-ordered structure into which a man and a woman can exercise the great energies of their sexual complementarity, to prevent them from degrading into sexual “differences.” He has given men the charism of “head” and women the charism of “heart.” Ephesians 5 urges spouses to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” but within that overall submission exercise their specific charisms. “Jesus and Mary delighted in the headship of St. Joseph in their home,” writes Fr. Calloway.
Because many men—as husbands, bishops, priests, presidents, legislators, CEO’s, etc.—have been weak and unfaithful fathers, we are tempted to give up on fatherhood itself. That is not what we need. We need men to exercise proper headship, loving their wives and children, sacrificing themselves for those they love. “Obtain a statue or beautiful image of St. Joseph for your home,” our author recommends, which I did myself shortly after beginning this book. It was painted by a female monastic in California, and is pictured above.