“The devil also exists in the twenty-first century, and we need to learn from the Gospel how to battle against him,” Pope Francis preached in a homily on April 11, 2014. Many are the weapons in our struggle against evil. In Ephesians, St. Paul urges us to put on the whole armor of God, including the shield of faith and the word of God as a sword. Unparalleled in power is the practice of invoking the name and authority of Jesus. We can also fly to the patronage of Our Lady, who crushes Satan under her feet. St. Michael the Archangel is also our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. But let us not forget St. Joseph, honored under many titles including “terror of demons.”
As the husband of Mary and the earthly father of the Messiah, Joseph is portrayed in Scripture as a strong protector against evil. It is to Joseph that the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream, entrusting him with a mission to rescue Mary and the Child Jesus from Herod, by taking them into Egypt.
I would like to focus specifically on Joseph’s fatherhood, to better appreciate his indispensable role in counteracting the devil’s influence. In chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, Jesus in his dialogue with his interlocutors offers some fascinating insights into the deeper meaning of fatherhood. His opponents begin by boasting of their status, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus replies, “if you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but you are trying to kill me … if God were your father, you would love me, for I came from God … you are from your father the devil.” It is interesting to note that Jesus not only acknowledges the absolute and supreme Fatherhood of God, but also the importance of created fatherhood, whether it be that of Abraham or the devil.
Read more at Crisis Magazine.