The Catholic Defender: The Lord Jesus led me to Mary and Joseph
On my way back to our Battalion area, I meditated on what I just told the young man and how thankful I was to the Lord for having His truth in my heart. With this I began to see the Faces of Mary. It all started as a quiet day on the morning of 6 May, 2009. It was a sunny Sunday morning and I was given an opportunity to sleep in so I woke up about 06:30. I got up and got myself together preparing to go to Mass at the Division Chapel. I had to make sure that all our obligations were covered and that gave me ample time to go to Mass at 10:30. It's about a 15 minute walk to the Division Chapel but this particular morning, I was excited about the news I wanted to report to the congregation. For me, the news of Francis J. Beckwith's returning to the Catholic Faith was huge. He was among the highest Lutheran leaders and highly respected among the Protestant Evangelical academics. His conversion to the Catholic Faith was like a shot heard around the world. Well, here in Iraq, I heard it and I was anxious to share the news about it.
So, I grabbed my weapon and my gear and I set off to the Chapel. By the time I arrived there, I was drenched, sweating profusely in this 100 plus heat, but it was worth it! I guzzled down a quick quart of water and prepared for Mass. At the end of Mass, Father would give me the opportunity to announce the upcoming events for the week. We had the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) that was currently continuing for many people kept coming who wanted to become Catholic. We had just received in the Catholic Church 70 Soldiers for the Easter Vigil earlier in April. Now I had several more Soldiers who were coming forward requesting to be received into the Catholic Faith. Many from my Battalion! We also had Bible Studies that I was conducting at our Chapel (Warrior Chapel) and at the Division Chapel. It was at this time that I had the chance to tell everyone about Mr. Beckwith coming home to the Catholic Faith. I had a number of them come up and asked me more about this when this young man came over to ask me a question. He had originally approached Father, but Father referred him to me.
I pulled him to the side and he asked me what an apostle was. My response was a textbook definition that an apostle was simple one who is sent. However, I explained that Christ sent his Apostles out into the world after preparing them for three years for the Great Commission. The Gentleman then identified himself as a "Nestorian" Christian who represented about 5% of the Iraqi Christians in Iraq. He wanted to challenge me on why the Catholic Church refereed to Mary as "Theotokos" meaning "Mother God"? I responded with a question of my own, "What is the difference from referring to Mary as "Mother of God" as opposed to "Mother of my Lord"? I then quoted Luke 1:42-44, "Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled". Notice that St. Elizabeth refereed to Mary as "blessed" twice during this exchange. Notice also that she refereed to Jesus as "Lord" in her womb as well as the word of the Lord. Adoni was the word used to illustrate "Lord" referring to God. By this time, my Nestorian friend understood my meaning and with that, he had no further questions. He was interested in our bible studies from this point on.
In this way, Jesus led me to Mary, then Mary, as always leads us all back to Jesus. The Holy Family has more that two involved. Unfortunately, many times St. Joseph is placed behind the scene. Recently, we have been preparing a Consecration to St. Joseph, known as the "Terror of Demons"!
Father Calloway, a convert to the Catholic Faith and a noted Priest published a book, Consecration to St. Joseph which is leading many to a richer faith, some are returning, others are growing. It has become a recent movement in the Catholic Faith.
Pope Francis has called 2021 the year of St. Joseph and there is no better time than now as the world needs St. Joseph, his example and his virtues. After all, he is the world's "greatest Dad" called to help bring Jesus up for his mission to save souls.
Just as Jacob was an important servant of God in his time, more so was the importance of St. Joseph who Christ chose to be His "step-Father". Father Calloway's book highlights in a powerful way the faithfulness of St. Joseph. "In the midst of crisis, confusion, and a world at war with the Church, it's time to come home again to our spiritual father, St. Joseph. In this richly researched and lovingly presented program of consecration to St. Joseph, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, brings to life the wonders, the power, and the ceaseless love of St. Joseph, Universal Patron of the Church and the Terror of Demons."
Consecration to St. Joseph is a great powerful way to activate a sleeping giant. To get men to develop the gifts given to St. Joseph. Jesus through Mary and Joseph!