St Joseph, the model of manhood
We hope you've had a good week.
This week we are looking at the meaning and purpose of Manhood, As we approach Advent and prepare for Christmas it is a great opportunity to contemplate the hidden life of Joseph. Our prayers and reflections during these seasons focus understandably on Jesus and Mary, but while reflecting here on Manhood, it would be worthwhile reflecting more deeply on Joseph's quiet but powerful example of a deep interior life which enabled him to ultimately, save the Holy Famiy.
We know from the book of Genesis that God created man and woman with absolute equal dignity and value. One is not better than the other - they are different but equal.
Unfortunately, modern society paints a distorted picture of men. They are often seen as lazy, aggressive, foolish, useless in the kitchen, chauvinist womanisers or video game addicts and generally clueless without a woman to tell them what to do. Also, with the growth of feminism, men are left confused about what women expect from them. It's not easy to be 'the modern man'. It is resulting in the dangerous deterioration of men's sense of identity and worth. It is causing so much confusion and a desperate search for affirmation, often in the wrong places. The ONLY one we can go to for the truth about our identity, worth and purpose is the One who created us.
Before anything, a man is a son. The biological son of a mother and the son of God, who willed and loved every man into existence. God also called man to be a protector -when he entrusted Adam with the Garden of Eden, he told him to look after it and protect it.
A man is a husband. Genesis 2:23 - what a beautiful greeting Adam gives Eve when he sees her for the first time; "At last! this is bone from my bone and flesh of my flesh - she will be called woman because she was taken from man". We get a sense that he was not yet fulfilled, something was missing, but he didn't understand what. He sees Eve and we hear the revelation and then his joy and gratitude. Adam now understands who he is. Faced with Eve's femininity, he now understands his masculinity, his purpose. She is like him, different to the creatures in the Garden and equal to him. He is no longer alone, no longer unfulfilled. His permanent and exclusive union with Eve is a gift from God and they are a gift to each other, giving themselves entirely to each other. Every man, including those who are not married, are called to give themselves in love and service to others.
A man is a father. All men are called from that deep voice within to be a father, whether it is to his own children or as a priest or lay person, serving the community with love and care, just as a father is called to love his children.
We see how God's purpose for man is fulfilled in the example of St Joseph. He gave himself completely in love, service and protection to his family. But, it is important to remember, that it was only through his deep faith and intimate relationship with God, that Joseph was able to live out his calling as a faithful son of God and a strong husband and father.
"Life is entrusted to a man as a treasure which must not be squandered but a talent which must be used well" St John Paul II
This weeks song is "The Father's Song" by Matt Redman: https://youtu.be/Xm6xr4Q9BZc
Let's pray; Father, I thank you for creating all men in your image. Give all your sons a spirit of wisdom and revelation as to their identity and purpose. Draw all men deeper and closer in an intimate relationship with you, where they will discover truth, joy, love, strength, peace and affirmation and be able to live out their true calling to be strong loving sons, husbands, fathers and protectors. Father, give women the grace and revelation to treat all the men in their lives with love, dignity and respect. Finally, we thank you for St Joseph, the model of manhood. St Joseph pray for us. In Jesus' name. Amen
*Theology of the Body
*I Am My Body - Jim McManus C.Ss.R.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6