There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Many men have quit Catholicism and many fail to practice the faith. Many Catholic men have lost sight of the powerful attractiveness of heroic Catholic manhood. Now is the time when we need to bring St. Joseph back into the spotlight of our religious life.
St. Joseph As a Role Model
During Christmastime, Christ the King gives men the special blessing of remembering the heroic manhood of his earthly father, St. Joseph. Saint Joseph shows Catholic men how to be better men, husbands and fathers by becoming sacrificial protectors, providers and leaders of their families in several key ways.
- Saint Joseph knows and practices the faith. Large numbers of Catholic men do not know the faith and only one in four men profess to be “practicing” Catholics. Saint Joseph, a devout Jew, rigorously practiced the faith by his diligent adherence to Jewish rituals such as the circumcision of Jesus, the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and traveling to Jerusalem for feasts. Following St. Joseph’s lead, Catholic men can practice their faith diligently through deep engagement in the sacraments, prayer and the liturgical life of the Church.
- Saint Joseph practices heroic chastity. Two thirds of Christian men are viewing pornography monthly, putting their souls in mortal jeopardy. The statistics approach 100% for young men. Worse, four of five men have not been to confession in the past year, and only one in fifty goes to confession monthly. God knows Satan uses sex to attack men and blesses men with the powerful example of the chastity of St. Joseph. Saint Joseph respected the virginity of Our Lady; and, through a deep devotion to God, was given the grace to live a life of perfect celibacy. God offers the same graces to today’s Catholic lay men who aspire to chastity.
- Saint Joseph upholds the dignity of women. Many men fail to uphold the dignity of women, as they are influenced by a sexualized culture in which women are objectified. Many also reject sacramental marriages. Saint Joseph demonstrated a heroic willingness to uphold Mary’s dignity by marrying her despite the fact that she was with child, and, in that relationship, upheld her virginity. In St. Joseph’s heroic chivalry, Catholic men can learn to uphold the dignity of all women.
- Saint Joseph protects Mary and Jesus. Many Catholic men are failing to watch over their families and failing to protect their homes from an increasingly perverse culture. Saint Joseph protected Mary and Jesus by securing a safe place for the nativity and by leading Mary and the newborn Jesus on the dangerous and arduous trip to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous intent. Saint Joseph exemplifies the vigilance and determination men need to protect their wives and children today.
- Saint Joseph taught Jesus the faith. Men are essential in passing on the Catholic faith, but half of Catholic men don’t know the faith and are not convinced their children should remain Catholic. Saint Joseph fulfilled his role as passing on the Jewish faith to Jesus; while the Son of God learns directly from his Heavenly Father, St. Joseph oversaw Jesus’ catechesis for at least 12 years, teaching him to pray the Psalms.
Saint Joseph shows today’s men the importance of passing along the faith to their children by actively practicing the faith and being a model teacher.
Ora Pro Nobis
In Christ’s earthly father, every Catholic man can find the inspiration and confidence to be heroic Catholic men. Reflecting on the heroic manhood of St. Joseph can help every man be renewed in Christ, becoming the sacrificial protectors, providers and leaders needed in their families and parishes.
Saint Joseph, patron of the Church, pray that all men might come back to the fullness of Catholic manhood. Amen.