Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Fr. Larry Richards in his book called, “Be a Man!” said, “children will always love their mother, but they want to be like their father.” He goes on to explain how men are the sacrament of Fatherhood to their children just like St. Joseph was the sacrament of Fatherhood to Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is only fitting before you read any further to stop and ask St. Joseph for his intercession.
Recently canonized St. Andre Bessette once said, "I am nothing...only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of Saint Joseph." Throughout my four years in college, I have been trying to discover what it means to be a loving man. Likewise, what it means to be young man in the midst of a hectic college world. It wasn’t until I started a weekly Wednesday devotion to St. Joseph, that I was able to discover the true meaning of manhood. Why St. Joseph? Of course He is the model of love and of purity, a model of responsibility and prudence, but all of this is based upon a more hidden holiness: being the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ.
When St. Joseph discovered the innermost simplicity of Mary, he whispered, “Your eyes are doves behind your veil” (Song 4:1). In the book, “The Mystery of Joseph” by Fr. Marie-Dominque Philippe, he illustrates how it was the Holy Spirit that tied the knot that bound Mary and Joseph’s heart together. True love is bound by the Holy Spirit. Think about it, when we love someone, we receive what is most secret in that person and we desire to live it too. Fr. Philippe goes on to say, “Truly choosing to love someone means loving what is most profound in that person” (pg 60).
Have young men lost their quest to find the most profound and deepest part of a woman? Sadly, I think so. Young men are being ravaged by a society that rails against any notion of traditional values. Society is spearheading the moral, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, and emotional state of every man with hedonism, pornography and nihilism. Let’s be honest, sexual desire is probably the strongest physical urge that we all feel. Channeling it constructively, into loving friendships, or spiritual manhood is likely the greatest spiritual challenge each of us faces.
Yet, the Lord gives us a spirit of courage and steadfastness. One of my favorite scripture verses is, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of courage and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me as a prisoner, but share with the sufferings of the gospel, according to the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:7). Nevertheless, I think one of the biggest problems in our society is that young men are no longer oriented towards the Creator of Love-God.
If we are ever going to learn how to properly love or be a man, we must turn our inward and outward disposition towards Jesus Christ—literally! We must regain a Christ-like spirituality; a St. Joseph-like masculinity. Similar to St. Joseph, we must thrive to be sons of the Heavenly Father. Let us continue to embrace the sacraments and the let this season of lent deepen our relationship with Christ and the church.