Mary and the Saints/Theology

Manhood Looks Like St. Joseph

People who know me well have all observed that I have a lot of really special facial expressions. One of my favorites is the extreme eye roll. I usually reserve this gem for when one of the guys I know is bragging about their latest “extraordinary” accomplishment or shiny, new car part.


Lord, save us all.

Do More Stuff!!!

We all know that femininity is often defined by a standard of beauty. I think it’s safe to say that masculinity is often defined by quantity and quality of accomplishments and possessions.

Once I worked with a guy who talked about himself nonstop. It was exhausting the amount of smiling and polite nodding I had to do in his presence. If I ever tried to talk about myself – heaven forbid – it would last for approximately 32 seconds before he cut in with more “how much I drank” and “what my car can do” stories.

And it’s not like I could escape either because I was stuck sitting on a lifeguard stand while he talked to me… I mean, talked at me.

I’m not going to say all guys are like this… but it is how a lot of people place value on their lives. What you do and how much stuff you have is generally what a person is judged by – especially a man. Do more stuff! Buy more things! Wear good clothes! Work harder than Jobs at your jobs! Be more successful than Wayne Wright! Don’t know who that is? Me neither. But some dude has that name and he obviously wasn’t good enough to accomplish things.

Manhood has become defined by how often you can point to yourself. It’s all about the “me-god” and I’m here to tell you that real women are very under-impressed by it.

What Does Impress Me

St. Joseph. He’s my hero. You know what he said about himself in the gospel? This: “……”

It’s not that he was out-talked by Mary. It’s not that he had nothing to say. It’s not that he had nothing to brag about! He could’ve been all…

“Walked here on foot… in sandals.”

“Helped my wife give birth in a stable… without a doctor or ‘What to Expect’ book.”

But he didn’t.

He was a totally normal guy and like the rest of humanity, pride was a temptation for him. I’m sure at some point he would have wanted to be someone amazing and to have some big achievement in his life. You don’t want to be an average Joe with David as your ancestor.

But then he just kind of… stands by the side in all the scenes of Jesus’ childhood. Or else he’s sleeping (Matthew 1:20, 2:13)! (Typical guy, see?)

I think that Joseph understood something about being a man that has been somewhat lost today.

Joseph wasn’t just standing by, he was stepping aside in order to let God be God. Instead of pointing to himself and the “god of me” he wanted his whole life to point toward his son, the Savior of the world.

It wasn’t easy for him. Only a man of incredible virtue, a man of heroic humility, could deal with the events of his life in such a faithful manner.

He married a scandalously pregnant teenager. He raised a son that wasn’t his own. He had to daily conquer the desires of his flesh in order to protect the purity of his wife and live complete abstinence and chastity. He was the head of a household that consisted of two perfect people… literally.

St. Joseph is my hero because he understood that true manhood isn’t about much you can accomplish or accumulate but how much closer you draw those around you to Christ. He stands by the side in the nativity scene because he doesn’t want to get in anyone’s way in their pursuit of God.

Be a Man

It’s not just in St. Joseph that I see this incredible example of manhood. I’ve seen multiple men emulate this quality and it always amazes me. I’m totally a romantic at heart. My version of chocolate and flowers is prayer and grace. When a man is more concerned about leading his girl to God than to himself… that’s a real man.

I just about figuratively died upon observing the spiritual significance of a husband who is a Eucharistic minister giving communion to his wife at Mass. That’s true love.

Or when my friend gave his girlfriend a Bible for her birthday.

Or when a guy I dated would pray with me when we were on a date, and encourage me with God’s words from Scripture instead of words of his own.

Those are the things that matter when it comes to manhood. Those are the things that St. Joseph would have done. And those are the things that make me wipe tears from my eyes, instead of roll them sarcastically.

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I want you to know that I’m praying for you. Especially for my brothers in Christ, that you will always have a desire to be more like St. Joseph in all your relationships. Hold Jesus close to your heart and you won’t want to puff out your chest and brag about your accomplishments… you’ll want to show others the treasure you’ve found in your Savior.

“Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your devine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me.” (Traditional Prayer to St. Joseph)

About the Author

Christina Mead

I'm just striving for sainthood through lots of imperfect ways. I daydream about heaven, where I want to be the patron saint of lifeguards. I think I might paint my nails just so I can pick it off. I wrote a book about Mary and what she taught us about being a Catholic girl. It's called "That One Girl" and I think you'd like it! Follow me on Twitter @christinamead.