St. Joseph: A Model of Manhood

Not as Easy as it Looks
Being a man is no easy task. You may be thinking, “I haven’t moved from this couch in hours, and I’m still a man. Doesn’t seem too hard.” Well you’re right. If you were born a male, you don’t have to work very hard to be a male. But being a “man” means a little bit more.

In every direction you look for the rest of your life, you’ll see different versions of manhood. You can become any kind of man you’d like to be. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you and so many different directions to go in!

Each version of manhood will be convinced that theirs is the best. Some are very easily attained while others require a ton of work. Some are really exciting but usually end up in disaster, and some are as boring as Friday night on the couch with your mom knitting sweaters. Some are figure-it- out-as-you-go and some come with very specific instructions.

However, the one I’m most interested in is the version modeled for us by a Jewish carpenter named Joseph who lived a little over 2,000 years ago. This version is the most exciting one. It’s also dangerous, so if you want to play it safe I wouldn’t suggest it. It requires everything you’ve got. It’s the adventure of becoming a man of God.

A lot of people go through life not realizing that they were actually created with a purpose. Remember that God made you and God doesn’t make mistakes. So what is your purpose? What’s your goal? In one word: sainthood. You may think that God is calling other guys to sainthood, and not you — but the reality is that God believes in you.

That’s right, you’re called to sainthood. We all are. We’re on this earth to know, love and serve God. As men, our goal is to become the men God created us to be. There are many different ways you can do that. Different people live out their purposes in different parts of the world with very different styles. However, there are some basics to being a Godly man. Perhaps the best person to ever model how an imperfect man can rise to greatness and become a saint is St. Joseph, that carpenter I talked about earlier.

Saint Joseph was a virtuous guy, and that was key to the awesome life he lived. For us men, virtues can serve as a guideline. They’re sort of like a long string of lights that we can be confident will lead us home if we follow them. They are standards of moral excellence that we should try and imitate. They are characteristics we should try to adopt. However, it’s important to remember that our faith is about more than following the rules or doing the right thing. The virtues themselves are brought to their full potential and power when stemming from a love of God.

The seven Christian virtues are sometimes broken into two sections. First, you have the cardinal virtues which are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Then, found in St. Paul’s writings, you have the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love (often referred to as charity).

Virtues are something that can only help us, and the tough truth is that without virtues, we can’t really be the men we are called to be. It doesn’t matter how hard we can kick a ball or how quickly we can grow a beard. Without virtue, we’re just boys. I should warn you though; virtue doesn’t come easy. And the fight for virtue can be dangerous.

Excerpt from “Man Enough.” To read more on lessons from St. Joseph on becoming a Godly man and purchase a copy, head to our online store here.

Photo by Saint John’s Seminary on Unsplash