Who Is The Most Important Man In Your Life?
“Besides trusting in Joseph's sure protection, the Church also trusts in his noble example, which transcends all individual states of life and serves as a model for the entire Christian community.”
-Saint John Paul the Great (Redemptoris Custos)
Who is the most important man in your life?
The easy answer is Jesus. Jesus is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, and our God. He walked this earth, died for our sins, and desires a personal, sacramental relationship with us so we can be happy with Him in this life, and forever with Him in the next.
Simple. End of story. You can stop reading now. (Just kidding. Please keep reading.)
How do you think Jesus would answer that question? I think that if we were to ask Jesus who the most important man in his life was, His answer would be His foster father, Joseph.
Joseph protected Jesus and Mary. Joseph provided for Jesus and Mary. His days as husband and father were lived out for the only two people that mattered to Joseph: Jesus and Mary. That’s why I think Jesus would answer that Joseph was the most important man in His life.
The Most Important Man
Now, your turn.
Aside from Jesus, who’s the most important man in your life? There’s only one answer to this question, and it’s the same as Christ’s answer.
Regardless of what your relationship with your dad looks like at the moment, your relationship with him is the most important male relationship in your life.
Your relationship with your dad molds you from a young age. Whether he was absent, extraordinarily involved, loving, or heartless; he influenced your life. Your relationship with him, your perception of him, and the lessons you learned from him have imprinted themselves on you. That is why he’s the most important man in your life.
Unfortunately, too often men describe their fathers as distant, absent, tough men who seem hard to please and impossible to connect with. This type of fatherhood that has given us generations of men who no longer know what it means to be a man. Instead of inheriting our manhood we end up questioning it and spending a life time trying to prove it.
Instead of living our masculinity in service of others, we spend the majority of our lives trying to prove ourselves at the expense of others.
The Joseph Option
God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed Saint Joseph in the life of the Church so that his example can undo all of the lies we believe about manhood. Joseph’s life is a model to us of authentic masculinity.
That’s why he should become one of the most important men in our lives. Instead of needing to prove his masculinity, Joseph only focused his life on being the best husband and father he could be:
His physical strength was used to serve and protect his family.
Mary’s virginity showed Joseph wasn’t a man dominated by his sexual urges.
His silence demonstrates his focus on his vocation and not gaining societal status.
That is why we all need to turn to Joseph to help undue and lies we’ve come to believe about what it means to be a man.
Here’s how to can start to allow Christ to build in us a new heart like that of His foster father:
First start by reading Saint John Paul the Great’s Apostolic Exhortation on Saint Joseph Redemptoris Custos. In it John Paul writes that “It is [his] heartfelt wish that these reflections on the person of St. Joseph will renew in us the prayerful devotion which [his] Predecessor called for a century ago.”
Second, start a prayerful devotion to Saint Joseph. This can be as simple as asking him to pray for you and asking God for the grace to be a man like Joseph. Or it can be a more involved devotion like the new 44 day preparation for consecration to Jesus through Joseph and Mary.
Devotions to virtuous saints is another way we can continue to persevere in our own pursuit of virtue.
Men For Others
All of us are called to be fathers. Some of us are called to be biological fathers, others spiritual fathers, and other formative-supportive fathers. All of us engage in an aspect of fatherhood when we interact with young men who will one day be in our shoes.
Saint Joseph served God through his fatherhood. We will get that same opportunity one day. It is up to us to make sure that we are prepared when our time comes. That is why we must pursue virtue now!
One day you will be the most important man in someones life. You owe it to them to make sure you can live up to that title. Prepare by learning from Saint Joseph and by praying to Saint Joseph.
Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons,
Pray for us!
Until next time - Esto Vir!