The Year of St Joseph is a great opportunity to dive more deeply into authentic masculinity and what it looks like when lived faithfully, fully, and freely. St Joseph is a perfect example of a man living prayer, discipline, and fraternity. Often in the Scriptures, Joseph is shown in prayer attending to his religious obligations – dedicating his ‘son’ Jesus in Temple, going up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts, Jesus’ own habit of synagogue each Sabbath likely was fostered at Joseph’s side. Discipline is clearly evident in the ways Joseph often sacrificed his own comforts to attend to and provide for Mary and Joseph. Fleeing in the middle of the night to relocate to another country no doubt required discipline and sacrifice. It was a gift of love. While little is mentioned in the Scriptures of Joseph ‘hanging out with the guys’, Joseph was a man of fraternity. Both the Gospel of Matthew and Luke give genealogies of Joseph. Joseph knew himself as part of a family, as part of a people, as part of something greater than himself. This is an expression of authentic fraternity. Being of the House of David was not just a title of Joseph, it was part of the way he understood himself and very likely related with his family, near and extended, especially the men of the House of David. It was a fraternity that bonded them and gave them purpose. What better way to honor St Joseph than to grow in your Christian masculinity in ‘his’ year?
As this pious image of Joseph and Jesus in the carpenter shop suggests, Jesus learned the trade of carpentry under the guidance of Joseph. It was an apprenticeship. A handing over of learned and lived skills one to another by intentional and integral interaction. This is how authentic Christian masculinity is most often transmitted – by means of apprenticeship – ideally father to son. It is not the only way. Just as modern trade unions apprentice new employees who learn by living and working alongside experienced masters, this too can happen in the Christian life today. But it requires the choice, the effort, the willingness to accept the training.
While Exodus 90 is not a devotion to St Joseph, Exodus 90 may better configure you to St Joseph by apprenticing you as a Christian man of Prayer, Discipline, and Fraternity. Exodus 90 is a 90-day spiritual exercise for men to forge their way to greater freedom in body and soul for Christ and the Church. This program is focused on 1) Prayer, 2) Discipline, and 3) Fraternity. It will ask much of you, but when we give all to God, God will respond by providing all we need. [Learn more at: https://exodus90.com]. This is an outgrowth of last year’s Fridays for Fathers. You need not have participated last year to join us now. Please consider stepping forward and stepping up!
Exodus 90 will begin August 4 – the Feast of St John Vianney – and end on November 1 – Solemnity of All Saints. If interested, please contact me: [email protected]. Our first gathering will be Friday July 30 at 6:15a in the Day Activity Center (DAC).
Holy Family, Protected & Led by Joseph, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries