Marriage & Family Life: An invitation to grow as a husband & father
by Adam Storey | March 17, 2020
On March 19 we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary.
This solemnity is a beautiful reminder of the role that a husband and father plays in a family, and St. Joseph is a powerful example for those of us who are fathers and husbands.
Pope Francis highlights the importance of fathers in The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), when he writes that along with mothers, men play a “decisive role in family life” (55). He rejects ideologies that “den[y] the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and woman” (56) and he invites all of us to further appreciate and honor the differences that are a part of our very creation.
In my work, I often come across sociological research that confirms what Pope Francis points to: Fatherhood is vital for the health of our families and communities.
While we know that good husbands and fathers are vital, it can also be confusing to know what that looks like. One temptation is to ignore the differences between men and women, but an equally harmful temptation is to caricaturize masculinity in a form that is better described as machoism. Masculinity is not defined by the number of push-ups a man can do!
St. Joseph invites us not only to honor husbands and fathers, but he is an example of masculinity to be imitated.
Here is a man who is strong because he relies not on himself, but on the strength that comes from the Father.
He is able to protect his family, leading them to Egypt, because he is warned in a dream.
He is a leader of his family only after being obedient, taking Mary into his home (against his own impulse). I imagine that his humility helped resolve a pretty tense parenting moment when he finds Jesus in the temple after losing him for three days! (Lord, grant me that patience!)
St. Joseph’s feast day is an invitation to me to grow as a husband and as a father. He’s a reminder of how important men are, so I hope you’ll join me in praying for all the men in our lives, that they might follow the model of St. Joseph. May they be strong leaders, whose strength comes not from themselves, but from the Lord.