Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joseph and the Man's Gift of Self.

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of St. Joseph in the Western Churches. The must-read for today is Redemptoris Custos, a lesser-known Apostolic Exhortation by Bl. John Paul II. After my thoughts on warped femininity and masculinity, a little immersion in a truly masculine man is most welcome.

From the exhortation:

Mary, His Love
"Through his complete self-sacrifice, Joseph expressed his generous love for the Mother of God, and gave her a husband's "gift of self." Even though he decided to draw back so as not to interfere in the plan of God which was coming to pass in Mary, Joseph obeyed the explicit command of the angel and look Mary into his home, while respecting the fact that she belonged exclusively to God."

"Joseph was an eyewitness to this birth, which took place in conditions that, humanly speaking, were embarrassing-a first announcement of that "self-emptying" (cf. Phil 2:5-8) which Christ freely accepted for the forgiveness of sins."

Manual Labor
"Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption."

Prayer and Paternity
"The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah's coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life."

Conjugal Life
"Joseph, in obedience to the Spirit, found in the Spirit the source of love, the conjugal love which he experienced as a man. And this love proved to be greater than this "just man" could ever have expected within the limits of his human heart."

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