What Does It Take To Be A Man?

2 emasculation

If you haven’t noticed by now then you must be hiding under a rock or are turning a blind eye to the situation at hand….the emasculation of men. Everyone has their own opinion as to how and when it started but quite frankly, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is how to put an end to this nonsense and have men start being men again. I know what some of you are thinking, “Ok, John is about to go on a rant about feminism and how women have taken over, etc… and you couldn’t be further from the truth. This post is aimed at the core of the problem…men!

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Seriously men, think about it. We’ve allowed this to happen to us. Now part of it is our fault and part of it is that we were set up for failure right from the start. Case in point: Remember when the serpent came into the Garden of Eden and tempted Eve with the apple and out of nowhere Adam came in with this huge boulder and smashed the serpent, killing it dead right on the spot? Yeah, I don’t remember it that way either. Truth is that Adam stood by and watched the whole thing happen without saying or doing anything to the serpent. It is what I refer to as the “Adam moment.”

2 relationship God

How many “Adam moments” have you had in your life? If you are like me, I bet you’ve had a few. But don’t fret, there is a solution. What is that solution you ask? Well it goes back to the first question that I posed in the title. What does it take to be a man? It takes God. We are nothing without God! Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” That was the call from God to Jeremiah but it is also a call from God to us. There are so many messages from God to us if we just take the time to read his love letter to us, the Holy Bible. There are other ways that God calls out to us but we have to be quiet and alert but most importantly, we need to have a relationship with God. A relationship is only as strong as the time, effort and commitment that is put into it. Men need to build a relationship with God.

2 think

I’m going to leave you with a few things to think and pray about.

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Check your ego and attitude at the door – I don’t care how big and bad you might think you are, you are no Jesus. Jesus Christ, the epitome of masculinity, the main role model a man should strive to be. John 19:1 “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.” I don’t care how many battles you have been through in life, you will never be as tough as Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” This verse right here men is the attitude that we should carry with us every day! Allow that verse to permeate into your soul and then go out and live it!

2 godly man

Be a man – Before King David died, the first instruction to his son was: 1 Kings 2:2 “Be strong and be a man!” As I said before, I’m sure many of us have had a few “Adam moments” in our lives and this is how we can avoid them, by being strong and being a man. A Godly man will stand up for and defend what is right in the eyes of God. Here are a few examples. When you are “out with the guys” and they start talking about their past conquests with women, be strong and be a man, walk away or better yet, let them know that what they are doing is degrading to women and detrimental to their own souls. When a male friend texts you a picture of a nude woman, be strong and be a man. Delete that text right away and let that man know that you do not approve of his actions and if you want to send more of a message, attach a photo of Our Blessed Mother with a copy of the Act of Contrition for them to say.

2 confession

Go to confession – The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (CCC 1457) If you think that you can get away with going to confession once a year, you are sadly mistaken. That is like playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another.” Without getting into the Theology of this verse (That is for another day), the apostles (by todays accounts) were the ordained of their time and could therefore confess their sins to each other. In other words, get to your local Church and confess your sins to the priest who is In Persona Cristi at that moment. Humble yourself before the Lord. Do not be afraid to go, the priest is there to help and guide you. If it has been a long time since you’ve been to confession, then make an appointment to see your priest and he will take the time that you need and help you get through it to make a good confession.

2 pizza #1 dad

Build each other up – Look at the world today and how it views men. All you have to do is look at commercials on TV. We are told that we are too old, too fat, impotent, lazy and that we can’t even order a pizza.

2 encouragement

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up.” There is no room in this world for knocking each other down. We should be praying for each other and encouraging each other as the verse says. You don’t kick a man when he is down! Lift him up, even if he is your enemy, lift him up, dust him off and allow him to see Jesus through you. Remember, Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

2 jealousy

Push aside jealousy and envy – I don’t know when this all came about but all of a sudden it seems like men are more concerned about what they don’t have instead of being thankful for what they do have and if you have more than them, they have no problem letting you know by making snide remarks. Exodus 20:16-17 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” When you are focused on what others have you are not giving thanks for what God has provided you with. Instead of making insulting jealous or envious remarks, give that person praise instead. A simple “God has truly blessed you my friend. You deserve it” goes a lot farther than “Oh a new car! Must be nice to have a new car all the time!”

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Lastly, Stop complaining and give thanksPhilippians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or questioning.” Everybody is guilty of this one to one extent or another. It’s hard not to complain, look at the state of the world right? Yes, the state of the world can be bleak at times, sometimes more often than not but, we need to hold ourselves up as men and be that leader that our families are looking for. If our children hear us complain, guaranteed they will do the same. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” As much as there is bad in the world, there is equally if not more good in the world, we just need to take our blinders off so that we can see it. All good comes from God right? Then go out there, search out the good in the world and tell everyone about it.

buen camino

These are just a few things to get you started on the path to becoming the man that God has created you to be. I’m sure that if you sit down and think about it, you can probably come up with a few others as well. May God continue to bless you in your journey. Buen Camino.

Lost In Translation

1 wedding guest

There is a parable in the bible that I love and hate and that is the parable of the Wedding Feast from Matthew 22:1-14. The reason that I love it, is the message that it conveys about salvation and our choice in it. The reason that I hate it, priests use it as an opportunity to talk about “dress code” in their Church.

Last Sunday we heard this gospel and as I sat there in my chair listening to the homily, praying that this would be a different one that would stick to the readings of the day, I was sadly disappointed again. The priest started off well but went right into “dress code.” I don’t mind if a priest wants to push his personal agenda on his congregation but, do it afterwards or at another time, don’t use the gospel to relay a personal message or a pet peeve that you have otherwise the message of the gospel gets lost in translation.

1 God-Or-My-Agenda

If there is one thing that I’ve learned so far in my diaconate journey it is not to push a personal agenda. We haven’t formally begun to study homiletics yet but with the little bit that we are being introduced to, we have been instructed on what will make or break a good homily or reflection.

One of the previous priests from my last parish assumed just because I was a small business owner, I could afford to buy a suit or come dressed to Church in a suit. Most people that know me know that I dress simple. I like jeans and t-shirts and cowboy boots. For Mass though, I have a brand new pair of Wranglers that are pressed and used only for Mass and I were a nice western style button up shirt, shined cowboy boots but no tie. In the summer, it’s more of a clean pair of jeans or Dockers and a Hawaiian style shirt. I dress what I would consider, appropriately.

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Let’s be honest, do you really think that if Jesus Christ came down at that moment that he would kick me out of the Church because I could “afford” to dress up dressier? Do you think he’d toss everyone out that was dressed in jeans and t-shirts? I seriously don’t think that he would. Now is that to say that I’ve never worn a suit to Church? Of course I have but, it was during a time that I felt was appropriate for the attire, a special Mass, a special event in Church, etc… but I would never push that on anyone. I think Jesus is more concerned about people coming to Mass than he is with what they are wearing.

1 words

This is part of the “poor catechizing” that I talk about, especially in the area where I live. I’m not sure how it is where you live but where I’m from, in my opinion, our local area has been poorly catechized for a few decades in most, if not all of the parishes here. As priest, deacons and soon to be deacons, we have a responsibility not only to our parish and our diocese but primarily to God that we will go out and profess His message and not ours. Save your pet peeves and personal agendas for another time or do as our Blessed Mother Mary did and hold them silently in your hearts and pray on them. Or you can continue to preach from the gospel of Father/Deacon (fill in the blank) and continue to wonder why parishioners are leaving your parish or the Catholic Church. Stick to the script and let God take care of the rest.