Friday, December 4, 2015

On Encouraging Catholic Dudes

I was considering calling this post "Onward Christian Soldiers?" but thought that may give the wrong impression of what I wanted to talk about.

While I acknowledge the need for men to be encouraged to be strong Catholic men, may I suggest that the approach we most often see if annoying, lame, and maybe even counterproductive?

So often, when we encounter a speaker, writer, or program that seeks to encourage men to be stronger men and better Catholics, we run into the same, tired approach.

"We are the Church Militant! We men were made to be soldiers headed into battle!! We must fight the good fight and win the spiritual war!!"

I've got a couple of problems with this approach.

First off, being a "manly man" is not something that appeals to me. It isn't something that gets me charged up for running the spiritual race.

I'm not saying that's true of all men, just me.

When I'm needing that kick start in my spiritual life, I prefer to get that from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

If I'm "going to make it" in this world while helping get my wife and kids to the next, I need the encouragement of Mary's pondering, her patience, her kindness, and her purity to get me there, not a battle ready mindset that makes me feel like I'm ready to charge in and win some war.

And that's my second problem with this approach to encouraging Catholic men.

It presents the faith and holiness as something to be conquered, something that we can accomplish if only we battle hard enough.

While it's true that we need to take steps to conquer ourselves as we move forward in holiness, holiness isn't something that we "accomplish."

Instead, holiness is fostered through growth in our relationship with Jesus and the Church he founded.

This is the path I think will do more to encourage us dudes. Not the "let's get in there and win the battle, soldiers," but rather the, "let's commit ourselves to give ourselves entirely to Jesus in everything we think, say, and do"

That's how we win the battle.

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