I think that most men don’t have any idea what it actually means to be a man. My own images of manhood were formed by unfortunate characters from Homer Simpson to Arnold Schwarzenegger. When I married my wife, I think my view of “husband” was a mix between a guy who drinks beer on the couch after work and is loud and scary when needed.
Sadly, even the Church often embraces this sort of view of manhood (see this great interview with Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke). Too many men no longer realize they’re called to so much more than merely go to work, drink beer, and watch football. Their families, and society in general, languish for good sacrificial headship. We’ve lost touch with the patient, wise, compassionate, and strong (but gentle!) model to try to become.
Further contributing to the problem, modern technology has changed how we interact with the world. Advertising and media now invade every aspect of our lives, filling our heads with materialism and denying that most precious time of quiet. The internet puts any form of media we could ever imagine at our fingertips. Technology isn’t bad, but we must bend it to our will if we are to become what God made us to be.
Maybe you wonder, what’s the big deal? God designed men to fulfill an absolutely essential purpose. A purpose that we collectively have forgotten, yet one that our society cannot survive without.
- Fatherless families are becoming more common, even secular articles and studies shows the absolutely tragic effect this is having on our children. Our children need daddies to encourage growth and to safely push beyond their comfort boundaries. Moms are equally essential, but they cannot also fill the role of dads.
- Women need engaged husbands. Men and women are equal but different – they’re complimentary. St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians must be carefully understood, but they are just as relevant in the 21st century as in the 1st. Men are called to love their wives through sacrifice.
- Men need to be leaders (not bosses). Adam was the first priest. The patriarchs led the people of Israel and God appointed the men of the Levites and sons of Aaron as priests. Jesus chose 12 apostles to lead after he left, who in turn chose even more men within the time frame of the New Testament. Yet, where are our male leaders now? In both the Catholic church and others, men are gone. We barely even understand what a “leader” means, we have so few good leaders to follow.
- Men are called to be a powerful image of God the Father – to our wives, to our community, and most especially to our children. What image do those people see when they look at you?
Ladies, I strongly believe in the equal dignity and capability of both genders! My intent here is not to place men above women at all. If anything, I think the average mom right now is working harder than the average dad already. Instead, I am calling out the average man of our generation for being complacent. Join me in encouraging our men to rise to the potential that God created in them!
As we look at recent legal and secular trends, it becomes more clear that our country is changing. The moral and religious truth values we were built upon are being lost. It is impossible to not see the rise drugs, violence, sex, abortion, waste and greed. Our world is desperate for true leadership – leadership through service and sacrifice. It’s not OK for half the population to sit on the sideline. The stakes have never been higher than they are now. Every person, man and woman, has a call to lead those around them towards the truth.