Called To Holiness – Tools For The Catholic Man

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. – Daniel 9:3

By Frank J Casela

“Some day I want to be like him”.  Have you ever said those words about your Dad?  “Some day I want to be like him”.
 
If your answer is ‘Yes’, consider yourself blessed.  In our culture, boy’s (and girls) with Fathers absent in homes, or who do not have presence, usually beget Father’s absent in homes.

The same is true for teaching (by example) the Catholic Faith in our home. Recent studies tell us that Dads determine the church habits of their children and thus to a significant degree their eternal destiny.  According to one study, if a father does not go to church no matter how faithful the mother is, only one child in fifty will become regular church goers.

Many Men who are high-powered in the board room, are passive in the family room. We come home from work and – like a big kid – veg out and play games first with our kids, instead of mentoring them by giving our wife time (if she is home from also working) – and cultivate the marriage.  You know how it goes: “the best gift that a Father can give his kids is to love their Mother”.

Men — In the home moms do the nurturing … dads build identity.

Whether or not you are married, what is your character as a man?  What is Character?  Character is what you do when no body is looking. In other words, what are you thinking when you see a woman in church wearing (immodest) flip-flops and short shorts?  Do you think about your own needs and desires or, do you view her as a person and women, another man’s daughter, and see her heart? (It is known in the Vatican for women to ‘cover-up’ their beauty, as to not distract from the Mass)

Men — In the Bible, Eve sinned because Adam was silent …. are you silent?

… Or are you holy and courageous, work to improve your marriage, be better father to your children, grow in virtue, serve the needs of others more generously, be active participants in your parish, and be a better citizen.
 
Here is my short list of tools for the Catholic Man:

When I meet Dad’s for coffee each week, many of them admit to me their kids get everything they want, more than they themselves ever had as a kid … but they don’t do anything about it.   The Catholic Bible says “Do not withhold discipline from youths; if you beat them with the rod, they will not die”. Prov. 23:13  In other words, men, it’s okay … give yourself permission to tell your child “NO”. Your kids will respect you for it.
… Pope Francis said on February 8th, 2015: “Effective fathers do not create robot sons who merely repeat verbatim what has been drilled into them. Rather, an effective father transmits wisdom right into his son’s core, enabling him to feel and act, to speak and judge with wisdom and righteousness.”  It is not easy to transmit this heritage of wisdom; a father must be close, gentle but firm with his children.

Penetrate and fill your wife’s heart with your love an affection.  Because, guy’s, when we don’t fill our wives heart, someone or something else will.  It goes back to Adam and Eve: Adam was not protecting Eve’s heart. Women share with me about their husbands saying that “I don’t want his money …as much as I want HIM”.  In other words, men, what she means is that when she doesn’t have YOU … she wants your money.

Read your Bible daily.  Don’t have one?  Start with the “Today’s Reading” on USCCB.org.  Make sure that what you’re reading is a Catholic Bible, as it has the added books called the Apocrypha giving you the fullness of our Catholic Faith. The Bears’ Pat McCaskey shared at our Chicago Men’s Conference that you can read the Bible in a year and still have time off for Christmas.   Don’t forget to have a copy of the Catechism too.

Live the Virtues of a Catholic Man by Bishop Joseph Perry.  Men — Start with one virtue and don’t move to the next until you have it mastered. Download it here.  Live them!

Join or start a Parish Men’s Small Group.  This is where a half-dozen or so Catholic Men meet to share and encourage each other about the challenges they face in the workplace and at home. Contact us for information.

Spend time with your children every day.  Either reading to them if they are young, or in a meaningful conversation.
MEN — The average Dad spends only seven minutes a day with each of his children.
… Pope Francis, in fact, said “To form a child with a wise heart, a father must be present to his children, he has to “be there” for them. This presence is exemplified by Joseph, who famously, never speaks,  yet he provides a silent witness which is powerful.”  Pope Francis understands the dynamics of good fathering – To be present.

Embrace your Catholic Faith. Trust it, and make your life – more of Christ and less of you.   Many of us Men identify ourselves by our paycheck or the sports Jersey we wear, instead of being a child of God, Husband, or Father. Where do we turn when we lose our job or that Jersey gets too small for us to wear?
Men — Give your personal agenda to God … don’t take it back … then watch what He does with it.

Attend weekly Mass or regular Adoration with the Eucharist.  …. and pray for and WITH your wife and family.  Click for A Man’s Prayer by Bishop Perry.  For example, the greatest image I have of my late father is how he prayed each morning in in a room with the lights out – just him and God – before leaving for work. The greatest image my boys say they have of me is how I kiss the crucifix each morning as soon as I wake up.
Men — When you go to Mass each Sunday, bring yourselves to the Altar … to the Eucharist … as a living sacrifice.

Turn off the TV and read some books!  ‘Journey to Heaven’  — Randy Hain  or  ‘Be A Man’ —  Fr. Larry Richards  Don’t have time …. again, turn off the TV.  Find resources for Catholic men here.

Men — in the end, life is God’s gift to you … what you do with your life is your gift to God.

Make a commitment to holiness …. In the words of Pope Francis “The Church, our Mother, is committed to supporting with all her strength the good and generous presence of fathers in families, because they are, for the new generations, irreplaceable custodians and mediators of faith in goodness, in justice and in the protection of God, as Saint Joseph.”

Thus the mission of CMCS — Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man.

 
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. – Daniel 9:3

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Frank J Casella is Executive Director of Catholic Men Chicago Southland CMCSVirtues.org

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Author: Catholic Men Chicago Southland

Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS) fosters Catholic Men in personal holiness to make Jesus Christ the center of our daily lives, and sponsor of the Bishop Perry Catholic Chicago Men's Forum. CMCS is Catholic Apostolate of Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry of Chicago. Executive Director, Frank J. Casella Vision: To Nurture Catholic Men's Spirituality in the Chicago Southland