The Power of the Cross for Catholic Men

Back to basics. We can’t love the Church if we don’t know and love Christ.

God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thes 2:14

This struck me on the importance and power of the Cross. And we are given access to this power just through believing in Jesus Christ.

As men we face many challenges in this world. It is simply by the sign of the Cross that we are not alone and are given strength.

Heed these words of the late Francis Cardinal George:

“God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”

The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters. The Synod on the New Evangelization is taking place in Rome this month because entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history.”

 

You Become What You Think About

The Catholic Catechism and the Bible tells you how to do the right thing. But you may think, as I have, that a certain movie you see or how you look at that woman walking down the street or sitting in the church pew across the isle is a simple, innocent thing and doesn’t make a difference.

The other day when I was on Twitter a quote I saw from sales guru hit me: “You become what you think about all day long”.  It made me ponder on what I think about every day, which lead me to realize how much my thinking – and lifestyle – has changed over the years.

I used to be more selfish, helping and serving others with the end motive of serving my own needs and ego, and praying for my own needs – talking to God more than listening.  St. Francis says [that] it is through giving that we receive, and I took it literal.

Today …  when I give of myself I don’t look for what I receive, because the real gift is how God is blessing others through me .. which I may never see. My agenda has become God’s agenda. Said another way, I live my life as a prayer.

Your words and actions, men, say a lot about your thinking, and when you live your life as a prayer you see the world and others through God’s eyes … and become more like Christ. You’ll know this is happening when others tell you, because you might be too humble to see it in yourself.

A spiritual director once told me ”the ‘best’ Christian’s are those people who constantly feel that they fall short in living-out God’s will for their life“.

Here are some scriptures from the Catholic Bible that speak to me on what and how you – a Catholic Man – should think:

Power of the Tongue.  James Chapter 3    Proverbs Chapter 15

Thoughts and Thinking.   Proverbs Chapter 18    Matthew Chapter 9

What do you think about all day long?

Without the Cross, your life can be horizontal = world view, selfish and self serving.

When Jesus’ stretched out arms of love were nailed to the Cross, He created the vertical = Heavenly view, seeing others as better than yourself, and helping each other make it through life.

 

Holiness and the Cross

Too many times, we allow sin in our lives to distract us from the Holiness of God. As scripture says, “be still … and know that I am God”.  The two main things that keeps us from Holiness as men is our human understanding of sex and money.

Stay with me now …

The more we be still and look at that crucifix everyday the more we will see how us men need to turn off the porn on the computer; walk away from that affair (emotional or otherwise); stop flirting with all the ladies and instead look at them as a person and as a Woman; turn marital sex from self-gratification into being a Sacred and Holy gift to your spouse; stop using profanity .. PERIOD; stop little white lies and then rationalizing them; and take our minds off materialism: the faster car, the big house or boat, or the latest electronic gadget . .. or just the need to make more money.

(it is not bad to have things, but we must keep it all in right perspective)

All of these.. and more … distract us from keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. When us Men get sex and money – and the power of the Cross – in the right Christian order, we will then shake the world for Jesus Christ!

So, if you are going through an identity crisis I suggest you find the crucifix in your house and just look at it … and look at it… and look at it.

 

Your identity is in Jesus Christ! 

I assure you, the longer you look at Jesus on that Cross, the more He will speak to you about who you are and how you can become more Holy.

The greatest image I have of my late father is how he prayed the rosary, looking at the Cross, each morning in a room with only the window light – just him and God – before leaving for work.

The greatest image my children say they have of me is how I kiss the crucifix each morning as soon as I wake up. What they don’t see is how often I spend just looking at it in holy contemplation.

Us men have the power that when we get our holiness in order can impact the world, the church, humanity, and our families …  and all of this can be felt three generations deep!

We have one message to give through our lives … and the sign of the Cross:

… “only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ.”

 

— Frank J Casella, CMCS Executive Director

 

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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