Strength in Unity

Small groups for men.

In the second Story of Creation (Gn 2:18) The Lord God said: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him”. From the beginning God created man with an inherent desire for human contact, a need for human interaction and relationships.

Scripture contains many passages that cite man’s need for relationships and the positive benefits that accrue therefrom.

“As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” (Proverbs 27:17)

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Man is a relational creature. It has been empirically demonstrated through study after study that when man is deprived of human contact he suffers emotional, physical and spiritual harm to his well-being. We know also that men fulfill their human relational needs in different ways than women.

We men tend to be less willing to share emotions and feelings in personal relationships, jealously guarding our vulnerability or perhaps not wishing to signal a position of “weakness”. Not withstanding our guarded actions, we men need to participant in meaningful personal relationships in order to grow and be fully human.

A cornerstone of CMCS’ ministry is to encourage men to develop men’s small groups within their local parishes. Why small groups? Well for one, Jesus himself provided the model when he called a small band of twelve men to be his disciples. Was this a randomly selected number? I don’t think so.

I believe Jesus knew that the unity, strength and discipline required of his initial followers would best be accomplished if they had an intimate personal relationship with him and each other. The rest is history!

Why are small Catholic men’s groups so valuable to the men participating, as well as to the local parish? Here’s what some men have to say (Book Source: Small Christian Communities: A Vision of Hope.)…

“Jesus showed us that a radically new relationship is possible between God and humans and among human beings. It is a relationship of integrity, wholeness, and freedom from fear and anxiety. It is a relationship of justice and peace. It is the coming of the reign of God.”

St. Pope John Paul II said …”small faith communities are a sign of vitality within the church, an instrument of formation and evangelization, and a solid starting point for a new society based on a civilization of love.”

Lastly, Small Men’s Groups are a readily available and easy to implement tool to help us live out the eight virtues of a Catholic man offered to us by our Vicar Bishop Joseph Perry.

Deacon John Rangel, CMCS Co-Founder and Director of Mission

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