Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Disordered - From the Beginning

The Bible is an amazing book.

As I delve into Scripture more intensely than ever before, the Holy Spirit is opening up the Word of God to me in ways I have never experienced before.

Some of us try and "read" the Bible like a novel. A VERY long novel. But the truth is, the Bible isn't "read." It speaks to us and we listen. It is an active relationship. It changes, revealing nuances each time through. Just like any re-telling of a story or experience.

Recently, I wanted to dig deeper into the Biblical role of men throughout scripture. What men did God set apart as role models, and what characteristics are called to mirror? So I decided to start at the start: Genesis. Most people (myself included) like to bypass Genesis, and a majority of the Old Testament, in favor of the possibly more reader-friendly New Testament. But it was early in Genesis that I wan given a revelation! No, not the last book in the Bible, but a new view of an eternal text.

Check this out... if you think that it has only been in recent history that the roles of men and women have been knocked their ears, think again. A disordered relationship between Man and Woman caused the fall of man. You got it! Men not standing up and taking the lead role in a relationship caused Original Sin as we know it.

Just read the text and you'll see. We all know the part about the serpent tempting Eve with the possibility of eating the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Eve took some fruit and ate it; "and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it."

You see, Eve didn't take the fruit to him elsewhere - he was right there with her while she was being tempted. He should have done something! He should have put himself between the serpent and the woman and protect her. He should have said to the serpent, "You want her, you'll have to go through me first." This err in judgement by Adam lead Eve to fall into temptation. It's our fault, guys.

And it's still our fault. We continue to turn our backs to the things threatening our spouses, family and society. We put our wives in harms way. We ask them to take the lead in the spiritual development of our children. We ask them to protect the family while we work late at the office, veg out in front of the television, or join the boys for a harmless night at the strip club. See, things haven't changed so much, have they?

Let's do something to finally turn the corner. Make the commitment to be a real Catholic man, in everything that entails. Be not afraid. It's our God-given duty. He'll give us the strength to prevail. Afterall, it's what he wants us to do, and be, anyway.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

20 Years Later...

This past weekend, I attended my 20-year high school reunion.

I attended a Catholic high school. Actually, that should be catholic, with a small "c".

Sure, we had an occasional Mass and prayed at the beginning and end of the day, but we were just as secular as the school down the street. Kids went to Mass so their parents would buy them a car. Their faith was pretty much their parents' (if even they had any), not their own.

I know what you're saying, "that's the way all teenagers are." Maybe, but the purpose of this entry is to let you know that nothing has changed in the last 20 years for my classmates... or for my school.

The high school now has a non-denominational "chaplain" on campus. The guy who was the big-time party dude in 1987, found it hard to shake hands since he had a beer in each all night long.
Men refused to bring their wives so they could talk more freely about the "good ol' days". Or even flirt with an old girlfriend. I handed out a few Real Catholic Men business cards which got odd looks. I wasn't surprised.

If only a Catholic education guaranteed a Catholic adult. If only good Catholic parents meant good Catholic kids. If kids could grow in their faith in spite of their parents lip-service practice of
Catholicism. What hope to we have?

The hope that is Christ Jesus. Us. His Church. Prayer. Evangelization. Walking the walk. Bearing witness. Being seen. Unapologetic. Faithful.

We are called. You and I. Don't sit on your sofas saying, "Aren't I a good Catholic?" Go out, and make disciples of ALL nations! Even those who are younger. Older. The Same. Different. Answer the call. Our Church needs us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Do Real Catholic Men Cry?

God, I hope so. That's not to say that I am a real catholic men yet, but I'm striving. And as I strive, the growing pains hurt. They hurt in my head, heart and soul. I keep hearing that I'll come out better for it on the other side. I'm not sure I want to "come out better for it" if it means enduring what I endure.

I think of Our Lord's Passion. The Agony in the Garden. "Let this cup pass from me," Christ pleaded... "but not my will, but thy will be done." Placing your fate in God's hands doesn't make the process any less bitter. In fact, it makes it more painful, because you have to have the faith to give it all up to someone, and something, that you have never "seen".

"My God, my God, why have you forsakes/abandoned me?" Boy, this is one that I say to myself on a daily basis. Like Christ, I know that He hasn't, really - but it sure feels that way.

We do "our best". We sacrifice. We pray. We attend Mass. We participate in the other Sacraments, but we feel separated from our God. Why? Is it a dessert time? A time of purification? I don't know, and at times I don't care. I just want it to end. And when it doesn't seem like it will... like the dessert stretches on forever -

I cry.

Christ cried.

I suppose if it's good enough for Him, it's good enough for me.

But still I ask that the cup pass from me - because I am human.