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Men Just Need to be Men

The culture has been hard on men for decades, but many are rising up against that tide. It’s something that both men and women should get behind. God made us male and female to complement one another, so when men grow stronger, women and families do too. Here are some of my favorite examples below.

Do a search on the Internet to see how many men’s conferences there are. It’s only been in the last decade since they began, and they keep growing. Last February, the 1,500 tickets for the Catholic Men’s Fellowship Conference in Phoenix, Arizona sold out in just four hours. Those gatherings are opportunities for men to recognize the importance of marriage and the role of men within the family.

The Catholic Gentleman website was created by Sam Guzman, a 30-year-old who works in marketing at Covenant Eyes, a company helping people recover from pornography use. He created it to revive vintage manhood to valor and virtue and encourage men to practice things like self-control, honesty, and self-discipline.

In an interview for a previous article he told me: “One day, while praying St. Maximilian Kolbe’s consecration to Mary novena and praying that I might be used in some way, I had a clear mental picture of a site for Catholic men,” he said. “It would move the reader from natural virtue to supernatural virtue and hold up the saints as models.”

The Order of Lapanto is a lay apostolate dedicated to Catholic men combining martial arts and faith with engaging the body, mind, and soul. It is based on a belief that the original practitioners—such as the Medieval knights—were both physical and deeply Catholic, which guided them in every aspect of their lives.
For instance, one track practices martial skills of late Medieval and Renaissance Catholic Knights to encourage and strengthen the fighting spirit in modern Catholic men, giving them physical skills, which can be translated to spiritual skills, and building a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie.

That Man is You!

Mark Hartfiel is vice president of Paradisus Dei, (Paradise of God) a family ministry that includes the program That Man is You! This parish program addresses pressures men face in contemporary culture. It began 12 years ago in Houston and is now in 600 parishes in 46 states with 25,000-30,000 members meeting weekly for breakfast to watch a 30-minute DVD and discuss it afterward. The program harmonizes social and medical science with the teachings of the Church and the wisdom of the saints to encourage men to embrace their vocations.

“The intent is to turn the hearts of men to their families and understand the grace received in matrimony and family life,” Hartfiel explained. “Homes can be the foretaste of heaven.” Becoming a man after God’s own heart is primary, he said. “If we don’t get it right with God, we are not going to get anything right.”

Rise

Over a thousand parishes and many thousands of men have participated in Rise: A 30 Day Challenge. It is co-authored by Chris Stefanick, host of EWTN’s “Real Life Catholic,” and Bill Donaghy, a curriculum specialist at the Theology of the Body Institute. The daily online videos watched from home, offer reflections to strengthen and engage men—especially those that typically do not come to a group study.

“We have a crisis in the masculine identity; they are not intentional about living,” Stefanick said. “They are not showing up to church and not asking girls to marry them, and when they do, they are not remaining faithful.”

The program helps men live out their identities in Christ through practical daily habits, such as prayer and making choices ahead of time. “We need to refocus on what it looks like to follow Jesus Christ every day,” Stefanick said. “It’s all about men living out their Christianity and living in the joy of the Lord.”??On dates throughout September and October, parishes will begin the Rise program?In addition, every priest, religious, and seminarian in the nation will be granted free access this September with unique challenges added specifically for clergy.

Parishes may review the program at no cost. It is also available in Spanish. To see a free, half-hour, live webinar, “Reaching the Hearts of Men,” featuring Stefanick and Donaghy click here.

Post-abortive services

Another area of growth is the recognition of the need for men’s post-abortive healing. Kevin Burke is co-founder (along with wife, Theresa) of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.

By healing and having hope that the child lives in the Lord, he Burke that men can reclaim their fatherhood and heal. “It’s painful to face the gravity of their actions, but if they don’t face it head on, it crops up and leads to behaviors that hurt them and their relationships.”  Interested men and go to abortionforgiveness.com to find healing services.

Women Supporting Men

Women need men to support us and men need us to support them. Our prayers can transform the men in our lives. A favorite book that I read years ago, The Power of a Praying Wife tells of Stormie Omartian’s marriage recovery through prayers for her husband. The author is not Catholic, but any Christian wife can be inspired by her story. It has over 3,500 5-star ratings so I’m not the only one who liked it.

Another good one is Club 11 created by Julie Alexander. It is an on-line support for women to be the wives and mothers God made us to be through the intercession and example of the Blessed Mother. She and her husband Greg offer marriage enrichment and personal coaching through The Alexander House. (There is an $11 monthly membership fee that includes podcasts and many other resources.)

And if nothing else, let us all pray together to heal our culture of the sin and confusion that wounds both men and women. Lord, may your Holy Spirit open our minds and hearts to the truth and to strengthen us to fulfill the roles you created us for.


Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. Her newest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love, and Dear God, I Don't Get It and the sequel, Dear God, You Can't Be Serious, children's fiction that feeds the soul through a fun and exciting story. FacebookFamily website. Her blogTwitter. Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/author/patti-maguire-armstrong#ixzz2x8GW9PlN