Friday, November 13, 2009

Men and Faith

Dawn Eden, over at Headline Bistro, wrote an article, "Love and War," in which she interviews Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, FI, about the idea of Marian Chivalry.

It raises the topic of men and how they can grow closer to Christ in a way that is appropriately suited to and harmonious with our natural, God-given inclinations as men to serve and protect others. There is a problem sometimes with how men perceive the Christian spiritual life. It can sometimes seem as though church is a place for women. How do men fit in? How can they pursue having a healthy masculinity while being a serious Christian at the same time? This is one of the challenges facing contemporary Catholic parish life. And, I think especially so in regard to single young adult men.

An excerpt from Dawn's article:
 “At the heart of anyone’s standing in the spiritual life is interior union with God,” Father Geiger told me. While the Church sees the bride’s union with the Heavenly Bridegroom as a key analogy for this union, Father Geiger stresses that “men must translate their interior life into a plan of action if they are to maintain their spiritual life.”

Such action is necessary because “men are hardwired to take risks. They must face their fears, confront evil and defend the weak. Otherwise, they either naturally lose interest in the spiritual life or unnaturally consent to be emasculated.”
And later, also quoting Fr. Geiger,
“It is the man’s fundamental role to protect and defend, to put himself between his bride and the serpent. Adam, the first man, failed in this regard. Christ, the New Man, succeeded. A man’s love for God and neighbor will always be defined in this way." [full article here]
Indeed, as men, we need to seek opportunities to put ourselves between our "bride" and the serpent, whether that bride be a human spouse or the Church. And we need to take (reasonable) risks sometimes as we do so. Without these things, as Fr. Geiger suggests, the flame of enthusiasm for the life of faith can grow cold in our hearts. I think, for men, this is as understandable as the knowing smile on our lips when we see a little boy energetically brandishing a play sword, eager for imaginary combat. May we learn more effectively how, as Catholic men, to live a life wherein we can grow both in authentic masculinity and in Christian faith. And grow in such a way that each augments and enhances the other without any discord between them.

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