True Strength Session #1: Heart of a man

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

This video series talked about how to be a man of true greatness…not about being a big deal. We are called to something more important—greatness. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.” So greatness isn’t just success in what you accomplish; it’s success at who you are. St. Maximilian Kolbe was truly great. He was a priest who spoke out against the Nazis and went to Auschwitz. Like all other saints, we are meant to use our gifts and talents in service of God and others. Below is a summary of the 4 marks of a great man which we (men) should strive for.

A Great Man…..Loves Jesus:

The first mark of a great man is a man who loves Jesus. There aren’t many examples of this in pop culture. What we see is that men are afraid to either make or keep their commitments. Too many are on a “mission” primarily to serve themselves. However, committed men form the basis of society. Your vision of manhood should come from fixing your eyes on Jesus. We tend to forget that Jesus was manly because we’ve seen too many feminized images of Him. Christ was a true man because He committed His life to others. He was a man of virtue, truly free to give Himself in love. We see Jesus’ full manliness when He hung on the cross—He didn’t hang there defeated, but as a King. Jesus was a victor over death. If you want to be a real man, look to Jesus. Jesus reminds us of what a real man is and what we are called to be.

“When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world…look to Christ.” —St. Pope John Paul II, New York City, 1979

Philippians 2:5-11 reveals Jesus’ true manhood.

A Great Man…..Lives for others

The second mark of a man of greatness is one who lives for others. Jesus calls you to be childlike, but not childish. It’s easy to think you’ll be happy if everyone notices you and everything is centred around you. God wants you to be a light to others. Who can you be a blessing to; who can you serve? A great man who gave light to others was Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a Marine chaplain during the Vietnam War. He died using his body as a shield to save another man. The world doesn’t need another pop star; the world needs more saints, people who imitate Christ.

“The Church . . . is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.” The Church, then, is “the holy People of God,” and her members are called “saints.” CCC 823 

A Great Man…Puts Himself at the Service of Women

The third mark of a man of greatness is that he puts his testosterone at the service of women. In ancient times, the chivalrous code encouraged men to put their muscle and testosterone at the service of others. However, our culture these days encourages guys to put their testosterone at the service of pleasure. The culture says a real man uses girls and takes from them. Some people say that’s how you express love. The truth is real love is doing what’s good for someone else, even if that’s laying down all of your desires to show respect for women. God is calling you to defend the dignity of women and be a knight. Do something to stop the cultural trend of trashing girls. Be that man! Respect and the willingness to give yourself in love is the foundation for a lasting relationship with a woman as purity makes you a real man because it frees you up to love.

A Great Man…forms his heart in virtue

The fourth mark of a man of greatness is that he forms his heart in virtue. Freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want; it’s the power to do what’s good. Virtues unlock your potential to live life to the fullest. (John 10:10). To get rid of vice, you need to work on the opposite virtue. You can become a virtuous man by taking some time this week to work on these four steps:

1) Examining your conscience to root out your weaknesses: Where are you struggling to be a man of greatness?

2) Having accountability: Find an accountability partner. It may be a best friend or a priest that you trust, but it should be someone you can confide in.

3) Using the Sacrament of Confession: This could take care of step #2 and strengthen you in grace at the same time.

4) Pray: Every night this week, ask God to make you a man of greatness and pray this verse found in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” In your own words, thank God for the beautiful gift of prayer and for helping us to see Him in such a special way.

Nothing will satisfy your heart like taking God’s path and being a real man of greatness. God is behind us every step of our journey and He is calling us to be the best we can be.

Further Reading:

A blog for catholic men: http://www.catholicgentleman.net

Read the inspirational article, “A Call to Manhood” at http://livelikemen.com/2011/12/a-call-to-manhood/

Chastity website on various subjects: http://173.203.206.166/chastity-qa/how-far-too-far/how-far-too-far

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