Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lessons on True Manliness...

I've heard that among the many problems in the world today, one of the greatest crisis is the defective understanding of masculinity. I remember being asked the question, "What does authentic masculinity look like", on a seminary application. And I was almost at a loss. But I realize now that to discern a call to the priesthood and to be a priest, we need to know what it means to be real men in the way our Creator ordained us. How else can we become men of the Church, fathers for the many, if we do not first know what it means to be a man? Grace, the gift of ordination, works with nature, our nature as men. So what does it mean to be a real man? Fr. Roger J. Landry has a great article on this here. I quote a small part below. He compares true men to a good soldier. This image helps, well at least for me.

A good soldier, especially one fit for battle, generally has the following ten traits, among others:

• He is willing to give his life to protect others.

• He is task-oriented, and lets his actions speak for themselves.

• He does his duty, even when it is unappreciated.

• He is a man of honor, who is loyal to others and to his principles.

• He is rooted in discipline and strength.

• He may be tender and compassionate but never soft.

• He sees himself as part of a unit, a band of brothers, greater than himself.

• He follows the chain of command, without considering it demeaning.

• He is courageous, even and especially when heroism is required.

• He sees sacrifice as an opportunity to show his character and demonstrate love.

There is also another article I came across that talks about the lessons we can learn from a great generation that came before us. I found this inspiring too. I will not say I necessarily support everything on that website, especially the advertisements, and even the author, but this specific material is good. Look here. I've posted a part below.

Lesson #4: Love Loyally

The men of the Greatest Generation took their marriage vows seriously. Brokaw wrote, “It was the last generation in which, broadly speaking, marriage was a commitment and divorce was not an option. I can’t remember one of my parents’ friends who was divorced. In the communities where we lived it was treated as a minor scandal.” The numbers bear Brokaw’s anecdotal evidence out: of all the new marriages in 1940, 1 in 6 ended in divorce. By the late 1990’s, that number was 1 in 2.

This was a time where there was no hanging out or “hooking up.” Men asked women on, and had serious intentions in doing so. When a particular gal caught a man’s heart, he proposed, and they got hitched. And they were married for the next 60 years.

Peggy and John Assenzio had the kind of commitment to marriage typical of the Greatest Generation. They were married right before John headed off to basic training. Peggy kept her husband constantly in her thoughts while he was away. “I never went to sleep until I wrote John a letter. I wrote every single day. I wouldn’t break the routine because I thought it would keep him safe.” When John got home, he and Peggy picked up right where they left off. John would sometimes have nightmares about the war, and Peggy was always there to comfort him. John said, “The war helped me to love Peggy more, if that’s possible. To appreciate her more.” Their commitment to each other was unshakeable. Peggy believed that young couples today, “don’t fight enough. It’s too easy to get a divorce. We’ve have our arguments, but we don’t give up. When my friends ask whether I ever considered divorce, I remind them of the old saying, ‘We’ve thought about killing each other, but divorce? Never.”


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