The below was written and shared by my friend Tom at Strength4change. It is taken from Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix letter called – Into The Breach. Thank you Tom for sharing this and Inspiring us! It’s a great reminder!
Having been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20). The world cannot possibly give us our true identity; “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). We must be aware of being distracted by false identities and remain grounded in Jesus Christ.
The new technologies of social media where we can constantly display and discuss ourselves can lead to a type of idolatry that consumes us. Honest prayer will keep us grounded and help us to avoid this temptation.
We may be tempted to say, “When I get this three-fold battle behind me, I can start living the life of holiness,” but this is a lie! It is precisely in the course of this fight that we become holy.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.” Any greatness that we might merit as Catholic men depends upon this fight for holiness. It is the same fight Jesus Christ fought in the desert and the same fight our Christian forefathers fought in order to hand down the faith. Woe to us if we do not pick up the weapons of the Spirit – offered to us freely – and accept them bravely and gratefully! Courage, confidence, and humble reliance on God’s infinite resources are called for here as we engage.
Never be shy or ashamed about praying over meals. Never deny Christ the gratitude that is due to Him. Do this no matter where you are, with whom or how much you are eating.
The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholic men meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life.
In the Mass, a man gives thanks to God for his many blessings and hears Christ send him again into the world to build the Kingdom of God.
Fathers who lead their children to Mass are helping in a very real way to ensure their eternal salvation.
If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the Faith.
Proverbs tells us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). I call on each of our priests and deacons to draw men together in their parishes and to begin to rebuild a vibrant and transforming Catholic fraternity. I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. There is no friendship like having a friend in Christ.
. . . true masculine love will always build bonds! On the Cross and through the Eucharist, Jesus gives his very blood to bind us to Himself in love. At the Last Supper, offering us the Eucharist, His prayer to the Father is “that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:11). As He proclaims, His committed, binding love will “draw all men to himself” (John 12:32). In its Latin root, the word religion implies “binding together.” Thus, it is no wonder that in a culture of broken bonds, so fearful of commitment, we often hear, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Satan is also “spiritual, but not religious”! A man who lives life without a single, self-giving bond in his life deserves our pity, not our admiration.
Instead, the true love of Christ is centered on willing the good of the other, on pouring oneself out in charity for others. This is how the Son reveals the Father’s love: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you…This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15: 9, 12).
What is friendship? Who is a friend? The Scriptures tell us, “A friend is a friend at all times, and a brother is born for the time of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). I am convinced that if men will seek true brotherhood, the adversities we face today will solidify bands of brothers who will be lauded in Heaven!
Do you have friends with whom you share the mission of holiness?
“God assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man.” – Pope St. John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love, 100:6
St. Josemaría Escrivá: “[T]here is a need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work.” – St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
I urge you, young men, to prepare for marriage even before you meet your (future) bride. Such training in sacrifice is to love your bride before you meet her, so that you may one day say, “Before I knew you, I was faithful to you.”
Through spousal love, men live out a strength that endures, a strength for which the world longs, and a strength that will stabilize a crumbling society. True, this love is not free from periods of difficulties and suffering. No vocation is!
When a man is called to spousal love in marriage and family life, the priesthood, or some consecration to the Lord, he is called to a great and meaningful life. Indeed if we run from this battle because of its challenges, we will be left empty.
In the Sacrament of Marriage, human love is caught up in the infinite and eternal love of God. – Gaudium et spes,
This is the glory, men! Called to marriage, you are called to be as Christ to your bride. Because this love unites you and your spouse sacramentally with the infinite love that Christ has for each of you, your sacramental marriage overcomes the limits of natural marriage and achieves the infinite and eternal character to which every love aspires.
While much of our culture may not fully understand or encourage this commitment, the grandeur of spousal love to which we are called, we should in no way be discouraged. Rather, consider how blessed we are to be called to proclaim this truth in a time when it is most needed. In doing so, you radiate the light of Christ in an area of society so darkened by what has always threatened spousal love. Our Catechism names them clearly: “discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation… self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure.”21We could add here the use of pornography, always toxic to both the participants and the observers, and the consumptive “hook-up” subculture that removes sexual encounters entirely from the spousal relationship. 21 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1606
Instead of real and authentic love, this false “liberty” offers cheap pleasures that mask a deeper loneliness and pain. Instead of the security of traditional family bonds, it leaves children longing for the stability of a mother’s and a father’s love. Instead of the freedom that comes with accepting the truth of God’s design for human love between a man and woman, the Sexual Revolution has arrogantly rebelled against human nature, a nature that will never thrive in confusion and lack of self-control.
the “love” promised by the Sexual Revolution has never been found. In its wake is wreckage, countless broken hearts bound by fear of more pain, broken lives, broken homes, broken dreams and broken belief that love is even possible.
We need to see masculine chastity for what it is, whereas too often, this virtue is seen in negative light, as something weak. Nothing could be more false! Chastity is strength and a rejection of slavery to the passions. Christians have always believed that chastity, whether in marriage or celibacy, is a freedom from the enslavement to sin and our passions.
The virtue of chastity is the… “…integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2337
When battling pornographic temptations, it is important to consider honestly the factors surrounding the temptation. For most men, these include loneliness, boredom, anger, insecurity, and stress. Simply understanding the context of a temptation prompts us to invite God to send His grace to begin to overcome the devil’s tactics.
In our time, we hear of such high rates of sexual assaults in our society, especially on college campuses. Is this not a time for a renewal of masculine chastity? Is this not a time for men to build up the virtue of temperance through fasting and prayer amidst brothers? Is this not a time to consider more deeply St. John Paul II’s proclamation that the “dignity of every woman is a task given to every man?”
We can help each other and other men around us to strive for selfmastery, as this is best addressed among brothers. I encourage you to put aside your fears and insecurities, those that keep you from engaging head on in the fight for chastity.
This is our enemy’s underlying plan: to remove our reliance on God, the benevolent Father. To do this, Satan’s primary strategy is to damage and abolish human fatherhood, in the man and relationship where each of us first glimpses what God’s fatherhood might be like.
wishing to erase all distinctions between mothers and fathers, ignoring the complementarity that is inherent in creation itself.
Men, your presence and mission in the family is irreplaceable! Step up and lovingly, patiently take up your God-given role as protector, provider, and spiritual leader of your home. A father’s role as spiritual head of the family must never be understood or undertaken as domination over others, but only as a loving leadership and a gentle guidance for those in your care. Your fatherhood, my fatherhood, in its hidden, humble way, reflects imperfectly but surely the Fatherhood of God, the Father to those whom the Lord has given us to father.
To fully live, all men must be fathers and live out their fatherhood!
The question for every man is not, “Am I called to be a father?” but rather, “What kind of father am I called to be?”
Our life in Christ is not one of “do’s and don’ts,” but an adventure in authentic freedom. Embrace that freedom in order to place your life at the service of Christ, beginning in your home and radiating into the world.
We need to get off the sidelines and stand up for life on the front lines. We need faith like that of our fathers who defended the children of previous generations and who gave up their own lives rather than abandon their faith in Christ. My sons and brothers . . . we need you to step into the breach!
Join me in praying that we, men of the 21st century, will make the words of this verse [from “Faith of our Fathers” . . . AD 1849] our own:
“Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them, could die for Thee!
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.”