Our World and Our Calling
It’s not hard to see the effects of evil and sin in our world. From a societal level, not an hour goes by that we’re not reminded in some way about war, greed, injustice, and “man’s inhumanity to man” (first coined by poet Robert Burns). On a personal level, evil and sin are perhaps even more troubling as we allow selfishness and pride to dominate our behavior and decision making. How often does our own selfishness lead to indifference about the needs of our immediate families and people we cross paths with every day? This indifference can manifest through disengaging the communication lines with our wives or letting our kids play video games so we can watch something on TV or failing to reach out to a friend or family member going through a tough time. Left unchecked, these moments of indifference, rooted in selfishness, can lead to more devastating behaviors including the abuse of others, abuse of drugs, impurity through the use of pornography, infidelity, and much more.
We shouldn’t be surprised by all the “bad” things in our world or by the “bad” things we do in our own lives. We live in a fallen world that traces back to the Garden of Eden. God created us out of love and for love, and in the beginning we were in perfect communion with God; there was no sin, no strife, no division. God gave us free will to make choices and sometimes we choose poorly. God also gave us His son Jesus who dwelt among us and entered into our brokenness. Jesus redeemed our brokenness and offers us a pathway to communion with God both in this world and for eternity.
Sin and evil are real. Virtue and goodness are also real. We live in the world amid a great battle between good and evil. This battle goes on minute-to-minute in our own lives and day-to-day in our society. How do we enjoin this epic battle? Especially in our God-given role as men, we are called to lead our families down the narrow road to know, love, and serve God. Whether we are married or single, have lots of kids or no kids, we are called to defend the family as God created it. We must protect the sanctity of marriage. We must form children to know the goodness, beauty and truth of God’s creation and therefore come to know God the Creator more personally. We must unite our sufferings to those of Christ on the cross and persevere in our roles as leaders and defenders of our families.
The battle is not easy or for the faint of heart. We cannot win the battle by ourselves, but as St. Paul tells us, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). I lost my baby sister Renee in this world after a valiant battle against cancer. Walking with Renee through the battle, she witnessed to me powerful weapons to face any battle. We have at least three incredible weapons in our arsenal for battle: prayer, Scripture, and each other. Prayer must be the foundation of all we do in life, especially in protecting our families. Whether you are a biological father, a spiritual father, a grandfather, an uncle, a nephew, a son, a brother, your prayers are efficacious and benefit not just those you pray for, but also yourself. Pray for one another to remain strong in your witness and efforts to model all that is good, beautiful and true. Pray together as men that we remain vigilant and courageous in answering God’s call for our lives. Scripture speaks to us in all times and in all circumstances. As John tells us at the beginning of his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Let us turn daily to the Word of God to find inspiration and meaning for all that we do in defending our families and forming those around us, especially children, so that we can better know, love, and serve God. We cannot give what we do not possess, turn to Sacred Scripture to continually develop our relationship with God and expand what we can share with those around us. And finally, we have each other as brother warriors. As Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We will not always make the best choices, we will fall short, but those shortcomings are not the final answer. God created us for excellence and with God’s grace and the help of one another we will rise again. We fight best when we stand together as men to encourage, inspire and even carry one other through the battles of today’s assaults of evil and sin. Let us draw closer to God through prayer and Scripture and depend on each other as we lead our families, our society and ourselves down the narrow road that brings us to eternal rest and bliss with Jesus in heaven. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!