Dear Catholic Men –
Welcome to Pope Benedict XVI’s Year of Faith. This special year will mean different things to each of us. To some of us, this presents an opportunity to continue being engaged, happy, active members of the Body of Christ. To others of us, it will present two possible paths: continue quietly down the road with your head down and pray that nobody notices you, or you can stand up and proudly practice and proclaim your Catholicity.
For those of you that prefer the quieter path: I understand. I used to be in that position myself. You consider it “good enough” that you attend Mass each week. You don’t understand why anyone would want to spend extra time at Church, let alone in a volunteer program that takes up precious time that you could be spending watching TV. You might not even feel like you fully believe “this stuff” anymore. Every sensationalized media headline just reinforces the doubts you have in your mind, so instead of joining in active participation you sit on the sidelines waiting to see what will happen.
Matthew 16:25 says, “For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.” Christ wants ALL of your life, not the hour that you choose to snooze through Mass each week. He wants you to surrender these doubts and follow him. What you’ve been doing so far is not good enough. I am calling you out. You have a great opportunity to use this Year of Faith to wake up, dive deeper into Catholicism and get those lingering questions answered. Try participating in a few programs. Attend a Bible study or simply just go and talk to your local priest or deacon awhile and get it all out of your system. Better still, you can go to Confession. Give it the “ol’ college try” this year and see what happens. If at the end of the year you still feel disillusioned and full of doubts, then by all means return to your “only Mass on Sundays” existence. At least God will see that you tried.
For the rest of you – those that are practicing their Faith regularly, receiving the Sacraments, and volunteering with time and talent – add something new. Try something each day you can use to practice your Faith, such as the Liturgy of the Hours or daily Mass. Do your part to share the “good stuff” that you get out of your participation and practice. Don’t keep it to yourself. That is why I am writing this letter and that is why I have started my blog, This Catholic Man.
Personally, I see the Year of Faith as a true call to action. At true Catholic Men, it is our responsibility to stand up and lead both in our parish community and in our own families. We need to be that beacon of light to the world. Take this opportunity that the Holy Father has presented, and share your story to inspire others.