One of the greatest difficulties or challenges to a man in the modern world are the vast numbers of distractions that exist to prevent him from achieving his mission as a man, which is to give, give, give to others until he can give no more, and even then, finding the energy to give more.
Some days it seems to me that many men or boys have lost that giving sense of what it means to be male. It seems ever more that many men no longer know what it means to be a man at all.
When I look back on my days growing up I remember the men in my life and the witness of masculinity they gave to me. I was blessed to have had strong, work-oriented role models in my life. These were men who longed for the outside, to get their hands in the earth, to exercise the muscular might the Lord has blessed them with in the service of those they worked for, in the service of their families and in the service of themselves, for nothing is more satisfying that embracing the natural appetite of the man. A man wants to work, a man wants to give and a man wants to create. This truth is inescapable but somehow many have lost it.
I remember watching my grandfather, father and uncles, stacking hay bales six or seven stories high on the back of a trailer. Although I was too young to lift a bale alone, I longed to one day grasped the blue strings and hoist it above my head for at that moment I would be exercising what my mind and body had been designed for, hard, effort. If something could not be achieved, the men in my life did not give up; they considered the problem and they worked until a solution was found. “Intrinsic” is the word. To a man, creatively insisting upon the completion of a hard task is intrinsic. I can still hear my father tell me “never leave a job until it’s done.”
I think back to pictures, in Ireland, of men working to cut turf. The effort and strength, and skill to master such a task, to struggle for long hours without stopping and, most of all, to enjoy every second; this is one of the most exhilarating masculine experiences on earth. Those men had tapped into something so very ancient, raw and true. Their minds were united and their hearts devoted. As men embracing their calling, they were in harmony. Those men could go home to their wives and children content that they had given and served and they would rise again to grasp their glorified selves again the next morning.
It is true that not all men are called to a life in the fields. We are all different. Some are schoolmasters, some carpenters, plumbers or electricians. Some are shopkeepers, barbers, writers, philosophers, priests, bishops and pope. However, there is one unquestionable element that unites us all and that is our effort, our creative longing to give for the good of others, our appetite to lead, protect and provide. That is our God given right. That is our God given purpose.
So stop for a moment and reflect as men together. What is it in our lives that keep us from that fulfillment, from that contentedness? As I sit here today writing these words I reflect on the whirlwind of empty activities that I have engaged my effort in that have furthered in no sense my yearning to provide for and serve my wife and child. These things are not bad in themselves but oh how they distract me from what my heart longs for and having tasted creativity just a little my desire for it is unquenchable. We as men all have that desire.
So I call upon you today. Put down your remote control, turn away from mindless Internet clicking, set aside the computer games that offer nothing only the filling of time. If you seek relaxation, then seek it with full knowledge of contentment in having given your day for the good of those you love. Step into the world and unite in mind with other men. Work together, laugh together, respect each other, listen, advise, love. Give of your life as Christ did and with Christ you will be able to one-day bow your head in quiet contentment, having achieved the masculine promise of victory over death for your calling is modeled in Him nailed to the cross. He who created all, He who gave all for you and I, and all whom He loved, He who bowed His head as you will and with peace He uttered the greatest words a man can ever express – “It is accomplished” (John 19:30).
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