Saturday, May 27, 2017

Do Manfully (4)

What is easier, to do something you do not want to do, or to do something you do want to? It is fairly obvious that the second is easier; to do something you already want to do. When you already have the desire to perform an action, then you do not have to overcome any resistance that is inside of you. If the action is difficult, and you also have an aversion to it, then that means you have to overcome the difficulty of the action itself, as well as the difficulty of your own personal distaste for the action.

Men and women, both, at times, need to do things that they do not like. I am not, right now, speaking about the specific calling that God has put on women. As this series of posts is speaking about masculinity, let us ask the question: is it more masculine to do what you are told, or to go against the rules? Modern society will tell you that a "real man" makes his own decisions and does not let anyone tell him what to do. It is the majority opinion today that masculinity equals rebellion and aggression. This is why so many people (including some confused Catholics) resist "masculinity". What they are resisting, however, is not a genuine masculinity.

This mistaken notion of what is truly masculine is based more on the idea of "machismo" than on anything found in the traditional, biblical, and godly view of masculinity. Look up definitions of "machismo" in the dictionary and it will reveal much about why the world does not "get it". The modern view of "masculinity" is closer to the behavior of a mountain gorilla than to the portrayal of masculinity that we receive in the Scriptures (which is not surprising when you consider how many people still think evolutionary biology is a valid theory). This view of masculinity as rebellion runs completely contrary to our calling as Catholic men. It pushes away from God rather than toward Him.

Masculinity is not, however, just a matter of aggression and physical strength. Masculinity is more an issue of bravery. Bravery is what helps a man to go into a fierce battle for the sake of a higher good. Bravery is also what enables a man to swallow his pride and obey a rule that he does not want to. Furthermore, when a man realizes that there is possibly a rule that he is failing to obey out of ignorance, then bravery is what will enable him to seek to learn more about the rules. I recall once being told, "don't ask what the right way is to do that, then you'll have to do it whether you like it or not". That is the childish response; not the "manful" one.

Men, are you a rule breaker? a rebel? Or, rather, are you a real man? A man who can be mature enough to obey the rules. Whether we are speaking about the rules that God has revealed to us, the rules that the Church has given, the rules of our workplace (specifically, those which do not contradict God's rules), or the rules of the road (which many "men" completely ignore); how do you think about those rules? Are they annoyances that keep you from your own desires? Are they "nitpicky" requirements that "don't apply" to you? Or, are they instead, a challenge; a means of growing in your true spiritual strength that God has given you?

Seeking to justify ignoring the rules is never the manly thing to do. That is how little children seek to avoid responsibility. Grown men take responsibility for their actions, and do not seek to hide from the consequences of their choices. So then, real men obey the rules, even when it is hard to do. Masculinity is not rebellion, or mere selfish aggression. Masculinity is, rather, bravery; bravery which enables a man to do what is right (whether he personally wants to do it or not). That is the bold behavior; that is the mature behavior; that is the behavior of a real man. So, men, once again: do manfully.