Catholic Men Should Respond Rather Than React

James 1:19-21

19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,  20 for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.  21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

You know as well as I do that sometimes guys “lose it” and say or do things they shouldn’t. The Christian man, especially the Catholic, has no excuse when it comes to this unacceptable behavior. See, when we react to our stressors we are just reflexing a zero-brain action based on our carnal self. What we want is a response, ruled by thought and heart.

God created us good. It is our sin and struggle with the flesh that seeks to keep us from being all God has called us to be. If we let that control us, we are not growing in virtue. We must train our body and our mind if we are ever going to improve.

The good news is that we have all the equipment and tools necessary to complete our training. God has given us volumes of instruction, most especially His Word. He has given us trainers, particularly the Magisterium, to make sure we work in the most effective way. We have a gym, the Church, which offers therapy, rehab, conditioning, training, and help with training at home, on the go, and at work. Lastly, and most imoportantly, we have been given a training table, the Blessed Sacrament, to ensure we have the energy, the grace of God and His resurrection life, to train, grow, and live as we are created.

Now the hard part. Work. Guys, I say it all the time. Being a Christian is work. It is not passive. Relationships require effort, communication, and presence. But you know that already. What is left is the execution. Gotta get up off your butt and move.

So, when it comes to training ourselves to respond instead of react, we should start with some thinking.

  • When have I lost it most recently?
  • What triggered the reaction?
  • What were the circumstances leading up to my failure?
  • What could I have done to avoid it?

I am sure as you review the tape you can think of more analysis. Next, we need to plan a little.

  • The next time x happens I will y instead.
  • If I am feeling x I will y.
  • I won’t put myself in this situation because I will x instead.

The key is teaching our body and mind to identify the stimuli and provide the proper and virtuous response. In order to know the virtuous response, we must be spending time at the gym and reading the manual. That means Mass and Scripture, fella. Daily if you can. Consider the Liturgy of the Hours. The more you can fill your mind and heart with the things of God, the more options you have for overcoming bad habits and sinful responses.

Here is your brain training for the next 21 days:

  • Do your homework and identify your problem areas. Ask your wife if you can’t remember.
  • Set a plan for how you will respond next time.
  • Avoid the build up of stress. Commit to transform these times into opportunity to pray.
  • In every conversation, tune your attention, gaze, listening, and mind to every word coming from the speaker.
  • After the speaker finishes, give yourself at least 3 seconds to process what you heard. THEN, begin to process your response.
  • Respond in virtue.

Just try it, guys. There is plenty of fine tuning later. This is all about dropping the sinful fat that is slowing us down. It is hard work and old habits die hard, but you will start to notice improvements. It works.

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About Tactical Catholic

Catholic husband, dad, and convert to the Catholic Faith. A Catholic layman doing his part to strengthen Catholic men for their vocation.

Posted on June 17, 2014, in Catholic Family, Catholic Husbands, Catholic Manliness, Parenting, Prayer, Sacraments of the Catholic Church, Spiritual Warfare and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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