Category Archives: Catholic Husbands
Typically Tactical Catholic tends to aim our writing and podcasts at Catholic guys. However, we understand that in many homes it is the wife who is the spiritual weightlifter.
Ladies, I am going to make myself explicitly clear, and I want you to read this carefully.
Catholic ladies, I’d like to make an appeal to you. We, the Catholic men of the world, need encouragement. Fewer and fewer of us understand the great weight that is placed upon our shoulders to be the men that God has called us to be. Those of us who do understand the gravity of our vocation are often overwhelmed. We feel as though it is us against the entire world and that the odds are steeply stacked against us. These men need to be reminded that we are not alone and that we have our women to support and love us, whether you are our spouse, our friend, our sibling, our parent, or our child. We so appreciate prayer and a word of encouragement. Don’t stop praying.
Those who do not understand what it means to be a man called by God are living in ignorant bliss, like little boys with their toys. Well, these men also need your prayers and support. Without a nudge here and there and a challenge to better ourselves, we might otherwise hang on to childish ways and self-centered living, even within the sacrament of matrimony. Men respond to a challenge, so challenge us. Show us that you love us regardless, but give us a challenge to step up our game. Bring us to a couples conference, challenge us to a scripture reading showdown (I can show you how to do this one), see who can out love the other. Get us moving in the right direction. And pray pray pray pray for our ongoing conversion.
Whether we are called to the sacrament of matrimony, holy orders, religious life, or the call to live as a single person in the world, women and men are designed to compliment one another. We work best when we work together. So consider this a challenge from us. Love us fiercely, and refuse to let us slack off. Do not let us sit idly while others grow in their faith and love. Never cease to pray for us, and always ask the intercession of our Blessed Mother.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope….
In my previous article, I mentioned the need for forthrightness and honesty when it comes to sharing the faith. The focus was personal transparency. We must show the lived reality of Christ in our lives if we expect others to take it seriously. We are not salesmen, we are evangelists!
But wait, there’s more!
We have to have full disclosure of the Gospel itself.
We must present the fullness of the Gospel. There is no sense in presenting part of the truth and hiding the less savory parts. What do I mean?
I could go on for a long time on the specifics, but let me summarize a couple of critical points. If you are a child of God, you should know that by virtue of your baptism into Christ’s death that you are DEAD to sin and its power. That means that you should be choosing to do good and not giving in to temptation as you formerly did. What’s more, you are called to perfection. Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Now, you could pretend that sin is somehow redefined once you become a Christian, but you’d be lying. Sin is very real and the temptations will increase if they do anything. So what’s the man of God to do? He must daily put on the armor of God and choose virtue over sin and against the world. Let me tell you, it’s hard work and the more temptation you allow yourself to be subject to, the more tired you’ll be. The good part of this story is that, like a good coach, God has given you everything you need to overcome the temptation and avoid sin. BUT, it’s not passive. You must choose and you must walk in holiness. We don’t hear that often do we? We hear about mercy and forgiveness, and we need that, but we also need to keep ourselves pure. After all, we are called to total union with God and what relation does God have with sin? Read your catechism and your Bible for details. This article is focused on the reality for total disclosure.
What else is part of the Faith? Love. Real love is at the core of who we are as Christians. Real love is sacrifice and that means we choose the good of another over our own good. This is most perfectly expressed in marriage. In matrimony, the husband completely lays down his life for his wife, and she completely lays down her life for her husband. This is done in spite of feelings, appearances, circumstances, finances, self-justification, etc. That kind of living takes courage, because we want things for ourselves. Total self-giving love, folks, is difficult. Need a quick example? Sex. The marital embrace is not designed for pleasure. It is pleasurable to be sure, but its design is for unity and procreation. Any attempt to remove one or both purposes turns sex into a mutual masturbation session, in which spouses use one another for physical pleasure. Grossed out? You should be. Sex is beautiful and the natural products of the marital embrace are unity and procreation. That means we should not be surprised when new life comes from our union. That was God’s plan. To say “we don’t want kids” or “we want to _____ before we think about kids” betrays a lack of understanding of what marriage is about. Sacrifice for the good of another. We sacrifice our vacations, our plans, our hobbies, our whatever for the good of someone we might not even see for 9 months. If you’re not ready for life, you’re not ready to get married. If you think you wanna get married and then spend all your time away from your kid(s), you’re gonna pay for that later and you won’t like the way the bill comes. Love is sacrifice. A good premarital counselor will start there and not with curtain color or “compatibility” tests. A good counselor will have the balls to say “You’re not ready and I won’t marry you until you are.”
By the way, you’ll never be prepared for every eventuality of this life, especially marriage, but when you make those vows, man you are agreeing to lay down everything for this woman. It’s not a permit for sex, it’s a beginning of total self giving on a whole new level. In fact, the self giving should be evident long before rings are bought.
But I’m not talking about marriage either. Hmm. Good articles for later. Boy howdy, have I learned a lot the hard way.
So guys, when we share Jesus, we have to be forthright and disclose the reality that Christians are a persecuted people, a people who love fiercely, a people who stand for what’s right even when others do not. We have always stood in contrast against the ways of this world. The Christian life is difficult and very often devoid of emotional “consoltations”. However, in the Christian life we are given LIFE by the God who made us. We are given GRACE to strengthen us to do the things we must do. We are given FORGIVENESS and MERCY to pick us back up when we fall. We have HOPE in a future of eternity with God. We have a FAMILY that spans human history through the CHURCH here on earth and in Heaven.
You can share all of this. You can share your struggles. You can share your victories. You WILL share Jesus one way or another. Like Jesus’ challenge in the sermon on the mount, “Let your light shine before men IN SUCH A WAY that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
I have been an evangelist since 1990. In the last 24 years sharing the Gospel as a Protestant and, since 2002, as a Catholic, I have learned a lot about how to effectively share Christ with others. Today I give you the number one most effective witnessing tool you can have in your Gospel arsenal.
Yes, honesty. Honesty trumps knowledge (you can always find information), quick wit (usually gets one into trouble as it leans to sarcasm), physical appearance (in fact, it enhances it), and even doctrinal purity (which can always be corrected).
Ever bought a used car? The salesman was dressed neatly, he was super knowledgeable with regards to the vehicles, he probably was clean cut, and he likely had answers to all your questions with little or no hesitation.
You bought the car.
Did you notice anything later about the car you wished you had known? A feature missing, a blemish, a mechanical imperfection, a smell?
Full disclosure would have been nice, eh?
When you witness, before you share a word about Jesus you are sharing yourself. What you present must be honest. You must be honest, genuine, real. Speech, knowledge, and appearance can mask dishonesty, but cannot overcome its absence. In the end, you are a liar and the Gospel equivalent of a used car salesman or politician. The world has a really good BS detector and if you’re not the real deal you will be found out. Believe me, I know.
In 2002 I had a great ministry career and a growing family. My ministry was my top priority, often at the expense of being a good dad and a good husband. My priorities were way off, to say the very least. You can fool some people but you can’t fool the people who know you the best, and you definitely cannot fool God. The most important battlefront for sharing Christ was the battlefront of my own home and I was losing. To this day, I am working to make reparations for the damage I did through my attitude, distance, and selfishness. Few knew of this because public ministry is, well, public. But my wife knew and my small (at the time) children knew that daddy was supposed to do more than he was doing. God had to hit me with the “spiritual 2×4” to knock sense into my brain and make me see I was not fulfilling my vocation and that He was prepared to take steps to move me in the proper direction. Full disclosure is what was necessary, and that meant resigning.
If you expect people to flock to Jesus and place their faith in Him, they need first to see that Jesus has made a difference in your life, is making a difference in your life, and will continue to make a difference in your life. Try to present one thing and live another and you will build a case for the other team. How much more refreshing would it be to stand as a fell0w beggar who has found a place to eat to say to the other beggars, “Please come with me to the place where I found nourishment.” Bring them to Jesus because his mercy and generosity in your life has changed you.
Pride and fear make it hard to be real. In fact, the scriptures tell us that “The fear of man brings a snare” (Proverbs 29:25), but we have to kick pride and fear in the gonads. We must present reality for it is in the lived witness of the Christian that people place their trust. I will give you another example.
Years ago, some friends and I wanted to understand Mormonism and foster a dialogue with Mormons. So we ordered a Book of Mormon and accepted the invitation for a visit. Before our first session, my friend counseled us against argument and focusing on obscure teachings. Our goal was dialogue and earning the right to be heard. Therefore, we were going to listen and not introduce conversation without first being invited. We also agreed to total honesty regardless of our comfort.
The Elders arrived and were warmly welcomed by us. We sat in our den and let them do their thing. When asked why the invite, we told them the truth. We answered their questions, but mostly we listened. At several times in the discussion, topics of morality and family life came up. In particular, the divorce rate among Baptists (I was Baptist at the time) was mentioned as we discussed marriage in the Mormon faith. We did not argue and agreed how saddening it was to know the rate was truly that high. We were honest even regarding our own personal moral struggles. By the end of the first session we were beginning to have dialogue. 9 sessions later, we had gained new friends, an understanding of Mormonism, and the knowledge that those guys had seen our faith in a real way. All defenses were down. We could speak freely about matters of faith and morals. We had respect for one another as children of God, while still acknowledging (and discussing) the many theological issues that divided us.
So be honest. Guys, we have a huge opportunity to engage our fellow man in dialogue. Big topics for guys: Faith in Christ, true masculinity, lust, pornography, drunkeness, marriage, parenting, selfishness, finances, anger, true love, and those are just a few. Do you struggle with any of those? I do. Struggling is not something to hide. We can be honest.
Dude, if you are an addict, you know there is no magic zap that takes the desire away. It is grace, hard work, accountability, and time that brings recovery. We can share our struggles. Somebody you know needs to hear how God is helping you improve your life. They need to see it is possible for them. SHOW them Jesus in your life through the grit. Victories and pitfalls are part of the same story. Man up and be real.
Last night I wrote about how important it was for us to take some small steps to prep. Today I am giving you a few ideas for easy food preps that anybody can do. Read the rest of this entry
I like watching the survival and prepping shows that have been popping up on television in recent years. I think that with the general lack of preparedness seen with the highly publicized superstorms, wildfires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes, more and more people are at least thinking about taking precautions. What about you? Read the rest of this entry
From time to time I ask you guys about preparedness situations so I can get you thinking about things before they happen. In a disaster or traumatic event, seconds matter. If your brain is trying to work out a solution in the event of an emergency, bad situations can get worse. So, if you don’t already, think of at least some common scenarios and what you would do. Having an idea now will help you respond better if and when a crisis occurs.
But that’s not today’s post.
Let me assume that you are a thoughtful guy. You have already formulated general plans for what to do in the event of . . .
- power outage
- intruder in home
- school invasion
- attack at office
Good for you. At least you are trying to think ahead. Now, the big question. Who, besides you, knows your plan?
I’ll wait. Think for a second or two.
Nobody? Well, buddy, you gotta change that. To the extent that your plan involves others (example family evacuation of home in event of fire) those persons need to know the plan as well.
Take the time to tell them their role. Explain what they need to do, what you will do, what your wife will do, and who will back the other up should they be unable to perform their duties.
Start today. Talk a little each day.
Wow! Way to go!
Yay! So excited!
Are you going to do something after this one?
Don’t you know how this happens?
How could you do this to your wife?
You know you have choices.
You need to do the responsible thing.
All common responses to your newly announced pregnancy. By the way, we are expecting. The responses above are a sampling of the actual responses we received. All came from professing Christians. They represent the gamut of opinion in our world today.
It is difficult to explain, even to other Christians, why we do not practice contraception. They cannot grasp the concept, being themselves so steeped in the contraceptive and self-centered mentality of this age.
Children are not a harvestable commodity, nor are they a disease to be innoculated against, nor are they a choice. Children are a gift from God. They are a blessing every married couple should be open to receive.
So we aren’t going to live in a fancy house or take huge european trips. Who cares? We take family trips. We have family outings. We eat our meals together. We go to Mass together. We pray together.
It is our mindset to be other focused. That is what those last commenters and the world that teaches them do not get. We live for our kids. They are not accessories. We invest everything we are in them. They, in turn, learn the value of sacrifice, selflessness, faith, trust, community, and real love.
I love my wife. I lay my life down for her. She does the same for me, for better or for worse. Our kids love us and one another, through all the typical sibling scuffles. Living for the good of another is love. God loves us in the same manner, sparing nothing to draw us ever nearer.
Dudes, I am not saying have a million kids. I am saying change your mindset today. Love those kids. Love your wife. Live totally for their good. When you and your wife come together, be open to receive new life. It requires sacrifice. Above all it requires total self-giving love.
Have the courage to love.
By the way, my typical response to “Do you know how this happens?” is, “Sure do. We’re good at it too. Want me to explain it to you?”
Popular culture has no clue what love is. It is almost always reduced to pleasant feelings expressed through physical intimacy. Obviously, feelings and attraction play a role, and there is nothing wrong with physical intimacy according to God’s design, but these are only symptoms of a far more powerful reality. This reality must be there or else all the physical attractiveness, pheromones, and pleasure are empty, masturbatory objectification of another.
What must be present is total self donation. Real love means you no longer live for yourself, nor do you live for another that you might receive something. Total self donation is what real and lasting love is, and it is a choice that must be renewed in mind and body at all times.
Living completely for the good of another is total living sacrifice. It does not ask nor expect anything. No manipulation. No “you owe me one”. No “if you loved me you would…”. Every action, thought, and word is for someone else’s betterment.
Do you have the balls to choose love? Or would you rather settle for the crappy clones offered by the enemy? They won’t last. They won’t fulfil. You won’t be happy.
If you have the courage, and are willing to grow in love, MAN will you have freedom! God isn’t stupid either, because He can give you what you need. Trust him for that whether you are called to religious life, to celibacy, to the married state, or to holy orders. All you have to do is give yourself fully. Hold nothing back.
Dads and husbands and those in other vocations, it is not too late to change. Choose now to love. From this moment on. Receive the grace from Christ to fulfil your vocation. Love without reserve. Love fearlessly. Love when nobody else loves.
This is our challenge. Let us pray for each other as we choose love daily.
I have this dog, a yorkshire terrier, and in man years he is in his 30s as I am. He spends most of his day laying around and searching for cheese, which must be a superfood for him because he goes nuts over it. So sleeping, eating, cuddling with my kids is pretty much his day.
A knock at the door or a doorbell ring happens (even on tv) and this lazy bum jumps up and starts this growling, barking jag that will not end. If someone is actually at the door, he will strain to “attack” the intruder. He is a protector, a hero, a ……
The visitor reaches to pet him, and he runs away fast as lightning.
….a little coward.
The dog is all talk, all bark and no bite. When it comes to action, he is practically useless. This barking mad beast has no balls. I wonder if the same could be said about you or me.
Do you bark online about every political issue, or rail against the practices and beliefs of the unorthodox? When challenged do you ignore replies and cease posting till things cool off?
Do you decry sin and wickedness on facebook? Then do you shrink back when someone attempts to contradict or attack your position?
Do you talk with your network of friends about how awful is your parish, diocese, priest, or bishop? Then do you do nothing to make things better or seek answers?
No balls, dude. You are a neutered yorkie. Time to grow a set.
Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Cor 16:13-14
To be a man means to be strong and to love. It means being courageous by acting rightly even when afraid. As Catholic men, we have been called to lead, not in mere words, but in all that we do. We are called to act. Love and truth cost something, else they are empty words.
You are preaching by your actions (and inactions) whether you realize it or not. Others are watching. They see how you flee or stand, how you love or are indifferent. The time of posturing is over. The time for demonstrating our love and fidelity is now. In a time when people by the thousands are being exiled, tortured, and slaughtered for their faith in Christ, we Catholic men have NO EXCUSES for choosing cowardice. It is not an acceptable option.
Let us pray for the truly persecuted, and let us pray for each other. Let us stand strong and courageous. Let us demonstrate true love and true faith. God has given us the grace we need through His Sacraments. Now get out there.