Category Archives: Mental Exercises for Men (and Women)

Secrets of the Catholic Church

What is this?

Looks like a fine marbled mosaic, attracting our gaze and lifting our minds to the ethereal plane to contemplate spiritual matters.

Read the rest of this entry

Ash Wednesday is coming soon

Ash Wednesday is coming up (18th). My suggestion is to come up with a lenten penance now before Lent begins.

What can I do?

Pick a lenten sacrifice that makes you mindful of your faith and draws you nearer to Christ. We should all cut dowon on snacking and sweets anyway, so I typically don’t recommend those.

  • How about giving up an hour a day to devote to service or prayer?
  • Read 30 Days to Morning Glory and make a total consecration to Christ through Our Lady.
  • Read Consoling the Heart of Jesus and renew your consecration to Christ.
  • Begin praying the Liturgy of the Hours
  • Give up TV, internet browsing, Netflix….
  • Exchange a hobby for a spiritual good (ex. give up golf for Lent and donate what you would have spent on greens fees to a worthy charity)

This will help you get started and hit the ground running next Wednesday.

Monday: Roll for Initiative

“Roll for initiative? What is this strange speech? I have not yet enjoyed sweet java this morning.” – some dude

The roll for initiative is a role playing game (RPG) staple. The roll determines who goes first, be it among players, enemies, etc. There are a million ways to do it and every game has its tweaks (stats, buffs, bonuses, die, punchies…..). You do the same in several sports. Badminton, raquetball, volleyball, football (coin toss). Now do you get it?

So you are beginning a Monday. What will you encounter?

  • A short deadline project
  • Trolls
  • A fire to put out (real or figurative)
  • An irate customer
  • No coffee in the pot
  • An opportunity to gossip
  • A Beholder
  • Traffic

No matter what you encounter (watch out for eye beams, dude), take care that you prepare yourself for anything.

How? Armor? Buffs? Magic missile?

I suggest, adventurer, that you prepare yourself by spending time with God in prayer before your day starts. Offer today and all your work to God’s glory. Ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St Joseph.

Surprises will happen, but we are never fully alone. Let’s pray for each other today. I just prayed for you.

And for the record, I just rolled a 17 (1d20).

New Year Manliness

This is what we need to resolve to do: grow in virtue. My challenge to all of you Catholic dudes (and dudettes, and non-Catholics of all flavors) is to read this section from the Catechism and start working out with virtue development.

By the way, I pasted the header info as well. Notice where these virtue paragraphs are located. This, my friends, is important Christian life . Hit it!

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST 

SECTION ONE: MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT 

CHAPTER ONE: THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON 

ARTICLE 7: THE VIRTUES

1803 “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.

I. THE HUMAN VIRTUES

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

The cardinal virtues

1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. “If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom’s] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage.” These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.

1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.” “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”

1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. “The Lord is my strength and my song.” “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.”

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).

The virtues and grace

1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

1811 It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.

Last Brain Exercise for 2014

Catholic men should be spending 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should do the same. Here are my suggestions for 12/31/2014.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 31
◾Psalm 31

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.

Proverbs 31 is about a virtuous woman. Take some time today to meditate on your spouse and your marriage. Thank God. Pray for your spouse. Count your blessings.

Not married? Pray for your vocation. If you are called to marriage, pray for your future spouse. If you are called to celibacy, pray for the relationships you have. If you are called to religious life or the priesthood, pray for the Church.

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

 

BRAIN Train for 12/30/14

Catholic guys should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should do the same. Here are my suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 30
◾Psalm 30

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.

You are at home getting ready for vigil Mass for the feast of Mary Mother of God.

Your kid asks, “Why do we have to go to Mass?”

“Because I said so.” and [shrugs] are not acceptable.

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

Focus Drill Idea for 12/29/14

Catholic guys should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should do the same. Here are my suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 29
◾Psalm 29

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.

  • You are at a new years bowl game party with your buds.
  • You have had your share of adult beverages
  • You finish a drink just before you get a text from your wife asking why you are not yet home.
  • Don’t be an idiot

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

Focus Drill Idea for 12/24/14

Catholic guys should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should too. Here are some suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 24
◾Psalm 24

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.
◾You are at an office party
◾Your spouse and children are at the movies
◾A co-worker says he/she has a room at the host hotel and invites you up for drinks

◾What is your response?
◾Now what do you do?

Hey.  I didn’t say every scenario would be about survival situations.  You need a game plan and general course of action for situations like this too because men and women are put in near occasions of sexual sin often.  When a temptation arises, we are always better off having a game plan.

By the way, the best rule of thumb in situations like this is to politely excuse yourself.  “No.  I really should be heading back.  It’s my night to read to the kids.”  It’s not perfect, but I think it works better than running out of the room screaming.  However, if that works for you, be my guest.

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

Focus Drill Idea for 12/23/14

Catholic men should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholic men should too. Here are some suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 23
◾Psalm 23

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.
◾You are at home
◾Your kids are occupied in various rooms
◾Your spouse and you are watching Walking Dead.
◾Someone is banging on the front door asking for help. You’ve never seen them before and they look kinda rough.

◾What do you do?
◾What do your children and spouse know to do? 

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

Focus Drill Idea for 12/22/14

Cathilc guys should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should too. Here are some suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 22
◾Psalm 22

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.
◾You are at home at 3am
◾Your kids are in their bedrooms
◾Your spouse and you are in bed.
◾There was a noise downstairs and you think you heard drawers opening

◾What do you do?
◾What do your children and spouse know to do?
◾How will you prevent possible harm to your spouse and children?

 

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.