The Adventure of Being a Man

I just had the privilege of attending one of Fraternus’s  amazing excursions.  Fraternus is a group of young men from around the world who together learn how to be a soldier of God.  If any of you are into EWTN’s Life on the Rock, you may have seen Fraternus as guests on the 9th.  There they explain what Fraternus is in far better words than I could ever articulate, and discuss the need for manhood, and how Fraternus facilitate’s a young man’s encounter with our Lord.  Bottom line: Fraternus is awesome.  Now, I’m well aware that some of you reading this are not men.  In fact, I would say a good 2/3 of my followers are women.  You guys can forward this to a guy you know or simply read it for perhaps a better understanding of what you’re missing out on (just kidding).  And for the men, I wrote this just for you guys.

Anyway, Fraternus has changed my life.  It was an extremely large factor in what makes me the way I am today.  I’m not without fault because of it, far from it.  As someone said on the excursion I just got back from, its not about how slowly you fall, but how quickly you run back to the Lord when you do fall.  Before Fraternus, I went to confession maybe a few times a year.  Not because I was Mr Perfect or anything.  I just didn’t think it was that important.  Fraternus got me going back to confession again, and stopped me from daydreaming during Mass.  It lit a fire in my heart with the desire for God.

In the book Wild at Heart, the author lists three things men need: An Adventure to Live, a Battle to Fight, and a Beauty to rescue.  On my excursion, we went spelunking.  It was pretty epic.  We had to jump over gaping ravines, climb subterranean mountains, and crawl through mud and dirt.  Why?  Because it was there.  And it was awesome.  But why?  I mean, I had to change clothes which was a hassle, I smelled like a football locker room, and there was a large chance of serious injury if I messed up.  But it was fun.  It was an adventure.  What is an adventure?  I would say it is a journey, normally hazardous and exciting, that by some means improves those who partake in it.  One of my favorite books is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  The protagonist is Bilbo Baggins, a fat, rich, lazy hobbit who doesn’t do anything unexpected.  Until, that is, he goes on an adventure, nearly dies multiple times, and suffers through horrible and terrifying evils.  When he comes home, he is a changed man, rather, hobbit.  He has improved his character from a selfish couch potato to a courageous adventurer.  Christ is calling us on an adventure my friends.  If you do not answer the call, no one will.  And thats not some propaganda nonsense they use during war, thats 100% truth.  God’s call for you is unique.  Only you can do what he is calling you to do.  If you decide not to do what you were made to do, it well never be done.  This is your adventure, make it epic.

Guys have a natural love for action movies.  The more explosions and aliens the better.  The best part of most movies is when it seems the day is lost, and the land will fall to evil, but one last bit of resistance fights on, and through great struggle, defeats the darkness, and saves the world.  My favorite movie clip of all time is the Charge of the Rohirrim in the Return of the King.  The forces of Mordor have surrounded the city of Minas Tirith, the last free land of Middle Earth.  If this fortress falls, the Dark Lord will be free to destroy the remaining resistance.  As the thousands of orcs break through the gates, the army of Rohan appears on the hill.  King Theoden looks down to the battle, and sees how hopeless the battle is.  Here’s what happens next:

Why is that so awesome?  I mean, these guys are going to run into an army many times larger than they, and as we see, almost all of them die.  That’s terrible, but at the same time its epic.  It resounds in our souls, because we are made to lay our lives down for Christ.  We are made to make sacrifices for our families and defend our faith.  We are ultimately made to do battle with the great enemy, Satan.  But sometimes, we get too cocky, and in our macho-ness, think we can kill Satan by ourselves.  Hollywood has done a great job of feeding this thought to us.  But the truth is, we need Christ.  Only when we serve him can we finally claim victory over sin.

On our excursion, someone gave a King’s message (talk) about beauty.  Quick, whats the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of beauty?  Keep that in mind.  Anyway, he defined beauty as “anything that points us to God”.  Wow.  Usually I would think of beauty as anything visually appealing.  Dictionary.com defines beautiful as “possessing qualities that give great pleasure orsatisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses”.  That is a very worldly sense of the word.  Look out the window if you have one.  What do you see?  Maybe a tree or two, a fair bit of snow depending on where you live (lucky dogs).  I spent a lot of time looking at trees on my excursion (a good chunk of which was spent in a forest).  I live in a pretty beautiful state, and often take nature for granted.  I stared at a tree for a solid five minutes on Sunday.  Why?  I was bored and was in a daze trying to guess who were winning the NFL playoff games I was missing.  Real philosophical, isn’t it?  But at the end, I realized how beautiful that tree was.  I imagined God creating that tree, how much he tried to make it beautiful for us.  Beauty is everywhere.  Now, recall what you first thought of at the beginning of this paragraph.  It was a girl, wasn’t it?  You’re right to think so.  Woman is the crown of God’s creation.  You are made to respect and protect beauty, most especially women.  “A woman’s heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her” – CS Lewis.

I’ll close this part with a relatively short quote, and one I will let you ponder on your own in prayer.

Beauty has saved the world

That is just a taste of the book Wild at Heart.  I just took his three points and explained in my own words.  The book is far richer.  After all, he’s paid to write, not me :).  It really is an excellent book, but I would note that it is written by a Protestant, and the part where he talks about forgiving your sins at the end is not within the sacrament of confession and not considered valid as far as I know.  But the rest of it may as well be written by St John Bosco himself for all of its amazingness.

That was also just a taste of Fraternus.  A very small narrow taste.  On Frat nights we play sports, eat pizza, watch a movie clip, listen to a speech by a captain, and talk with our bros.  The best part is the brotherhood.  When asked what their favorite part of Fraternus was, 4/5 responded brotherhood.  The other 1/5 was too busy going to confession to hear :).  You can rely on them for anything.  So, if you’re a dude of ANY age old enough to read this pretty much, you should consider looking into Fraternus.  They have chapters in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.

Well, congratulations.  You made it through 1327 words of horrible grammar and insensible gibberish just trying to say two words, ESTO VIR!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

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