Men’s ministry provides spiritual and practical support
Men’s ministry in recent years has been enjoying a higher profile and importance in Sydney and across Australia.
More often, men have been getting together to network, provide mutual support, and pray and reflect on important questions.
I have received a number of invitations over the last couple of years to speak to gatherings of men about issues relating to spirituality, marriage, family and contemporary challenges.
I am no ‘know all expert” but I believe I can contribute something from my own experiences to partially fill an important void.
The ‘Faith Under Fire’ talk at Bonnyrigg Heights scheduled for Saturday 29 June is an example of the type of events being organised under the banner of men’s ministry.
I am very honoured to be invited to present at this particular event which seeks to make greater awareness of the challenges to our faith both in the public and private realm.
The challenges to the practise of our faith are numerous. Men are worried about expressing themselves as men, expressing their faith in public, holding onto the traditional definition of marriage, resisting the rise of gender ideology – and so on.
The need to highlight fatherhood as inherently good
The ‘Israel Folau event’ heightens fears about freedom of religion and job security, just to name one example. The talk on 29 June will also focus on how men can respond to these challenges.
This is very important as our modern culture largely tends to disparage manhood, masculinity, even fatherhood. Sometimes the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is used in an overly generalised sense, to denigrate manhood per se.
It is important to highlight that manhood, masculinity and fatherhood are inherently good things – created by God – and part of his overall plan for humanity.
It is the differences between men and women that make us complementary, enhance the sense of mystery, and make us attractive to and need each other.
Far from denying or denigrating our manhood, men need to enhance the same. But what does this mean?
It certainly doesn’t mean anything relating to machoism, oppression, domination or violence. Authentic manhood is best expressed through service, sacrifice and suffering.
Defeating the vices of manhood with God-given graces
Men are at their best when they see their wives and women in general as gifts of God that they should not only live with but live for, and together with their wives do the same for their children.
The biggest enemies of authentic manhood are selfishness, lust, anger and pride. The first letters of these four words form the acronym ‘SLAP’. We need to slap down SLAP, but this can only be done by God’s grace.
We obtain this grace through regular prayer, the sacraments, Mass attendance, meditation and scripture reading.
If we persevere in these we replace selfishness with service and sacrifice, lust with unconditional self-giving love, anger with gentleness, and pride with humility and truth. This is how we become truly men, truly human, truly Christian, and truly free.
I would like to invite as many men as possible to the talk on 29 June. The program, organised by Jim Jankiewicz, is well structured and possesses good variety.
Besides the talk itself, there will be Mass at 8.30am, followed by breakfast, and group discussion and Q&A following the talk. All those behind this initiative should be highly commended. I hope to see you on 29 June.