Sunday, December 9, 2007

Real Men Must Rebel

The role of a real man is to set aside his desires and become a husband and father. Willing acceptance of these responsibilities defines maturation in a man. Until the boy has reflected at length on these duties he will balk at all or part of them and continue, like a child, to protect his “rights”, his toys and his free time. If the man is never in an atmosphere of quiet that facilitates a process of reflection he may never progress to the stage of maturation where he finds fulfillment in the well being and happiness of his family, instead he will continue to selfishly pursue childish pleasures.

A young man does not come to this acceptance from one moment to the next, but rather it occurs gradually through meditation. This way a man learns to cherish not his rights but rather his responsibilities. The real man is the leader and protector of his family, and his willing acceptance of this role, rather than his resignation to it, incites him to put the welfare of his wife and children before his own. An adult man embraces these responsibilities through the love he feels for his family and the love he feels for God.

An adult man does not worry about obtaining and protecting his toys and free time because the benefits of his adulthood show them to be childish and chimerical things that leave him empty. He prefers the respect of his wife, children and community. He prefers to pray with a clear conscience, knowing that although he stumbles on his journey, he puts the needs of others ahead of his own and is a true leader, humbly trying to do his God given duty.

In our modern American culture, moments of quiet are few and far between. We are taught to surround ourselves with “entertainment” every waking moment of the day. We are taught to take great pride in being busy as if perpetual movement is a goal in itself.  Meditation and quiet reflection are seen as strange, deviant behavior. We are pelted with advertising on the radio, TV, billboards and internet that teach us to consume, in fact they teach us to define ourselves by which products we consume. We are educated to be selfish and greedy and we are tempted to drug ourselves with permanent entertainment so that we do not think about our responsibilities or the nature of God and our role in His creation.

A young man must confront this modern culture, turn off the noise and find the space, time and tranquility to reflect on his role and purpose in life. This is how he will mature and become a good father and husband. This was historically easy to do, but today in order to become an adult he must first rebel against this culture that teaches consumerism, feminism and the constant and selfish pursuit of happiness. Maybe we should challenge men to be rebels, to confront and denounce the establishment. Perhaps we need to incite them to throw off the chains of all this worldly garbage and redefine themselves. If a man accepts the paradigm of modern America he will not mature, he will not receive respect and he will feel unfulfilled. He has to extinguish the noise around himself long enough to hear the voice of reason. What we crave as men is respect and today to earn respect we must follow the example of Christ and rebel.

Mother Theresa of Calcutta taught us the following:
The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace

To follow this guide is to rebel against the modern world. To follow this guide is to grow up. So, look for quiet, be honest and be humble. Do not believe easily what the noise blares into your ears; question authority and follow the example of the greatest rebel of all time: Jesus Christ.

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