INTO THE BREACH: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, my Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix by +Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix

You were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness…

There’s a tremendous need in the Church for men to know their role and to know their identity. We’ve got this crisis (of a fatherless world) and we need men, strong Catholic men, to fill the breach.

I think to be a man, in short, is to lay down our lives. Man’s willing to die, to protect the family, willing to protect what is precious to them. I think a man first loves self-sacrificially by giving, by serving by protecting… It’s the daily deaths, the daily opportunities to put the other fist even at the expense of self that is the true authentic meaning of love… A man loves by making a gift of himself every day…

We can only build a certain foundation for masculinity, on the rock, Jesus Christ…

His greatest call is a call of paternity, whether he’s a biological father or not, of caregiving, and protection, and defence and rearing of new life. At the core of being a Catholic man is an aspiring to fatherhood. Fatherhood isn’t so much what we’re supposed to do, it’s what we are. Even if we’re single or if we’re celibate, we’re setting a fatherly example.

We have to hold up the vision of heroic sacrifice, and men are called to love concretely in protecting, and concretely in sacrifice.

God assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man.

Authentic love requires that we have self-mastery, that we own ourselves so as to be able to give ourselves away. Authentic love is “this is my body given up for you”…

if he can’t guard his own soul and lead that soul to heaven, how is he going to guard the innocents of the family that’s been entrusted to him?…

We live in the country where we have so much food, and so much entertainment that we need to say “no”…

The spiritual practice that Jesus showed us in the desert, that fasting, that mastery over ourselves, is the key to the man being able to love; because he cannot love if he is a slave…

Daily prayer, with honest and frequent confession, is the place where we really receive so much grace. I stay connected to the One of Love, and He starts to heal me and fill me. Then, I’m able to go out and pour that love out to my wife, to my children, to people I’m around. I can’t give what I don’t have.

It’s awesome to see men leading their family to Mass on Sunday… but as men, going even further, daily if possible, to have this contact with Christ, to receive Him, to be transformed, this will be the center of the man’s conversion.How much could we bless our family by doing little things like going to daily Mass.

The Church has given us so many weapons to defend ourselves and to defend our families but we have to use it. It is a battle, and if we do all those things, we’ll be the men we’re called to be.

There are lots of Catholic men who are simply waiting to be challenged, they’re waiting to be called. This movement is to go to the heart of where the problems really are; a fatherless world that longs for the father’s stable love, the father’s presence, that needs Christian men to look to Christ, and in Christ reveal God the Father.

When Jesus Christ is the operating principle in the man, He works through them and He can penetrate hearts and souls and influence in a way that we cannot do on our own.

I hope that men will reach into the breach so that they will discover the battle that we’re engaged in. We need men to embrace the Lord and believe and act on that belief in a powerful way.

Look around, wives, daughters, sons, grandchildren, they’re waiting; waiting for us to be the men God has called us to be.

Be confident! Be bold! Forward, into the breach!

– A Call to Battle

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