"Big Four" Highlights


 

‘Behold the Man’

New book explores male Catholic spirituality

Catholic men are in a deep identity crisis over the most basic truths concerning themselves and the faith. In his new book, Behold the Man (Ignatius Press), Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers identifies the crisis and outlines a way for men to find their way again.

You may know Deacon Harold from his passionate, Bible-based presentations on EWTN, or may have met him at a Catholic men’s conference or retreat. His remedy for the malady afflicting men is strong medicine: a covenant relationship with Christ and his cross, and openness to sacrifice and suffering. This requires doses of God’s perfect word and repeated visits to the sacraments, beginning with Confession. The goal is to become the true man that God calls us to be.

Married with four children, Deacon Burke-Sivers lives in Portland, Oregon. He answered the following email questions from Fathers for Good.

Fathers for Good: What obstacles do you see keeping men from being more active and involved in their faith and their parish?

Deacon Harold: Catholic men were created for greatness but instead choose to be mediocre. We choose pornography and masturbation over the one-flesh union of the conjugal act in marriage or the intimacy of celibate life. We choose abortion and contraception over serving, protecting and defending a woman’s dignity and building a culture of life. We choose spiritual sloth and laziness over witnessing to the truth of our faith with passion and conviction. We’ve become timid. We’ve stopped leading. We no longer desire holiness. We’ve compromised our values and abdicated our responsibility.

Catholic male spirituality is a man’s response to God’s invitation to life-giving communion through an ever-deepening revelation and discovery of him through a life of sacrifice and service that imitates Christ crucified, meditates on God’s Word and responds to that Word in faith, and, in the sacraments, makes him truly a son of God and part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

FFG: What is the most important lesson of the cross of Christ for men looking to lead a life of faith in their families, workplace and communities?

Deacon Harold: The cross is a mirror into the souls of men, but we have become so immersed in those things that prevent us from making our relationship with Christ our highest and most important priority. We have stopped looking at the cross because it’s either too painful or we simply feel nothing at all. We have become the living dead. We live our lives in silent fear, ashamed and afraid to make ourselves vulnerable — afraid to give ourselves totally and completely to our wives, children, Church and culture.

When men pick up their cross and follow Christ, they unite their sufferings to his Passion, receive everlasting life from his death and draw their strength from his weakness.

FFG: Discuss the sacramental depth of Catholic male spirituality, particularly participating in the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass.

Deacon Harold: The Catholic heart of men’s spirituality is centered in Christ crucified and receives strength and life from the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist. The Eucharist is at the center of a man’s faith and spirituality precisely because it is Christ himself, the visible, tangible and sacramental reality of communion with God. The eucharistic sacrifice leads to a stronger spiritual life in which this powerful encounter with God’s grace increases men’s charitable desires and actions, leading to a closer union with Christ and deeper brotherhood with one another.

The Eucharist, therefore, flows from the cross and is the place where men receive the strength, power and grace to seek the Lord in faith, hope and love. By receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we literally become one with God in a way that is purposeful and real; we become more of who we already are in Christ Jesus, who maintains and increases the divine life in us.

Visit Ignatius Press for more information about Behold the Man.