Last week I began telling men who truly love their wives and kids what we should be done in order to begin on the road to sanctity so we can can lead our families down that same road. So far we’ve talked about the need to commit ourselves to becoming saints, and the need for good and regular confessions. I also began writing about finding a good spiritual director. Now I want to continue with explaining how to identify a good candidate for your spiritual director.
In addition to avoiding asking priests who are not experienced in classical spiritual direction (as mentioned last week), I whole heartedly recommend you avoid asking a nun or lay person to direct you. There may be some very good ones out there, I’m sure, but your best bet is always a priest, because a priest possesses the sacramental graces of Holy Orders. The age of the priest doesn’t matter; only the degree of apparent holiness. My spiritual director has only been a priest about eight years, but he’s a very holy man, wise beyond his years, who is well-versed in classical spiritual direction. I knew this even before asking him, because that he applied classical spiritual direction principles to his own life was apparent to me.
And under no circumstances let anyone get away with telling you the “old ways” of spiritual direction don’t work anymore, that mankind and the Church have advanced beyond those archaic ways. Baloney! Times may change, but man is the very same as he was when our first parents gave us original sin, and the Church is a mere 2,000 years young. Besides, how many saints do we produce today with the so-called new ways? When classical spirituality and direction were at a peak, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of saints came flowing out of the heart of the Church! If classical spirituality was good enough for the likes of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Anthony of Padua, St. John Bosco, and innumerable others, it should certainly be good enough for you.
The classical principles of spiritual direction are proven to work, whereas the new ways aren’t. I suppose this is an example of moving forward by going backward. In other words, this is a situation where the old ways work better than the new. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A vital part of getting serious with God is forming a right conscience. In an era where upwards of 90% of Catholics daily offend God with the mortal sin of contraception and never (or almost never) bother to enter the confessional, I’d say we have a conscience formation problem. We have to work on the formation of our consciences.
BE A MAN!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: BE A MAN! It’s time to renounce artificial contraception, pornography, carelessly offending God, being selfish with Him, and being selfish with our families by not putting their spiritual welfare first.
BE A MAN! Only selfish and lazy men practice artificial contraception. The official Church has never been hesitant to say this is a sin worthy of eternal condemnation.
BE A MAN! Forget about your toys for a moment. You say you can’t afford more kids, and that’s why you practice contraception. That simply isn’t true 9 out of 10 times. You spend a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent. And even if money is a problem, contraception is the wrong solution. Try learning natural family planning (NFP). NFP actually forces you to learn a little bit about self-control as well.
BE A MAN! Nearly seven out of ten Catholic men regularly view pornography, despite God’s prohibition in the seventh and tenth commandments. Gentlemen, viewing pornography places your soul in eternal jeopardy, and it proves the need to learn and practice self-control.
BE A MAN! Speaking of the commandments on sexual purity, take your rightful roll of leadership in your families. You can and must begin to forbid your wives and daughters from wearing suggestive clothing. Every Sunday, the local parish church is filled with women wearing short skirts and dresses, with necklines that show entirely too much cleavage. If they dress that way for Mass, how on earth do they dress the rest of the time? By allowing the women of your families to dress that way endangers both their souls and yours. Furthermore, by not demanding a regulation of suggestive clothing, you aid other men in objectifying your wives and daughters as objects of sexual desire.
BE A MAN! Quit trying to be a buddy to your children and start being a parent. As I’ve said before, if you don’t begin to discipline your children now, a criminal court judge will do it for you when it’s too late.
BE A MAN! The average American family has $15,000 in credit card debt. Get your family spending under control. Cut up your cards. If you can’t afford to pay cash, it’s something you don’t need anyway. Not only will this help you master self-discipline, but you’re violating the seventh commandment by contracting debts beyond your means. Oh, the credit card companies will tell you you’re not living beyond your means, as they’re only too happy to loan you more money at exorbitant rates of interest, but to deny that you’re living beyond your means is not living in reality.
BE A MAN! It’s time to be the man, husband and father God intended you to be. The Church still teaches the man is head of the family, and she always will teach it, because God Himself gave us that teaching. And since God cannot change, His laws cannot change. Therefore, you must assume your rightful role. I’d suggest you read Into the Breach: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, by Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix. You can view it at https://intothebreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/INTO-THE-BREACH-ROMAN-CATHOLIC-DIOCESE-OF-PHOENIX.pdf.
We will continue The Husbands’ Survival Guide next week. That’s when it will get really interesting. Until then, if you have any questions or comments, visit JoeSixpackAnswers.com. You might want to consider signing up to get the free email course about the faith. You’ll also begin to get invitations to webinars where I teach the faith live… and you’ll get a chance to interact with me. Also, drop me a line and tell me if you’d like me to develop a webinar course on being an authentic Catholic man.