So, here we are, a couple of weeks into Lent and what have we done? Have we really done anything that has moved us one iota closer to Our Lord? Have we followed through with our "sacrifices"? Are we developing a habit of prayer and alms-giving?
Well, as men, and men that are actively choosing to live a more authentic Christian manhood, what are we doing? Some leaders in the men's movement would have you chopping wood, hunting, or praying at an "adult bookstore"...all good, manly stuff, no doubt. But this is Lent.
The real measure of being a successful Christian man is how much we mirror our Savior. The question to ask is, how much do I imitate and reflect Christ Jesus to my family and to the world? In these terrible times, there is no greater need than the need for real, authentic images of Christ in the workplace, in the marketplace, and most importantly in the home. This imitation must flow from the life Christ lived as taught in the Holy Writ as well as taught by Holy Mother Church.
So this Lent, in order to live as authentic men, we must try to more and more develop into images of Christ. This means doing something truly manly, living the three modes of Lent - Prayer, Fasting, and Alms-giving.
1. Prayer - chose a time each day for private, quiet prayer. Make it a habit. Pray the Rosary, Read a spiritual book like the Imitation of Christ or one of the lives of the Saints. Pray on your way to work. Lead family prayer. Be the first one to suggest attending a Holy Hour or Confession.
2. Fasting- chose some things to give up and some things to do. Don't make exceptions, don't compromise. Chose something difficult that will push you to "feel the pain" of the sacrifice.
3. Alms-giving - Give. Give of yourself to your family. Give of your time and your money. Make a donation to an organization that really needs help. Support other family men that may need a helping hand. Be generous, give a little more than you are comfortable with.
The point is this. Yes we could go chop wood, yes we could go and pray before an abortion mill, yes we could go shoot guns in the woods. None of these things really requires sacrifice. The true measure of a man is his ability and willingness to give of himself, to take up his cross daily, and to follow Christ.