It's clear the understanding of manhood has undergone a change in the last several decades. There is a stark contrast between the men of "the greatest generation" in the early 1940s — sacrificing themselves on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima — and the men of today seeking material comforts and the easy way out.
For years, we've seen television shows portraying men, especially fathers of families, as idiots. But it's easy to blame the media. In fact, it's easy to blame everything and everyone else. But the truth is, men have allowed it to happen. Nobody can take from you what you refuse to surrender. In the war for souls men have surrendered their manly obligations to the world, the flesh and the devil.
But the news isn't all bad — there is an awakening. This past Saturday, over 600 men gathered for the solution to the problem — and it was wonderful to behold. The lay-run apostolate iNVICTUS CHRISTUS held their first Eucharistic procession in the streets of Royal Oak, Michigan, called "Christ in the Streets." The apostolate describes the reason for the procession,
As men and Sons of the King, we seek to make reparation for not being our True Selves — uniquely created by God with hearts of Fire and Sacrifice. The pursuit of our own passions has led us to shirk our duties as spiritual leaders in our homes and communities at large. The Eucharistic Procession is an open declaration of our intent to fix our eyes squarely on Christ Jesus, unite ourselves to His Passion and place our shoulders firmly on the labors of building His Kingdom.
The 2.5-mile procession started at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica and ended at St. Mary's parish. At the Shrine, Fr. Ben Luedtke gave a rousing talk, telling men that Jesus Christ is the ultimate Man, that men need not only to know Christ but to be Christ. After the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the chanting of "O Salutaris Hostia," altar boys led the procession with candles and incense, followed by canopy-bearers and a priest bearing the King of kings.
Taking part in the procession, I witnessed men marching prayerfully behind their King. We prayed the Rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy and sung hymns. There weren't enough men to warrant the police blocking off the street so we kept to the sidewalk, which seems to have been the better thing to do. We got the occasional honk and wave by drivers, but the majority of people looked on with curiosity, not entirely sure what they were witnessing. If the street had been blocked off, none of those people would have been able to see us.
Members of St. Paul Street Evangelization were engaging onlookers, offering pamphlets, Rosaries, prayers and religious conversation. There was no hostility or aggressiveness on anyone's part and it was all very peaceful.
By the time we reached St. Mary's about an hour and a half later, the church was packed with standing room only. When the monstrance was put on the altar, hundreds of strong voices chanted the Eucharistic hymn "Tantum Ergo."
After the Blessed Sacrament was reposed in the tabernacle, the co-founder of iNVICTUS, Richard Yamin, commented to everyone, "Today, we dropped a nuclear bomb on Satan's head." It was difficult for any of the attendees to disagree.
iNVICTUS CHRISTUS is one of several apostolates trying to help men to be real Catholic men. Last September, Bp. Thomas Olmsted of the diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, wrote an apostolic exhortation to men titled "Into the Breach." He called men into the spiritual battle, saying,
Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.
Cardinal Raymond Burke established "The Holy League," encouraging men, among other things, to partake in the sacramental life of the Church, the Rosary, and eucharistic adoration.
Other lay initiatives include The New Emangelization Project and The King's Men, which battles the pornography epidemic among men, as well as Fraternus, which helps mentor boys to become strong and virtuous men. Others, like Battle Ready and Wilderness Outreach, link physical strength with spirituality in order to make men more physically and spiritually strong.
ChurchMilitant.com will be holding its Second Annual Men's Conference: Strength and Honor Resistance Boot Camp in August. We encourage all men who want to make a change in their lives — who want to wear the mantle of manhood with pride, grit and determination — to attend, in order to learn how they can be the husbands, fathers and leaders God is calling them to be.
All of these efforts are sorely needed in our world today but they are useless unless men make use of them. The imitation of Christ as the ideal Man is not optional. It is required.