From the Pastor: Men’s Club Info, But Written for our Ladies
Last week 39 men of our parish got together for some good, traditional “Catholic Man” stuff. Numbers aren’t everything, yet I was amazed at the turnout. We shall see how the numbers go in the future, especially now that a groundwork has been laid as to what we hope to accomplish with this group. Unlike the Knights of Columbus, a good Catholic Men's group which is primarily a service organization, working on pro-life, pro-Church and pro-parish projects, this new group is primarily focused on each man bettering himself through increasing his prayer, spiritual reading, and physical abilities; and then, through manly camaraderie, holding one another accountable to their individual Catholic Man goals. Through this it is expected that the family, the parish, the workplaces and the local communities will be strengthened with true Catholicism, as men take their rightful and God-given places.
In order to accomplish this, we need the assistance of the women. Wives, while you may be the ones initially pushing your husbands to join this group, it will not be long before you are tempted to beg, nag, and guilt them into stopping what they are doing. Why do I say that? From the very beginning Satan brought about the downfall of Man through Woman. You have power over men and, though you might not think about it very often, what “mama” wants, “mama” generally gets. If you have been used to having your husband home and at your beck and call (OK, quit laughing) every early morning and late evening, if he takes this group seriously you might have to let him be by himself a bit more. He will be required to do some spiritual reading and mental prayer every day. He may be able to do it when everyone else is asleep or during his lunch hour, but he may also find that the only time is at the beginning or end of the day when the kids are in bed, when you used to have him all to yourself. It will be hard to share him, even if you are sharing him with God.
If all goes well, you are going to have another problem. Where before he was content to just lead the mealtime blessing, he is now going to also lead a family rosary. There is almost never a convenient time to pray the rosary, let alone as a family. You are going to have to support him, but you will be tempted to instead tell him, “This is not a good time” or, “Child x is too young” or, “Honey, you’ve worked hard all day and the kids are whiny. Why don’t we just skip it (again) tonight?” You will be surprised how many excuses, good excuses, will come up to not pray together as a family. If you give your husband a way out, he will gladly fall into his old ways to please you.
Ladies, you may also discover that you, while claiming to be a traditional Catholic, are really much more comfortable being a women’s lib Catholic.What?!? I can hear the screams already. But really, you have gotten used to all men, priests included, being so “squishy” that you won’t really know what to do with a manly man. Really. What will you do if your husband states, not asks, but states, that next Sunday he will wake everybody up at 4:30 so that there is time to make it to the early Low Mass so that he can serve with his oldest son? When he tells you that instead of visiting your parents over the holidays he will be going on an 8 day Ignatian Retreat? When he throws out half of the clothing you bought your daughter (or yourself) because they are not modest? When romance (which used to be cherished, then, when it faded, was longed for, and is now just a tiring bother) becomes something he once again valiantly and regularly attempts as he tries (bunglingly, perhaps!) to tell/show you he truly loves and cherishes you as both a wife and mother, and that he hopes to make you a mother another three or four times over? I am warning you now, having a traditional Catholic Man for a husband (or boyfriend, for that matter), especially if you are not used to it and haven’t seen it modeled anywhere in recent memory, is going to be more difficult than you may think. Many a man has had his good intentions of becoming more Catholic thwarted by a wife who doesn’t like relinquishing the role of “head of the household” which she has been taught/forced since childhood to assume.
Here is the basic outline for our twice monthly (second and fourth Thursday evenings starting at 6:00 pm) meetings. One hour of prayer. One hour of teachings and discussions about the spiritual homework which was assigned the last meeting. Then time for scotch, cigars, and/or other manly socializing. All three parts are essential, so don’t push him to show up late or leave early. Your encouragement (and restraint from reverting to the status quo) are greatly appreciated and necessary.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka