It should come as no surprise that the role of males in society today is under attack. Secular culture today with its disordered thoughts, values, and ideologies has painted the importance of males almost completely out of the picture. It is imperative that Catholic men today experience a renassaince of male spirituality perhaps of the kind never seen before. Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers has given us men a mission guide in his new book Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality. It’s a book well worth the time spent to read and one that can quite literally change the world if we heed its advice.
The topics covered in this book cover the gambit of topics relevant to Catholic men today. In the books first chapter “Biblical Manhood” we go right back to the beginning and Adam. What was God’s original plan for males? It is clear that Adam placed in the Garden of Eden to serve, protect, and defend all that God had entrusted to his care. We are called to the same today. Deacon Harold draws the following from Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. “The word for “man” (adam in Hebrew) is derived from the Hebrew word for “dust” or “soil” (adamah). The word “till” (abad in Hebrew) means a work in the form of service. The word for “keep” (shamar in Hebrew means to guard, protect, and defend everything that the Lord has entrusted to him.” After completing the first chapter it becomes pretty evident what our mission in life is.
Upon laying this foundation in the opening pages of the book Deacon Harold takes the reader on a deep dive of topics relative to male spirituality. The remaining chapters are Covenant Relationship, Sin and Forgiveness, Truth and Freedom, Theology of the Body, Fatherhood, Work, and The Armor of God. As I sat and read through this book I couldn’t help but think that this is a book every Catholic man should be reading. It contains the information vital to becoming the type of man God wants each of us to be. I cannot say it enough …….this book blew me away. Here are a few excerpts from the book that I think illustrate my admiration for Deacon Harold’s work.
“Men’s role as husbands and fathers necessarily means that we must sacrifice everything: our bodies, our desires and wills, our hopes and dreams, – everything we have and everything we are for the sake of our wives, children, the Church, and the culture. Living our fatherhood by the example of Christ on the Cross is what separates boys from men, what separates the men who are merely “daddies” from the real men who are truly fathers.”
“Developing an authentic male spirituality allows us to get our spiritual houses in order so that we are well equipped to face the challenges and struggles of the Cross in our everyday lives. But when it comes to the reality of our weakness and sinfulness – of those actions that separate us from the love of Christ – it is sometimes easier for us men to live our lives the way we want instead of completely trusting in the providence and mercy of God, who calls us to face our fears so that we can be free to love with our whole being.”
“An authentic male spirituality necessarily fosters and nurtures growth and holiness when we remove everything that separates us from the Father’s love, abandoned ourselves to God’s divine providence, prayerfully discern God’s will for us through a life of devotion, and sacrifice and draw deeply from the wellspring of Graces given to us in the sacraments. Holiness is our acceptance of God’s invitation to intimate personal loving and life-giving communion with him in the heart of the Trinity.”
Another key feature of the book is Deacon Harold has packed the book with footnotes. These references take up as much as one third of a page in some instances. Also included are two pages of further suggested reading materials as well as CDs and DVDs. This additional information makes the book a very valuable resource for Catholic men today.
My personal go-to book for men has always been Be A Man by Father Larry Richards. Now Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers has written a book that will forever sit alongside that title. It’s simply that good. It’s time for us men to wake up and be the men we were created to be. It is time for us to turn our back on the moral relativism pushed by society today. Regain the Catholic vision of male spirituality. Do yourself a favor and get this book. It’s a game changer you will surely benefit from.