This Week on Knight Life
The show is about authentic masculinity in the modern age. In this program I discuss the role the Paschal Mystery plays in our quest to find authentic manliness. It also features Mike’s address at the Iowa Catholic Men’s Conference and Chris Meyer from UNI. Also, I talk about Sts. Joseph and Patrick and how they are models to help us find authentic manliness in our daily lives.
I’m James Maertens. We’re back with you for this week’s half hour of information, inspiration, and invitation around the activities of the Iowa Knights of Columbus. This is Knight Life. Our mission is to go make a difference for our brother Knights, their families, and for life.
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Overview of the Podcast
Authentic masculinity in the 21st century: where is it and how can we get it back? Today’s modern culture, fueled by Internet pornography and a “conquer all” attitude, has severely damaged the role of Christ-centered manhood in the Catholic Church. On today’s show, I feature our state deputy Mike Gaspers’ address to men at the Iowa Catholic Men’s Conference, held earlier this month. Also on this program, a personal look at how we as Catholic men can “put aside childish things”- 1st Corinthians 13:11, and a reflection from a former college knight at the University of Northern Iowa.
Today is April Fool’s Day. This is a day where we make jokes and celebrate pranks and general stupidity. The dilemma facing authentic Catholic manhood, however is no joke. According to Catholic apologist Matt Fradd’s website, The Porn Effect, “Fifty percent of all Christian men say they are addicted to pornography”. Now, I’m no mathematician, I’m a journalism student. But it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that a particular stimulus that can alter the minds of half of a certain demographic can alter the moralities and cultures of that same group. A day like today is fueled by the notion of the “hoax” or something that does not exist; something that is fake. In our daily lives, pornography can be equated to the perpetual April Fool’s Day, in which real, true, beautiful love can never exist because it can only exist as a hoax.
Now pornography is a major problem, but it is not the only issue facing Catholic males of this generation. This theater of filth stems from men’s increasing desire to conquer, to achieve everything in his path, to take more and more and more every single day. Yet, we as a generation of men, my generation included, has lost the Christ-like ability of self-sacrifice. The average man is looking for that sense of true masculinity and is finding it in all the wrong places.
So what can we do? What can we do as Knights of Columbus, as Catholic gentlemen, as sons of God to show a real, authentic sense of masculinity to all the men in our lives? After looking to the Cross first, and being in communion with Christ, especially during this Holy Week, we must look to the advice of our leaders in this brotherhood. I’ll touch more on the specific importance of a Christ-centered life in my personal reflections towards the end of this program. But first, our own state deputy, Mike Gaspers, had a few words of his own on this topic at the recent Iowa Catholic Men’s Conference, held at St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines.
Mike was joined by several other Catholic “All-Stars”. The set of speakers included Teresa Tomeo, Patrick Madrid, and Hector Molinez. The men also enjoyed Mass celebrated by Bishop Pates. Coming up on this session of Knight Life, Mike Gaspers sits down with a knight from the U-N-I council in Cedar Falls.
Welcome back to Knight Life. Today’s topic is authentic masculinity. It’s important to get perspectives from the generation facing the most adversity with these issues that plague our modern age. Mike Gaspers sat down with a recent college graduate and originally a member of the St. Stephen’s Council at the University of Northern Iowa.
As the most important days of the liturgical calendar are approaching, it’s important to remember their significance in relation to this topic. The Lord’s Paschal Mystery is a clear representation into Christ’s sacrificial love for all humanity. It also displays some insight on how we can live as Christian men and guard ourselves against the “conquer all” attitude. The most important thing we can learn from these most important days of salvation history is that we as Catholic men don’t have to conquer. We don’t have to physically grasp a hold on the things of this world, because ultimately, Christ conquered for us. Christ conquered sin and death on the cross to enable our lives to have meaning. He conquered so that we could live the deepest desires of our heart, put there by God the Father. Brothers, he conquered so that we wouldn’t have to.
Last month was the feast day of our most important figure of authentic manliness after Christ, St. Joseph. As St. Joseph was the human protector and provider for the Holy Family, it’s important to emulate his selflessness and sacrificial lifestyle. Involvement in the Knights of Columbus gives us a perfect opportunity to partake in these lifestyle choices. We provide meals to the homeless, clothes to the naked, and shelter for those in need. We also provide a sense of security for families of brother Knights, who have lost their own provider and protector, through Knights of Columbus Life Insurance. We also protect the lives of the innocent, especially the unborn, through our endless support of the Pro-Life movement. Additionally, we protect and defend causes defending the religious liberties extended to Catholics. Personally, I would challenge you to find those areas in your life where you can extend that ability to provide and protect those around you, especially those most vulnerable.
Another important saint recently had his feast day celebrated. Two days before St. Joseph’s feast day was St. Patrick’s Day. One of the most famous legends associated with St. Patrick was the expulsion of snakes from Ireland. Legend has it that Patrick chased the snakes to the sea and banished them from the island after they attacked him during a forty-day fast. While this legend has been highly disputed by naturalists and historians alike, it creates another parallel for the ongoing relationship between snakes and Christianity. With this in mind, what are the snakes in our lives that are keeping us as Knights from living a life filled with authentic masculinity? What can we do best to equip ourselves with the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11) so that we might be able to defend against these vulnerabilities?
As I am a college knight myself, I would just like to offer some simple tips for youth struggling to find that authentic masculinity in their busy lives. The main focus of your life should be to maintain a level of fitness. As soldiers prepare for battle or athletes prepare for competition, we must also prepare for each and every day of our lives through basic spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical fitness. Spiritually, we must establish a relationship with God through prayer and sacraments. Mentally, we have to increase our knowledge of the faith, through scripture, catechesis, and other ways of Catholic instruction. Emotionally, we have to rely on others to help us with our struggles. Christ couldn’t even spread his ministry or carry his cross all the way to Golgotha. The Twelve Apostles and Simon of Cyrene, respectively, were enlisted to help him in these areas. Finally, we must maintain a physical balance in our life, with plenty of rest, exercise, and nutrition. Excelling in all these areas will more fully enable us to understand God’s calling in our lives, first and foremost, to be men of Christ and men in this world, not of this world.
Brothers, as we come upon the holiest days of the year, let us carry these thoughts in our minds. Let us come before the altar and ask our Lord and Savior to forgive us of those times we have failed to authentically provide and protect those around us. Let us also continue to pray for those men around us who have lost that true manliness in their lives. As I close this session of Knight Life, I would like to offer a prayer to St. Joseph, in commemoration of his recent feast day and of our mission as Knights of Columbus.
O Glorious St. Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, and the head of the Holy Family. You have been chosen by Christ’s Vicar as the heavenly Patron and Protector of the Church founded by Christ. Protect the Sovereign Pontiff and all bishops and priests united with him. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life; and grant that all peoples of the world may be docile to the Church without which there is no salvation. Dear St. Joseph, accept the offering I make to you. Be my father, protector, and guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a pure heart and a love for the spiritual life. After your example, let all my actions be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, I lift up this special intention, for all men who have lost Christ’s presence in their lives, and all those who at this time are unable to see that ability to provide and protect those most vulnerable, as you did, St. Joseph. Amen.
This is Knight Life. Our mission is to go make a difference. We are a family friendly fraternity. Our principles are Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. We place God first, and then act to serve others. If you feel prompted to give something back and hope to become more of the Catholic man you were hoping to be, join us as we make a difference serving our Church, our communities, and our families. For more information, visit our Facebook page or our website, iowa-k-o-f-c dot org. I’m James Maertens. Thank you for listening. Feeling inspired? Then go make a difference in the world by your word and by your deeds. Knight Life is a production of the Iowa Knights of Columbus.