FIRST…I do not intend this to be a sexist, misogynist post. BUT…I am a male, and am writing about being male. So please bear with me….because I have been thinking about male spirituality, and what it means for a Christian Man to experience the salvation of Jesus Christ. What is the difference? Is there a difference?
Last week, during the weekly readings, the passage of Jesus calling Peter, James and John was read. These men who were fishers had caught nothing, but when Jesus told them to fish again, they caught a superabundance. He then called them to follow him and he would make them fishers of men.
|Harry Anderson 1906-1996|
We usually read this passage with an eye to vocations to the priesthood. Which is fine. However, I think there is something much more profound here in the passage. It goes to the core of our identity as men. I think a condition of males is how we identify ourselves; we say we are men by our jobs, our income, the number of girlfriends we have had or sexual conquests, how much we can drink, our homes, cars and toys. The list can go on.
Peter, James and John were fishers, that was their occupation, and was how they did support their families. And at least in the passage, they were not doing a good job of it.
YET, with Jesus, they succeed. Through the catch they would have enough to support their families.
But, their identities is not in what they do, nor in how much they succeed…rather, it is the relationships, the community that they build. It seems to me that Jesus calls them to be fishers of men (the neutral, not gender translation), to gather people as one. Our lives as males, our identity as a male, is found in those around us and how we build each other us. I am more a man when I can give of myself so that others succeed, grow and transcend. And the more I give of myself, the more I grow, succeed and transcend.
When we place our energies into things, status, power money, whatever, we become slaves to these things; things that will pass away and turn to dust. We lose our freedom, our identity; we lose our maleness.
I am beginning to think that a Masculine Catholic is one who actively embraces the giving of self, who resists the pressures of the macho stereotype; who works to give and ultimately love. It takes GREAT courage to live this way…because secular society does not necessarily honor it,