This is a five post day, so scroll down for all the goodies. Before I move on to something else, I have been thinking of raising Catholic boys to be men again, as I consider working in schools again as a substitute teacher. I always end up teaching boys....hmm. I teach boys to be men.
There are three categories of men: Protectors, Predators and Peter Pans. Now, young boys learn to be one of these types. I want to write about this from my own experience in teaching, observing and being in Confirmation prep, which, interestingly enough, allows one to watch the maturation or not of young people becoming responsible about their spiritual lives.
That phrase "becoming responsible" is the key and what every good Catholic mum wants her boys and girls to be. We raise children to become independent, responsible, with properly formed consciences and so on.
Sanctifying grace informs the virtues given through baptism, but these virtues must be accepted, trained, practiced, as in sailing a boat or being an accomplished painter. One can have gifts one never uses. Let me outline the three men types, starting with the best.
The Protector is the man who realizes that one of his responsibilities in life as a man is to protect a wife and family, or, in extension, as with a monk, a community, or a parish priest, a parish, or as a bishop, an entire diocese.
The Protector learns to live the virtues, given to him by God through the sacraments. He embraces his role in the world as a protector, being full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as counsel, knowledge, wisdom,piety and the four cardinal or moral virtues, fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice. Such virtues as perseverance or fortitude, and temperance are necessary daily habits, as well as the others. Of course, the first three Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity, are a given. The Protector lives the virtuous life and teaches those around him to do likewise. The man who is a Protector also knows that he must be the wage-earner, the provider, the champion of the weak and helpless.
The Predator is a narcissist who only thinks of his own pleasure and needs. He looks on women and even other men totally from his viewpoint of what he can gain from these victims, or objects. The Predator is a sexual or military aggressor. So many women do not recognize the traits-bullying is one of the most obvious.But other Predator traits include selfishness, deceit, and a lack of self-mastery.
The Peter Pan has not grown up and lives either in the malaise of victim-hood (see my January post) or in the false security of irresponsible childhood. This type of man never grows up, wants to be taken care of and does not want children or any stake in the world, of which he is afraid. Frequently, the PP only engages in self-sex, that is masturbation, a sign of his immaturity and selfishness.
Catholic parents build character in their children at home. This is one of our primary duties. We look for the opportunities to instill personal responsibility and success. We watch for the signs of maturation. We try and help the male persons in our families grow into Protectors, rather than Predators and Peter Pans. When a good father is eyeing the young men who come to date his girls, he should be able to tell immediately whether the young or not-so-young men are Protectors, Predators, or Peter Pans.
Many women have not found a Protector. These men, real men, are rare indeed, as society has preferred to nurture Predators and Peter Pans, who are politically more pliable. Only Protectors live the Catholic virtues. I pray for my sisters in Christ who, sadly, have not been married or had children, or who are lonely in this big, bad world for the lack of Protectors. Many of us go directly to God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit for our Protection.
I think of St. Joseph. He was the Protector par excellence. Many other saints show that they were Protectors. I think of Blessed Louis Martin, St. and King Henry, St. Thomas More, and even unmarried Protectors, such as St. Pius IX, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Philip Neri. St. Damien of Molokai, and many others.There is a saying going around the Net:
Real Men do not love the most beautiful women in the world. A real man loves the woman who can make his world beautiful...that is the attitude of a Protector.
St. Paul said, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it- see 5:25-in the Letter to the Ephesians.
Bishop Jenky is a Protector. Those monks above are Protectors. The Catholic Men in England in the 1950s are Protectors. St. Joseph is the Protector. Do you know a Protector? Sisters, pray for at least one in your life, and if you find him, love and cherish him. He is one of a rare breed.