Tag Archive for: Men

Spiritual Battle – Top 3 Qualities of A Good Soldier

[Excerpt of painting] “The Fall of the Rebel Angels” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Public Domain)

We all fight spiritual battles.

Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 409)

Not long ago, I surveyed friends who are current or former members of the armed forces, asking them:

What is the most important quality of a good soldier?

  • Each soldier responded from his or her own experience, without consulting anyone.
  • I received answers from soldiers varying in rank, age, background, gender; experienced in the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

Interestingly, all of their answers fit into 3 categories…

1. Commitment to the Mission – Top Response

Other words used to describe this quality: Discipline, Drive, Courage, Fortitude, Determination

One senior officer elaborated: “I always talk to my Soldiers about having a ‘Why’ Factor: That reason(s) that get you up every morning and make you the best person you can be. […] This can be the next rank, spouse, children, family, better finances, education; whatever it is that reminds them of the importance of what they do and why they strive for greatness each day.”

In the spiritual life, we must be focused and committed to our mission: union with God who is Love.

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)

Being lukewarm means that we know enough, but we don’t care enough.
Are you lukewarm in your daily commitment to the mission of Love?
Is it love of God that drives you through trials?
What is your “Why Factor” for living as you do?

  • Examine your conscience to determine the dis-ordered personal desires or other obstacles you must address, in order to remain committed. A soldier who is neither disciplined nor committed to the mission is a danger to himself and his fellow soldiers.

2. Integrity

Other words used to describe this quality: Honor, Honesty

Closely related to the top response, Integrity is defined as “moral uprightness”, or “the state of being whole and undivided”. Soldiers who gave this response consistently answered with one word. That’s because integrity speaks for itself.

Saint JosephLook at Saint Joseph in the Bible; described as “a righteous man”—yet his words are never quoted. Why? The integrity of his character is reflected in his actions, which speak for themselves.

As necessary and powerful as our words and vocal prayers can be, Jesus clearly says that lip service is insufficient for Victory:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies this to our daily battles; “The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary ‘spiritual battle’ to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray.” (no. 2752)

  • Start today, soldier! Pray for the grace to be a person of integrity.
  • Seek God’s will so that you can accomplish it: Spend a few minutes daily with Scripture and spiritual reading.
  • Consult a spiritual leader to provide direction & structure for your spiritual training.

3. Teamwork

Other words used to describe this quality: Cooperation, Loyalty, Trustworthiness & Trust

A commanding officer elaborated: “I don’t want narcissists that only care about themselves.” Another asserted: “I need this person to foster teamwork, or cooperation. You can be the most patriotic, intelligent, experienced person in the U.S. military and if no one can work with you, or wants to, you’re useless.”

In the spiritual battle, it is not good enough to claim the title “Christian” for oneself and ‘check the boxes’ of expected behavior. Two of Jesus’ closest disciples discovered that we cannot please him if in our heart & mind, we wish ill on others, even those who oppose us.

[Jesus’ messengers] entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him… When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them… (Luke 9:52-55)

Mother Angelica once advised, “Don’t say, ‘If it weren’t for that person I could be holy.’ No; you can be holy because of that person.” What bugs you about people? Are there people who drive you up the wall with their weaknesses or habits? Make it your goal to realize that you cannot win the spiritual war without learning to love those people.

When St. Therese of Lisieux found a particular nun in her community completely disagreeable, she employed this tactic: “Not wishing to give in to the natural antipathy I was experiencing, I told myself that charity must not consist in feelings but in works; then I set myself to doing for this Sister what I would do for the person I loved the most.”

Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

3 Keys to Victory

  1. Disciplined and Courageous Commitment: Decide to live for Christ, and use this decision to guide all other decisions.
  2. Integrity: Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
  3. Teamwork: Remember that you are not fighting your fellow human, but rather you are fighting against temptation to sin. Practice selfless love, generosity, and kindness to everyone.

Men, Pilgrim Center of Hope invites you to Gear Up & Level Up at the upcoming Catholic Men’s Conference. You are not alone in your battle. Renew your spirit & strength at this annual event for men like you.


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

Meet St. Edith Stein | Socials with the Saints

Have a Social with the Saints! Enjoy tea & treats at home as we meet St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), who was born a Jew, became an atheist, and converted to the Catholic faith. After an academic career in philosophy, Edith took vows as a Carmelite nun. She was killed in a Nazi concentration camp.

Be inspired by her story, her teachings, her example.

How-To

1. Meet St. Edith Stein
At the time listed, watch the video below (or via our social media).

2. Discussion
Listen as we discuss how this saint can inspire us in daily life. Use the audio player below (or your favorite podcast app).

3. Live with Hope!
Download the pamphlet & quote cards below, and share with friends. Send us your feedback to join the conversation!

Miss the premiere time? All media will be available on-demand afterwards.

Cost: Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee for attending, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!

We thank Julie Mellin for making possible this episode of Socials with the Saints.


1. Meet St. Edith Stein

2. Discussion

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3. Live with Hope!

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Take courage! He is calling you.

Attendee at the 2019 Catholic Men’s Conference

The theme for all the Catholic Men’s Conferences (which are held annually, our next conference will be February 27) and sponsored by Pilgrim Center of Hope is taken from Mark 10:51, “Master, I want to see.”

Our Blindness

Bartimaeus was physically blind, but because of his faith, the Lord healed him. We chose this theme, because we realize that there is a blindness that is worse than physical blindness—and it affects not only men, but all of society; and we all need to be healed.

As Jesus taught the crowds two thousand years ago, he said,

“…They may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.” (Mark 4:12)

To accept Jesus as our Savior, and to undergo conversion, goes against our nature. We think we know what is best for us, and we want to rely on our own resources, our own intelligence, our own understanding. It is from this way of thinking that we need conversion and forgiveness.

The Difficulty of Faith

In baptism, we received the theological gift of faith, but what is faith? The theologian St. Thomas Aquinas gives us an insight: “The object of faith is not something seen or sensed; nor, in itself, is this object grasped by the intellect” (Tour of the Summa). Perhaps this is what we could call the difficulty of faith: our intellectual desire is to understand all things, but there are some things that God has revealed to us that are beyond our understanding.

The answer to this struggle is to surrender (entrust) our intelligence to God, in order to believe. As we draw close to God, we should desire more to believe than to understand in matters of faith, because it is our faith that causes us to have hope and to live in charity. This has been proven through the ages; true faith in God has inspired men and women to live heroic lives of virtue and to experience great happiness that has been the means of hope not only for themselves, but also for others.

Awakening Our Faith

Faith is more than saying we believe in God. Again, an insight from Thomas Aquinas:

“The internal act of faith is the unhesitant assent of the mind or intellect, under the direction of the will, to the truth that is proposed for belief upon sufficient authority. In the case of religious faith, the authority is God, who is truth itself.” (Tour of the Summa)

This internal faith must lead us to an external witness. Saint James tells us, “Be assured, then, that faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.” (James 3:26). If our faith does not influence our decisions, it is dead. If our faith does not inspire us to pray daily, read the scriptures, and worship God, it is dead. If we are not concerned about discovering what God’s plan is for us, and then using the gifts that God has given us to build up the Body of Christ, then our faith is dead.

Jesus came to speak about the urgency of the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is at hand for those who believe; and not to believe leads to hopelessness. If we do not have a sense of the urgency of the kingdom of God, then we have eyes, but do not see; ears but do not hear, and hearts that have not yet been converted. The world is as it is because we have not placed God at the center of our lives, at the center of our families.
Our Lord is patient for our salvation, but the longer we take to cooperate with his graces; the greater are the consequences will be for us and for society.

What Will You Ask Jesus?

If we still have enough faith to know that we must make some changes in our lives, then we should say along with Bartimaeus, “Master, I want to see!” The Lord will begin to show us what we must do. It was Bartimaeus who initiated the dialogue with Jesus. Even though he was told to keep silent, he continued to ask for pity, and Jesus said, “Call him!” When he came forward, Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” even though he knew Bartimaeus was blind.

Jesus knows what we need, and yet he often waits to see if we have enough faith to ask, or to ask on behalf of someone else. He begs us to ask him. He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

What is it that you want to ask of Jesus? He already knows what you need, but he may be waiting for you to approach him in faith. Remember the words of the disciples to Bartimaeus: “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you!”

It may seem like a big risk to ask Jesus for something, because we know that Jesus may want something from us in return. What he wants from us is our trust. He wants us to experience the joy of being a child of God and of living in a relationship with him in which we will discover our true dignity.

There are some things we can do that will prepare our hearts to see and hear our Lord, so that we can be converted and forgiven:

  • We must make a commitment to pray daily. Prayer could change the world if we would pray with our hearts.
  • Our Lord has given us the sacraments, because he knows we need his grace to discover and live the plan he has for each of us. Consider how you can incorporate frequent Confession, daily Mass when possible, quiet time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, into your life.
  • Being united with the Mother of Jesus by praying the Rosary will help us to see more clearly the spiritual battle we are involved in each day.

May the grace of God give us all the confidence we need to approach Jesus with our concerns and petitions. May God’s grace help us to see and hear more clearly his great plan for us. Faith is a gift from God, but believing is a choice.

How will you choose to respond?


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Men of Faith & Courage

What does it mean to be an authentic Catholic man? What are some tools we can use to help men’s spiritual growth?

Join Father Ed Hauf, OMI, as he ‘turns the table’ as host this week, with guests Deacon Tom Fox and Richard Reyna. We’ll share our knowledge and experiences on this subject from decades of ministry, and of course, our lives as men. PLUS! Get spiritual tools and meet our Saint of the Week, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – a young man of faith & courage.

Son of Man to Man

Son of Man to Man spiritual book for menThis week’s recommended spiritual tool is the book “Son of Man to Man” by Deacon Tom Fox.

As men we are often focused on practical things like paying bills and planning for the future. However, we are not just material beings. God has created us primarily as spiritual beings with an eternal existence. When we plan for the future, our first concern should be about our relationship with God and the happiness he promises us if we remain faithful to Him. He has revealed what we must do if we are to remain faithful. If we want to be faithful we must have a plan; and this plan will keep us on the right path.

Practical Ways to Utilize Son of Man to Man

  • Keep it in your glove compartment, get in your car a few minutes early and take a moment to read one page before you start your day.
  • Take it with you to Mass and read a section before Mass begins and open your heart to the message God has for you.
  • Use it to begin saying the Rosary daily or start with once a week.
  • Going to Adoration? Take this inspirational book with you for reflection. Consider reading the same passage two times and deeply meditate on what it means for your life.
  • Read this book with your son, grandson, nephews, or any young man in your life who may be waiting for guidance.
  • Help others use this book by giving it as a gift to someone who could use spiritual inspiration!

Purchase

You can purchase this book at Pilgrim Center of Hope (7680 Joe Newton St, San Antonio, TX 78251) Monday through Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. Call us at 210-521-3377.

It may also be purchased at the Catholic Men’s Conference.

Men of Faith in Today's World

Men of Faith in Today’s World

We discuss how men of faith are changing the world today.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Related Information

Catholic Men’s Conference

Free from Vasectomy

Why would a man opt to have a vasectomy, then decide to reverse it?

We spoke with Dr. Mark Hickman, a local Catholic surgeon whose medical ministry reverses vasectomies, as well as Steve & Mary Van Sciver, who experienced a total marriage transformation after having Steve’s vasectomy reversed.  How and why?

More information related to this episode:

St Joseph of Nazareth

On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)

“On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)” encyclical by Pope Leo XIII

“In Joseph, faith is not separated from action,” said Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. For centuries, the model of St. Joseph has quietly resided in the hearts of Christians. Many popes have called his example out of the quiet, so that we would gain from friendship and devotion to him – towards a stronger faith in Christ.

Pope Leo XIII was one of these popes. His encyclical demonstrates why St. Joseph is so special, and why we should look to him for prayerful help, protection and guidance in following the Lord. At the end of the encyclical, he also mentions a special prayer to St. Joseph that we should especially include during our Rosaries for the month of October:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

Perhaps your parish office would print a copy for you in exchange for a small donation, as well.

Purchase this book at your local Catholic bookstore or online. Don’t forget – if you shop on Amazon, make sure to start at Smile.Amazon.com and request that Pilgrim Center of Hope receive a portion of your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you for your much-needed support of this ministry.

Spiritual Help for Catholic Men

How can Catholic men develop their faith in today’s world?

We spoke with two attendees of the Catholic Men’s Conference in San Antonio to discover the answer.