When the Founding Fathers put together the Constitution of the United States of America, they set their minds to accomplishing something great. It was first a thought and then a series of thoughts, and then debates (often feisty) about ideas, speeches, collaboration, and votes. It was in the mind that greatness could be achieved and for a long time in the minds of men before it could be implemented. The fruits of the collaboration on these ideas took a few hundred years to play themselves out to see what really had been achieved back in the 1780s.
This example demonstrates that men, when working together towards a noble goal and willing to sacrifice greatly in correlation to the potential greatness of the accomplishment, can indeed achieve what they set out to do. The limits put upon them are put on by themselves and not by their creator. This is in no way saying that women, when working together, cannot also accomplish greatness but it demonstrates that men can also. Men and women accomplish greatness in different ways and often to different ends but we often need a reminder as men of what it is that we are capable of because we are told so often to not apply ourselves in congruence with our masculine traits to achieve greatness. In fact, we are more often told to temper our masculinity with feminine traits so that we don’t offend or bother or make a racket.
Each of us was made in the image and likeness of God, known by God before being crafted in the womb. We have the ability to reason, unlike anything else God has created but very much like the God that has created us. We have the literal grace of direct interaction with God Himself in the sacraments to empower us. We have the natural capacity to work out our plans through thought, muscle, sweat, and blood. We have the incentive of the gift of family to keep us focused on our priorities.
I hear very often that the world appears to be crumbling into despair around us and so what can one person do? The answer is quite a bit, but not nearly as much as what many guys can do who are working together for a common objective. I firmly believe that if perhaps one thousand Christian men made it their mission to end abortion peacefully then it would be accomplished. The key is singular focus and motivation, no pursuit of glory or ego building but the end result itself, perhaps the thought of killing babies ubiquitously seen as too heinous to allow legally or put into practice to control birthing.
As men we have to overcome 3 key things to get to the point where accomplishment is possible. First we have to believe that it can be done. Second, we have to believe that it is worthy. Third, we have to prioritize it, not multi-task, but go after it with all that we have and whatever it takes. Let’s take a quick look at these 3 things.
First we have to believe it can be done. Saint Paul says "I can do all things in Christ Jesus which strengthens me". If it is worthy in the eyes of God, it can be done. Of course if we are working against God and his supernatural or natural laws then we are running a treadmill to nowhere. But if we were put here on this earth then we were put here to do things, not just talk about them. We were put here to accomplish greatness. There are no limits upon ourselves except those that we put upon us. The miracle of our existence demonstrates this fact. There is not a single person that can explain how and why they were put on this earth. We desperately attempt to put our head around this but only come up with logical conundrums bordering on nonsense. It is like trying to catch all the raindrops in your yard in a single bucket. And yet, it is difficult for us to picture life without the people that are with us. Just the other day I was looking at my 4-year old son and trying to picture life without his boisterous self. This is not easy. So if our very existence is a miracle, then why would not anything that we do that is geared towards the perfect God who is truth and love itself, not also be an extension of that miracle? We must believe that it is possible. Think about any of the great miracles or missions that occurred in the Old Testament. They happened through and via God’s created people. We are no different.
Second, we have to believe that our goal is worthy. How many times have we been given a so-called mission at work but learn to dread it because our heart is not engaged. This is more often than not due to not understanding how the accomplishment is significant or how it fits in the greater context of many moving factions of work. Of course it could also be that we are being misled. Instead, if we know of the great accomplishment or reward of our work then it suddenly becomes much easier, more like just living rather than the drudgery of work. This worthiness can often be felt when a group of men are doing something significant such as building a house for the poor or fighting a battle against an enemy combatant. We should often evaluate our tasks against what is priority in our lives and eliminate the ones that are not in alignment with top priorities. We can only really accomplish 3-4 items of significance in a given day so we should put all our energies towards those things and not worry about the others. But if we do not prioritize appropriately then we and those we support will not be satisfied. If we work on the easy things instead of the significant things then we will be moving sideways rather than forwards. A good check of worthiness is whether something would be pleasing to God, in line with His commandments, and benefiting others. We should consult Jesus Christ in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
Lastly, we have to go after it. If we believe in something and it is worthy by our Creator, then it is also worth collaborating with other men to move towards the accomplishment. Our virtue toolbox is what we need here. It will inevitably involve some self-sacrifice so we need fortitude. We should not do something in a way that benefits the cause but also hurts other people so we need prudence. Our results should bring about the greatest good for the most people which is alignment with justice. When things do not go our way we should not get frustrated but practice temperance. We obviously need faith and hope in God to see it through and all that we should do should be done in love. For us guys, this is not a feminine love but an agape love – one of taking the right actions even if people do not like us for it. We should work towards our goal, continuing to adjust and bounce ideas of each other, until we have achieved it. We have to expect to encounter setbacks and learn from them. We should consult the saints and writings of the Church in Her 2000 years of educating about what works and what does not. We need to deliberate, plan, and edify each other. As much as we believe in God and ourselves, we have to believe in each other. Most importantly, in the end, we have to trust in God’s will over our own.
As Catholic Christian men we have the gift of the truth and the sacraments which are direct interactions with God Himself. There is no reason that we cannot be the greatest leaders of our age and guide ourselves towards the most important accomplishments. We can collaborate for any worthy cause and make it happen. It is within ourselves to decide not to hold us back.