12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

london-businessman-kurt-huttonThere is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it.

This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating decay of the post-modern culture. The long list of examples of cultural decay is obvious to those willing to look: industrialized slaughter of babies in the womb; the self-sterilization of contraceptives; epidemic promiscuity, pornography and sexual perversion; the avoidance of marriage; rampant divorce and adultery; so-called “marriage” of homosexuals; substance addictions; gender confusion; filth and coarseness in media; the loss of a connection to nature and escape into virtual “reality”; environmental exploitation; rampant materialism; the lost of the dignity of work; racial animas; commercialized gluttony; the dysfunctional political and legal system. Post-modern society is sick.

In midst of the societal decay, there are men who seek the true, beautiful and the good and are working to bring the peace and joy of Christ to the world: Committed Catholic Men. These men have completely committed themselves to the Almighty King, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to His Holy Church, realizing that true manhood is Catholic Manhood. This is the truest of loves, to love God with one’s full being and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.  Committed Catholic Men have realized the great blessings that flow from being committed to Christ and His Church.  Committed Catholic Men have made Sainthood their goal and have made their purpose to lead their families and as many as others as possible to Heaven.

Committed Catholic Men realize that behind the cultural decay, lurks Satan. They have come to know that Satan is real, Hell is real, Sin is real and that life is a battle to confront and defeat Satan, the Evil One who is waiting at every turn to devour the unprepared. Committed Catholic Men are not perfect, but take seriously Christ’s call to perfection. It is only in Christ, that Committed Catholic Men find the courage to persevere when they fall into Sin and are continually strengthened for the battle against Satan.

Every Catholic man is called to give himself fully to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. How does one become a Committed Catholic Man? Here are 12 steps to grow in loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ:

  1. Develop a rousing case for why Jesus Christ is your King – If a man is asked to describe why he loves his parents, wife, children or friends, most can quickly rattle off a long list of reasons for his love. But for most men, Jesus Christ is abstract, conceptual or a long-gone historical figure. Large numbers of men don’t know Jesus as real, alive and present. Each Catholic man must to be able to give a rousing argument for why Jesus Christ is the greatest Man and why Jesus is his King. If a man is not convinced about Christ’s greatness to the point of being able to articulate the case, his growth in faith will be stunted and he will be unable to draw others to Christ. Committed Catholic Men can make the case for Christ. 
  2. Commit to be a Saint of Christ the King – There are no nice people or good people in Heaven, only Saints. Most men have not made a commitment to strive for Sainthood. Men are stuck in mediocrity and need to raise the bar higher; there is no higher bar than Sainthood. Christ’s first words of public ministry were to “Repent!” and every man must repent or die. By making a commitment to Sainthood, a man starts with repentance and aspires to greatness; in this he realizes his own spiritual poverty. In the recognition of spiritual poverty, a man comes to both humbly recognize his need for God’s mercy and to cry out for it. Aspiring to Sainthood changes everything.
  3. Go to Reconciliation at least once a month – While the Church teaches each man must go to Reconciliation at least once a year, any man who is truthful with himself and Christ knows he needs the Sacrament of Reconciliation much more frequently.  Keep a guide to Reconciliation with you, recalling regularly the 10 Commandments. Make the commitment to go to Reconciliation on a pre-determined schedule each month and go to Reconciliation immediately when you fall into grave sin (e.g. when you view pornography). Regular and frequent Reconciliation changes men, for supernatural Grace flows to men during Absolution. 
  4. Pray for 15 minutes every day – Only about a third of Catholic men pray daily; some smaller number, a much smaller number, pray for 15 minutes. How can a man know Jesus if he never talks to Him? He can’t. Commit to get to know Christ the King on a personal basis by approaching His Throne and talking with Him every day for 15 minutes. It is in this personal conversation that Christ will make His will known to each man.
  5. Discover the majestic manliness of the Mass – The Mass is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, and yet, the majority of men claim to “be bored by the Mass” and to “not get anything out of the Mass”. This is because they don’t know what is occurring in the Mass: they have little understanding of the manly symbolism of the Mass, a Sacrament that has been devoutly passed down for 2000 years. They don’t realize that during the Mass they are witnesses to the actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If a man doesn’t actively participate in the Mass because of ignorance and boredom, he can’t receive the Graces that flow from the Eucharist. Learn the Mass to such a degree that you can explain it to others with the reverence and devotion that Christ’s Sacrifice deserves.
  6. Participate in Sunday Mass + 1 – It is the minimum obligation of each Catholic man to attend Mass every Sunday; but only about a quarter of men do so on any given week. This is both a catechetical failure and an outrageous insult to Our King. In addition to attending Mass every Sunday, each man should go an additional step to encounter the Eucharist at least one more time during the week either by participating in daily Mass or by kneeling in Adoration for 30 minutes. Most men have much to make up for and precious little time; drawing closer to Christ more regularly will help men make up for lost time. A warning: never approach the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin.
  7. Pray the Rosary regularly and carry the Rosary with you – Only about 40% of Catholic men ever pray the Rosary, and only 1 in 10 carry their Rosary with them. Praying the Rosary draws a man closer to our Holy Mother and to her Son, Jesus Christ; it is the manliest of rituals, prayed by the greatest Saints over centuries, in quiet places and in the din of the battlefield. It is a manly act of loyalty and fidelity. Commit to carry the Rosary as a sign of your loyalty and faith and as a weapon against the daily onslaught of Satan; Satan hates the Rosary and fears it. Have the Rosary handy at all times to pray a decade in times of gratitude and stress, relying on the Holy Mother to bring your prayers to Jesus Christ. The Rosary is part of the uniform of the Committed Catholic Man.
  8. Get to know your Patron Saint and Guardian Angel – We believe in a Communion of Saints. Many men don’t have a personal relationship with a Saint or their Guardian Angel.   Many men don’t feel connected to the Church, in part because they are not connected to the Saints or to the Guardian Angel that Jesus Christ has appointed for each man. Saints and Angels intercede on men’s behalf and stand by to protect and defend men from daily assault of Satan and his demons. Don’t go into daily battle without a Saint and your Guardian Angel guarding your back.
  9. Read Holy Scripture for 15 minutes each day – All of Holy Scripture is about Jesus Christ. When a man reads Holy Scripture, Jesus Christ is with him, not figuratively or conceptually, but in a real and actual way. Jesus Himself came to earth to speak the words of Scripture for all men, across all time, to read and contemplate, drawing strength and wisdom and Grace from His words. Reading Holy Scripture can be done by working through books of the Bible and by reading/praying the Divine Office. A man can’t know Jesus Christ without contemplating His Word.
  10. Be a priest, prophet and king in your home – In the face of a secular culture that attacks valid patrimony, Catholic men need to reassert their rightful roles as priest, prophet and king of their family. We are not talking about being a chauvinistic tyrant, but a true Saint of Christ, with each man serving his wife and children with humble sacrifice, holy example and courageous commitment to lead his family to Heaven. Be a priest by leading your family in prayer. Be a prophet by teaching the truth of Christ and His Church. Be a king by defending your family from the perversions of the culture, correcting them when they fall into error and by leading them the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
  11. Build a brotherhood with other Catholic men in your parish – In Acts 2:43, the Apostles from the earliest days of the Church give the “formula” for Catholic brotherhood: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. For a man to grow in faith he must build brotherhood with faithful Catholic men who can challenge and help him grow in holiness. There is an epidemic of loneliness in modern men,  even in regular mass-attending men. Make the commitment to build brotherhood with other Catholic men, particularly younger men, men who are at grave risk as they enter adolescence and move into adulthood. Gather the men of your parish in large groups and small, to pray, to learn, to teach and to serve the poor. Be a catalyst, be a leader, working with your priest. Christ will hold all men accountable for their personal response to His command to “Go and make disciples.”
  12. Commit to tithing and begin to work toward it – The willingness of a man to give his hard-earned money to the Church is a direct indicator of the strength of his devotion and loyalty to the King Jesus Christ. Sadly, many Catholic men give little to the Church, both in absolute terms and relative to other Christian’s gifts to their churches. Tithing is the giving of 10% of a man’s income to the Church including a parish and other Catholic charities. While you may not be able to give a full 10% due to economic constraints, commit to tithing and begin to work toward it, making progress each year, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Being a Committed Catholic Man is the greatest challenge to which a man can aspire to accept and the commitment can seem daunting. Don’t be deterred; be a Catholic Man! Make the resolution, right here, right now to be a Committed Catholic Man. Print this list off and post it where you will see it every day. As in all things, start with prayer. Pray that Jesus Christ will send the Holy Spirit to help give you the strength needed to become a Committed Catholic Man. Pray with your whole heart to Christ and do your best. Our King has promised to answer those who persist in prayer.

Jesus Christ will never let a man down who is committed to Him.

Matthew James Christoff is a Catholic convert. He is the founder of The New Emangelization Project which is committed to confront the Catholic “man-crisis” and to develop new ardor, methods and expressions for the re-evangelization of Catholic men. Matthew is also a co-founder of CatholicManNight, a parish-based men’s evangelization effort that has drawn thousands of Catholic men into Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, fellowship and lively discussion. Matthew lives in Minnesota with his beautiful bride (and childhood sweetheart); they have 4 adult children, 3 “in-law” children and two grandchildren.

41 Responses to “12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man”

  1. #6 I might have to disagree with the way its phrased. Absolutely, never ever receive the Eucharist in the state of mortal sin. Making that clear is fantastic. However, prayers before the Eucharist, and time spent in adoration will always reap benefits, even if you are in a state of sin, and it may well help motivate you to get to confession more readily, and supply much needed actual grace.

    • I have to disagree, James. The word “approaching” implies that one is going up to the altar to receive Jesus, it does not mean adoring or worshiping. The language in #6 is apropos.

      • One can “approach” the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, not to receive Communion, but to receive a blessing. Therefore the phrasing “do not approach” is incorrect.

  2. #5 “symbolism” of the Mass? Not sure if that’s the best word to use. The Divine Presence is real, not symbolic. Otherwise excellent article and list.

    • The presence is real, true but built within every aspect of the Catholic Mass are traditions that have been passed down and there really is so much symbolism in the mass and how we worship. Many of us don’t realize it because these are traditions we grew up doing and never thought about. Look it up sometime though. I think it gives more meaning to the mass to know why we do certain things and I think that’s all they were trying to say.

  3. Gentlemen, the word “approach” is defined as “to come near to or to bring oneself closer to something within our surroundings.” As much as I would appreciate the opinion that graces may be received by adoration of the Eucharist, there is a real reality that placing oneself within proximity to the Eucharist while in a state of sin soils, degrades the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. Keep in mind that the Eucharist is NOT a “representation” or “portrayal” of Jesus Christ. Rather, the Eucharist IS the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ alive and present in our lives. Thus, the motivation to attend the Sacrament of Confession in which we repent, not just seek forgiveness, should be coming from within ourselves so that we ARE able to approach Jesus Christ through adoration and reception of the Eucharist with a cleansed soul. “Never approach the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin” speaks to all facets of how the practical Catholic gentleman should be living his life of Faith. Know that you so want to be near Jesus in the Eucharist that you will cleanse yourself of your sins first.

    • I’m curious to know what Canon Law you’re using for the basis of your argument?

      Canon 915 is expressly related to barring the reception of Holy Communion in the state of Mortal Sin: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P39.HTM

      Where in Canon Law does it state we cannot adore the Holy Eucharist in the state of grave sin? I would suspect this policy would prohibit one from attending Mass if they were in the State of Grave Sin as The Real Presence is exposed then as well.

      Yikes!

    • The problem is that Catholics often don’t have recourse to confession unless it’s Saturday afternoon between 3:30 and 4:00pm. So they are often forced to “approach” the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. We need to demand that our priests bring back daily confession 15 minutes before EVERY Mass. This is what priests are SUPPOSED to be doing. Is it any wonder Catholics don’t feel the need to confess when our priests don’t feel the need to offer confession? This ain’t rocket science.

      • Steven,

        I completely agree. Confession should be daily, especially if Mass is daily! It is a powerful sacrament that is far too neglected in most parishes. The only thing I would add to your statement is that people are not forced to receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. No one is required to receive the Eucharist at mass, and in previous centuries, Catholics received Communion only a few times a year. If you are in a state of mortal sin, do NOT receive the Eucharist. To do so is a grave sacrilege.

        Sadly, participation in Holy Communion has been turned into a rite of acceptance or welcoming. That is not what it is—it is Christ himself. Yes, it is embarrassing to stay in your seat while everyone else goes forward, but embarrassment is preferable to adding sin to sin by receiving unworthily and incurring “damnation” as St. Paul warns against.

        Thanks for your thoughts!

      • I sent an email to this effect to my pastor several months ago. He replied that he would discuss it with the other priests. I have never heard back, and nothing has changed. I have considered a letter to Pope Francis on the topic.

      • Steven – In my parish we are blessed with priests who hear confessions after each weekday Mass (during a half hour of adoration) and during every Sunday Mass. On Sundays, the priest hearing confession is kept busy for most of Mass. Our parish is a small one, yet it has produced six vocations in the last few years. I believe that adoration + confession + vocations is more than a mere correlation.

    • But even Jesus accepted sinners.
      I’ve been an atheist all my life but now have a calling to become Catholic. This is an excellent guide and one I’ve been looking for. Thanks for posting it and I will observe it all, while preparing to convert via RCIA.

  4. @stevendallas…perfectly said, there just does not seem to be a real interest to extend confession times. I am blessed that I have a spiritual director priest and have an appointment 2 times a month for confession. I do often hear from other men that “if it was available more than one hour a week, I would go”. Sure, ultimately we have to make the effort to go, but we are talking about a large % of men that have little formation. In addition, some of us have exhausting work schedules. Being the father, and only income provider, of 4 boys under the age of 8 (and one on the way) sometimes does not allow for time at that one specific hour. On our weekly tithing checks I always write on the bottom left “That it may go for more confession time”.

    • I would suggest you look inside yourself. If you did and truly let go, surrender your selfishness, you will see the tremendous value of these 12 ways. I will pray for you.

    • I would suggest reading blogs that deal with things that actually interest you, such as grammar. It’s as if I would comment on a blog dealing with the 12 ways of being a better atheist.

  5. With regard to #6 I am not certain what the writers intent here is; however, I believe he simply reminding us of the Church’s teaching that no one is to receive Holy Communion if they are not in a state of grace. To say that one can not be in the presence of the Holy Eucharist while not in a state of grace would be highly problematic; if not for the simple fact that we are required to attend Mass every Sunday and on Solemnities whether or not we are in a state of grace.

    Also, I concur that the Church obligates us to ‘tithe’; but saying that everyone must give 10% is simply not Church law; it might be common in some areas of the Church, but the whole 10% thing is a very Protestant interpretation, or better yet, understanding of what is expected.

  6. This is an excellent article! We need more men like this to stand up and be truly Catholic and proud of it! Honestly, there is nothing more attractive.

  7. Man you words are truly written with passion, mostly misplaced passion. Remove the Catholic rules of salvation. Jesus is the only way! Simply read John 14:6. Put down your rosary of pointless rambling, go to Jesus. Do not repent once a month, do it daily! Jesus forgives! Finally SIN is SIN!!! There are no different levels.
    My friend, your passion for Jesus is obvious. Now more than ever we need more men to submit to God, but my religion or your religion is not going to help this cause, so stop trying to make it about anything more than what it really is…..A relationship with JESUS! Only!

    • Actually there are different levels of sin. That’s why the Church has always made a distinction between mortal and venial sins. As God inspired St. John the apostle to write: “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that is not a deadly sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not deadly. There is sin which is deadly; I do not say one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly. We know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:16-18)

      • No sir. that is not what it says, it says sin the leads to death and sin that does not lead to death, not different a different level of sin…….

        • You seem to be making a distinction without a difference. A venial sin (a “sin which is not deadly”) is clearly a different level of sin than a sin which is mortal (an antiquated term which means “deadly,” hence St. John’s distinction). If you have one sin that leads to death that is a greater sin than one which does not. Which is why speaking of “levels” or “degrees” of sin is common parlance and quite understandable.

          As the Catechism says, “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

          Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.” (CCC 1855)

          Many of the Fathers of the Church make this same distinction in their writings. Just one example is St. Jerome: “”There are venial sins and there are mortal sins. It is one thing to owe ten thousand talents, another to owe but a farthing. We shall have to give an accounting for an idle word no less than for adultery. But to be made to blush and to be tortured are not the same thing; not the same thing to grow red in the face and to be in agony for a long time. . . . If we entreat for lesser sins we are granted pardon, but for greater sins, it is difficult to obtain our request. There is a great difference between one sin and another.” St. Jerome, “Against Jovinian” c. 393 A.D.

          There are also degrees or “levels” within the category of mortal sins. While both murder and theft are mortal sins murder is clearly a worse sin than theft. Christ himself testifies to this in John’s Gospel: “Pilate therefore said to him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the GREATER sin.'” (Jn 19:10-11) It’s obvious that Pilate was guilty of a mortal sin for his part in the crucifixion, but Judas was guilty of a worse offense since he directly betrayed the Savior.

    • Dennis Roitt, Sr. Reply

      Don, Jesus wants more than a relationship. He wants an intimate communion with us. He said that his flesh is real food and his blood is real drink. That without which you have no life in you. I have read the post cards that tell me to accept Jesus as my personal Savior and I am saved. Not very biblical. To receive our Lord in the Eucharist is to truly live John 14:6. Thanks for the reminder.

    • “Put down your rosary of pointless rambling, go to Jesus.”

      How could anyone characterize the rosary this way? The prayers of the rosary are all taken from Scripture itself. The Lord’s Prayer begins each decade, and is the very prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray. If they prayed it we certainly should.

      The Hail Mary’s are made up of the angelic salutation to Mary in the Gospel and the greeting she received from Elizabeth when she went to visit her. The prayer itself is centered on Christ, as is explicitly shown by the phrases: “… the Lord is with thee…” and “… and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

      The Glory Be, which ends each decade, are nothing but a theological gloss on the revelation of God’s Trinitarian nature which occurs throughout the course of the New Testament.

      Additionally, while the rosary is being prayed we meditate on each of the mysteries associated with the various decades. The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, the Finding in the Temple, the Agony in the Garden, and Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit are all presented in the New Testament itself. Likewise, the Assumption and the Crowning of Our Lady are found typologically in Scripture. By meditating upon these events in the lives of Jesus and Mary and coupling this meditation with the prayers mentioned above one cannot help but be drawn into a closer relationship with Christ.

      That is the very antithesis of “pointless rambling.” I strongly urge you to give the rosary a try yourself so you can see how much it improves your relationship with Jesus.

  8. Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: “The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge.” (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men.

  9. Speaking from a female perspective, I applaud the effort of bringing more men to participate in the life of the church. For too long religion has been tagged as a “woman’s” issue, and not worth a guy’s time Church and prayer needs to be a part of everyone’s daily life. Yes, it’s hard and and not always achievable, but gathering the family together for a nightly rosary is a calming end to the day. Husbands and fathers need to initiate this as protectors of their family.

    Thank you CatholicGentleman.net for your consistant support of Catholic men. Your website is needed and I pray folks are reading and thinking about what you post.

  10. A good article, all in all, but I am curious as to your statement in #5 above. You said: “They don’t realize that during the Mass they are witnesses to the actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.”

    The teaching of the Church is that Christ is really present in the Eucharist (hence the term “Real Presence”) but that receiving the Eucharist is a participation in the sacrifice of Calvary in an UN-bloody manner. The body of Christ after the Resurrection is a glorified body. The wounds which he suffered during the crucifixion are present but have been glorified. The body of Christ after the resurrection, including as it is present sacramentally, is not a bloody, gory body. We only witness the “actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross” analogously. We witness the sacrifice of Calvary but as Christ’s triumph over sin and death.

    As it says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”” (CCC 1367)

  11. Why couldn’t someone be a “Saint saint”? We are all called to live a life of holiness, as the Church teaches. That means everyone is called to be a saint (some of who will be recognized as such by the Church and raised to the altars). As Leon Bloy wrote, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.”

  12. “Sanctifying yourself through your prayer, work, and life, to become a real saint is not just for the religious. It is for everyday men and women” See Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei.

  13. It entails a lot of sacrifice to be a Catholic gentleman,’Jesus Christ did sacrifice a lot too he was the son of God did he have extra spirituality ?I stand to be corrected?I pray to one day be a true catholic gentleman by following the footsteps of Christmas the Redeener.

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