By Dave DiNuzzo Sr.
Dave works for The King’s Men. The mission of TKM: Under Christ the King’s universal call to serve, we as men, pledge to unite and build up other men in the mold of leader, protector, and provider through education, formation, action, and healing.
Dave joined the King’s Men in September 2010. When he joined, TKM had 8 weekly formation and accountability groups in 3 dioceses. Now, there are 28 groups in 17 dioceses and this number will be outdated by the end of the month! There are an upward of 500 men meeting weekly around the country.
TKM fosters a culture of authentic manliness in our overly sexualized world and they do this mainly through formation and accountability, and by encouraging men to be involved regularly with the sacraments. One of their main events is a retreat called Into the Wild, which nearly 1,000 men have participated in since 2009. The men are led into the wild to spend three days and four nights together, where they engage in the sacraments, daily Rosary and Perpetual Adoration. TKM empowers men by combining outdoor activities with the faith. For more on this, visit the retreat website www.IntoTheWildWeekend.com. These retreats challenge men to grow in virtue, as they gather the tools to be a virtuous man, through doing what men were naturally born to do: lead, protect, and provide.
Please pray for TKM, as they are actively engaged in spiritual warfare. In the past 5 years, TKM has been responsible for shutting down 7 sexually oriented businesses. In addition, they were sued by Adult World in Pennsylvania for their protesting. The case was taken to the Federal Court, but thankfully, the judge ruled in favor of TKM.
TKM is also hosting a Healing Retreat in November 2012 for any man who has suffered from various forms of abuse. For more information, please visit their website.
[Ladies, this post may seem as though it is only for men, but keep reading, there’s something in this for you too.]
I feel like I’m constantly either writing or talking about virtue, but nearly every day, I realize that we all need to hear about virtue more and more. Virtue is vital to living a Christ-centered life. What is virtue? In short, virtue means manliness (from the Latin virtus). Maybe that doesn’t make sense… how can Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance (the Cardinal Virtues) mean manliness? They don’t – they mean what they mean. It’s the exact opposite – manliness means possessing the virtues. Does that mean that in order to be manly, a male must be virtuous?
Precisely! Authentic manliness is living virtue! Plain and simple. Alright, so how do I know if I’m virtuous (or manly)? The definition is a good place to start: “Virtue is the habitual and firm disposition to do the good.” So, what do you think? Are you virtuous? Be careful, you can’t partially possess virtue – it’s all or none. Either I have the “habitual and firm disposition” or I don’t. The test?… do I perform the virtue as a habit while also doing it promptly, easily, consistently and with joy? If not, you don’t have that particular virtue. If so, then you do. There’s no sliding scale, no gray area, no “sorta, kinda, sometimes”. It’s all or none.
Let me clarify… it is possible to have glimpses of virtuous behavior and not possess the virtue, so don’t get all hot and bothered thinking that what I’m writing means that you’re not a good guy. I’m simply relaying what St. Thomas Aquinas spent much of his life working on. For more clarity, let’s concentrate on the virtue of courage, otherwise known as fortitude. Men want to be courageous, right? When a man possesses courage, he “ensures firmness in difficulty, has constancy in the pursuit of good, and the resolve to resist temptations.” When a man possesses courage, these characteristics are always present, without wavering. What happens, then, when a male isn’t courageous? What can he do about it?
If you want to grow in virtue, it takes two things: 1. Grace and 2. Practice. The grace part isn’t up to you, but the practice part is. If you want to grow in virtue, practice makes perfect! Ask God for opportunities to practice each virtue. If you ask (sincerely), He’ll give you the opportunity. Try it, you’ll see. I recommend that you think long and hard about which virtue you need/want to work on the most (and soon!) and ask God for it.
So, then does that mean that women can’t be virtuous, or shouldn’t even try to be? No, not at all. And it doesn’t mean that a woman who is virtuous is manly. In the case of women, they should also be striving for virtue. Women grow in virtue the same way men do, through grace and practice, but the natural inclinations of men and women are different. Men and women are complementary (not complimentary, like “hey, that color looks nice on you”, but complement like two things that go well together) and our natures work really, really well together! God intended it that way. We are of equal dignity, but different in nature. Men are all called to lead, protect, and provide. “Women are called to trust, surrender, and to be receptive.
Some women hear this and become squeamish, as if this is some sort of oppressive mandate to hold them down. Not at all! This is intended to allow men to hold you up! When both men and women are living virtuously, our natures are working properly and are the perfect complement! To think that working against nature would somehow be oppressive is pretty ridiculous. Think about it, have you ever heard a woman say, “I would hate it if a man treated me with respect, if he honored and cherished me and if he made me a better woman!” Never! Clearly, this is a little extreme, but it begs the point… why are these natures complementary and why are men called to live the virtues? The answer is simple. To be more Christ-like! All men should all be attempting to emulate Christ Jesus, the perfect model of virtue, the perfect model of masculinity.
There’s plenty more to be said on the topic of virtue, but for a more concise explanation, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1803-1845.
“The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.” – St. Gregory of Nyssa.