Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

6/19/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

God is calling men to a higher purpose

Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Fr. Larry Richards by phone, talking about issues related to men and the Church. Hopefully, some of the richness of our conversation is communicated in this article. His new book, "Be a Man!" goes into great detail on what that means as a challenge to men who live in a culture that is working hard to remove their masculinity.

Fr. Larry Richards

Fr. Larry Richards

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/19/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The greatest gift a father can give his family is to be a man; and not just any man, but a man after God's own heart. This is the message that Fr. Larry Richards has been taking to men's conferences and retreats around the country for a very long time.

His new book, "Be a Man!" goes into great detail on what that means as a challenge to men who live in a culture that is working hard to remove their masculinity.

"Men are created to be protectors, supporters and providers," Fr. Richards remarked. "We are, by definition, givers. So, the way men relate to God, then, is different from a woman, they are action oriented. I challenge men to give themselves to a higher cause."

Whether speaking to a men's conference or in parishes, Fr. Richards' call to men involves living a life of sacrifice, being willing to do God's will not their own. He warns them that it's not easy, it's going to cost them something and it's going to hurt; but it's for a higher purpose.

"When I work with boys I always ask them, 'Are you man enough to be a priest? Are you willing. when others tell you to do what you want, are you willing to die to yourself and give yourself to a higher cause?

 "My own personal style is to call men to be the best they can be. Too often in the Catholic Church we hear, 'Well, just be who you are because God loves you just the way you are.' Who really wants that?

"What I occasionally say on being a spiritual coach, it's just like when boys want to be good football players, basketball players, what-have-you. they want to be challenged to be the best not 'just keep doing what you're doing, that's good enough for now. Nobody wants that; you'd fire a coach for saying that."

Fr. Richards sees the higher cause as a major focus for men. Like the song "The Impossible Dream," a man's potential can best be seen when he is "willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause."

The danger he sees is taking this image too far where men see themselves only as workers. To counter-act this action-only stereotype, Fr. Richards turns to St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, who wrote, "This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man's happiness lies."

He tells men that this is a very simple two-step approach that we can all apply each day.

First, a man needs to be dedicated to a daily discipline of prayer out of which his service comes. There can be no more excuses for not praying. To be a man of God requires that we spend our regular time before the Lord.

"Scripture tells us to be still and know that he is God. It's hard for a man to be still. to be silent.

"Sure, it's a struggle," Fr. Richards goes on to say. "In that silence we have to deal with our own demons. Just as Jesus went into the desert and encountered the devil, our quiet times are when we confront our issues.

"There, in our own desert, we recognize that we need the Lord. we become vulnerable, which is the key to our surrender and discover that when we are weak, we are strong. At that point we choose to place God in charge of our life.

"Each day I have one hour of adoration. For part of it I pray, I read Scripture, but then I also just sit in silence. It is during this time of adoration that I get filled up so that I can do something."

Just as Jesus was refreshed after his desert and went out to preach and minister, men are called into the world to serve out of love - his love that is expressed as he gives up his life for God and for others.

A man has to come to the point of realizing that when he surrenders himself totally to God, good will come out of it.

"This is ultimately an act of trust," Fr. Richards explains. "That if I surrender myself totally to You, good will come out of it.

"I like to tell people that if they die to themselves every day and they realize that God is blessing them all the time; that ultimately when they have to give their final sacrifice of their own death, if just another day of dying - it is something I've done every day and God has been faithful every day, I can do it eternally as an act of trust.

"And in the process, the Lord blesses you even more abundantly, the more you give your life."

The type of love Fr. Richards is describing here can also be applied to our lives as husbands. In St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, he shows us the two sides of the marriage covenant - first he says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."

Then, the apostle states, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." A woman's call to entrust her life is connect with a unique call for her husband - he must be willing to lay down his life for her. Again, it is his call to sacrifice.

A man's great love for his wife, however, can also be a hindrance if it is not put in proper relationship with a man's love of God. "One time I gave a talk, Fr. Richards said, "where I stated 'Gentlemen, you need to love God more than you love your wives or your kids.'"

"A guy came up to me and said 'Father, I completely disagree with you!' And I said, 'Well, you're completely wrong. You need to completely love God more than your wife and kids. Then you can love them with God's love not just your love. It transforms it."

We live in a world of gender-confusion where masculine behavior has been anathematized and ridiculed as an exhibition of testosterone. In fact, on the same day we honor fathers, New York City will be hosting the Folsom Street East, where homosexuality, debauchery and perversion to the extreme will be on display. Nothing could stand more contrary to God's higher purpose than this celebration of man's lower nature. Truly, we need to hear a clear message for men.

As one who desires to be a man after God's own heart, I am thankful for strong priests and pastors, like Fr. Larry, who can challenge me and encourage me to live a live with a higher purpose.

Fr. Richards' book, "Be a Man!"(available through Amazon) explores how you can become the man God created you to be. With straightforward and often hard-hitting language, he challenges men to be beloved sons of the Father who are strong, loving, courageous and holy; men who want to change the world by first being changed themselves.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fr. Richards graduated from Gannon University and St. Vincent Seminary

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, and currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie and the Founder/President of The Reason for our Hope Foundation (www.thereasonforourhope.org), which is dedicated to preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. He is also heard nightly on Relevant Radio as well as through his podcasts.

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Christians shouldn't badmouth others, Pope warns Watch

Image of People are

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square this week, Pope Francis says that Christians must set a good example lest they drive people away into atheism. "How many times we've heard in our neighborhoods, 'Oh that person over there always goes ... continue reading


'Structural causes' of poverty must be dismantled, Pope tells activists Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a wide-ranging speech to activists, Pope Francis urged the gathered to join the fight against the "structural causes" of poverty and inequality, calling for a "revolutionary" program drawn from the Gospels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The poor no ... continue reading


God's existence does not contradict the discoveries of science, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

God remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences this week. The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Yesterday's Faith is Not Enough: How We Can Overcome Pride Watch

Image of Monks in prayer

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus continued to do what the Father had sent Him to do, in spite of opposition from apparently religious people. We are invited to follow his example. He will give us the grace to do so, if we ask Him. St Josemaria Escriva used a phrase to refer to the kind of ... continue reading


Christian rapper comes out of the closet --as straight Watch

Image of Jackie Hill-Perry is living testament to the power of God to change those who are willing to accept Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian rapper, Jackie Hill-Perry has come out of the closet --as straight. Hill-Perry says she experienced gender confusion after being sexually abused as a child and sought same-sex relationships until she says God helped her to change for the better. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Every Christian is 'to create unity in the Church,' Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of This creating of unity in the Church, the Pope said, recounting the reading from Saint Paul to the Philippians,

By CNA/EWTN News

In his homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Oct. 24, Pope Francis reflected on the call of Christians to perpetuate unity in the Church by being "living stones" built upon the "cornerstone of Christ." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - This creating of ... continue reading


Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter