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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Men are hungry


Men are hungry for more.


[The following was written Thursday, November 7, 2013]

            I turned around and I saw almost 30 college-aged guys walk into the Crypt church.  It’s 7:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning.  Having once been in this group, I knew who they were.  This was the CUA brotherhood on campus Esto Vir, Latin for Be a Man, composed of college Catholic guys striving to be better men. 
            Men are hungry.
            Last night I went to a Men’s Night of Reflection in Bethesda that composes of Mass, a hot dinner with beer, chance for confession and prayer, and two talks.  About 50-plus guys showed up to this once a month event in the retreat center Our Lady of Bethesda.  The guys I met last night were from Annapolis, a one hour drive away.  These same men at my table told me that they meet once a week for about an hour to talk about the Gospel and how it applies in their life.  This lay movement is called Regnum Christi.
            Men are hungry.
            On Monday, I met up with three other guys my age in one of their apartments in Crystal City, Virginia.  We meet every other week to talk about the Gospel, the book we’re reading Be a Man by Fr. Larry Richards, and mostly about our personal journeys and battles for virtue in our lives.  We tell each other our goals for the next two weeks to hold each other accountable.  This group is called The Armory of Men.
            Men are hungry.
Men are hungry for fellowship.
            This past Saturday, I went on a hike with 10 Catholic college guys from the University of   We stomped around Great Falls, Virginia laughing and telling jokes, one commenting on which elfish language is more practical to learn from Lord of the Rings.  We all shook our heads wondering if either elfish language is practical to learn.  This was part of a once a month men-get together that I am hired to help run and organize as a Men’s Minister over at the Catholic Student Center at College Park.  We also get together once a month for a Men’s dinner highlighted by an outside speaker we bring in.  This group is called the Men of the CSC.
Maryland.
            Men are hungry.
            Before going on that hike Saturday, I met up with several guys at 7:30 a.m. that morning for coffee and donuts at St. Andrew’s.  Approximately 40 to 50 guys meet every Saturday morning at my parish to enjoy each other’s company and break down the Mass readings of the following Sunday.  It lasts until 9 a.m. where many of the guys will go to Mass that’s offered at the time.  This is the St. Andrew’s Men’s Group.
            Men are hungry.
            The week before that I met up with a group of fathers who meet in Bethesda to pray the rosary together followed by discussion of scripture and accountability on each other’s struggles.  One of the guys just came back from a wilderness retreat for men that happens all over the country.  That night we listened to an audio talk about the importance of “Protecting our Name” and talked about how we can do that in our own lives.  These retreats and this group is called All the King’s Men.
            Men are hungry.
            The weekend before that I missed Men’s group to drive down to Richmond for an annual Catholic Men’s Conference.  Approximately 140+ guys were there to listen to talks, meet, and discuss their faith and struggles in workshops.  In one particular workshop, one man noted how he feels like he’s alone in the parish, looking for other guys to bond with.  Part of the reason I went was to get ideas for a Catholic men’s conference I was asked to help plan for the Archdiocese of Washington.  This conference will take place next March 22, 2014 and is called “Man on a Mission.”
            Men are hungry.
            To see if anyone wanted to go with me, I advertised it on my Facebook group Catholic Brothers.  The group currently consists of 43 guys from all over the country and world.  Guys use it to ask for prayers of any kind---purity, a retreat they’re leading, one of their babies being born among topics and the guys respond.  The group is closed to Catholic men for privacy.
            Men are hungry.
            A couple weeks before that, a priest who’s parish I attend most of my daily Masses saw what I write about, and has reached out to me desiring to create a porn accountability group for men in his parish.  I told him I’d like to do more research, as another man has reached out to me in another parish to create a similar group.  Both groups are now scheduled to begin fully by next January.
            Men are hungry.
            In my e-mail inbox are a couple guys who want to meet one-on-one to talk about a variety of issues: balancing college life, chastity, dating, marriage, and life after college.  I had a couple other one-on-ones last week, one with a guy who appreciates that I will tell him the truth, no matter what or how hard it is to hear.
            Men are hungry.
            Next week I’m meeting up with some UMD Catholic students for a man breakfast at 6:30 a.m.  We’re beginning with some adoration before Jesus followed by breakfast highlighted by a Dutch oven recipe that one of the guys will be using from his grandfather.  This epic morning is appropriately called Manfest. 
            Men are (literally) hungry.

"What about second breakfast?"

            -----

            Last night, I was talking to a guy who said that the more he desires virtue, he recognized that he wants to bring men with him.  The thought totally resonated with me.  Depleted of real male fraternity (besides the occasional pick-up basketball game) for 18 years of my life, I feel I have been the hungriest.  I didn’t know what I was missing out on once I met other guys who cared about swimming against the culture current: saving sex for marriage, getting rid of porn addiction, striving to pray more among many things.  Once I found it, once I saw how much it’s formed me to be a better man and the stronger-yet-still-a-sinner man today, I can’t help but desire to want to bring men along as I journey as well, too.  That’s why I have dedicated my life to this.  That’s how 48Men’s Thoughts on Porn got created and the 100 Guys, 100 Reasons to Save Sexfor Marriage book project is being worked on so guys who don’t have a men in their lives can see that there other guys out there who care about being spiritually stronger.  Men need men.  Iron sharpens iron.  And the way I see it---men are hungry.


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