Hello again from Split. I’m here in the centre just after morning mass. We are in the process of moving again so please pray for us and for adequate provisions…
So this morning I felt Jesus asking me to write about being a man! What is it really!
There are many images out there for what a ‘real man’ is. They vary from big strong guys that don’t cry to the more modern “metrosexual man”.
Perhaps the best role model to look at is Jesus. After all He was God and being a full whole sin-free man we can learn a few things from Him!
Jesus worked as a carpenter with Joseph for many many years. This physical and masculin work would definitely have made Him blend in with the lads if He were alive today.
On the other hand Jesus lived at home with His mammy. Today’s lads may well have mocked Him for that! Being called a “mammy’s boy” is not a compliment.
Jesus was quite tall from what we gather, masculin beard, I’m sure He looked very masculin and blended in just fine.
On the other hand He never got married or had sexual relationships. What would today’s lads say about that?
Jesus was prayerful. We can imagine Him praying at the Synagogue with all His heart. I wonder how this was viewed!
And yet Jesus goes on to His public ministry. He was well able to lead the 12 fishermen who let’s face it did not grow up in the royal family!
Jesus had the authority and boldness to exorcise demons, touch lepors, scream at the hypocrete pharisees and yet He had the gentleness and meakness to speak about love, to cry at the death of Lazurus, to gentle raise a little girl from the dead.
And so you see, Jesus was a man. He was able to be strong and authoritive when needed and was able to be gentle and loving and kind too!
And so we should look at how we view what it is to be a man because maybe, like me, you didn’t grow up with Jesus as your role model.
Life for little boys can be hard. Little girls are allowed to be sensitive, little boys are often not. ” Boys don’t cry” you often heard and so very often men don’t either.
But crying is a natural release of emotional tension put in place by God. It is the spiritual and emotional version of going to the toilet. After a good cry, you are sure to feel much better.
But if as a little boy you were shamed and teased and taught that only girls cry, you may not have cried for 30 years. Is it any wonder so many men are so unhappy and spend so much time at the pub?
Jesus spoke easily and openly about His feelings. Again, in a lot of cultures a man is considered weak to speak of feelings. Feelings are ofen considered for women. “Real” men are hard and tough and have no feelings?
And so is it any wonder they turn to sex, alcohol and drugs to somehow numb the pain and fill the emotional holes.
Personally I never cried until age 23 nor did I share emotions with anyone. I was a product of the irish culture I grew up in, no different from anyone else really!
Only sissy boys and suspected gays cried or showed any sensitivity. A boy who liked music or danse, poetry or colours quite simply was not a proper boy! The bullying these kids got was horrendous!
And so came the pressure to be ” normal”! How many lads drink more than they want to, go off with girls they don’t even like all to look “normal” in front of their mates?
At 23 I had enough of the rubbish of Ireland. I made the bold decision to emmigrate to France!
Now France was a different story. At the start I was very confused! Were all the guys gay? It was so different from Ireland. The guys were sensitive, carried little bags, talked about cooking and colours and clothes.. they wouldn’t last 5 minutes in Ireland I thought!
Somehow the french culture seemed more refined and I adapted to it like a fish to the sea.
France was a safe place to have feelings and to be a man. After 3 months I spoke french fluently and was finding a new me!
It is well known that Jesus has a particular love from France. We need only look at all the apparitions there to see that it is true, despite her faults, France is priviliged from above.
And so the more I prayed the more I saw Jesus compassion on men who have been pressured by society to be strong when they are weak and to be cold when they are warm!
It took me 2 major nervous breakdowns to break the wall of fear that stopped me crying. I somehow got through the first one without crying, but the second one wiped me out.
Once the wall of fear broke, damns of tears flowed and for the first time in my life I actually felt God’s love and it made me cry and open my heart to the world of feelings and emotions!
The maths kid who hated english and poetry began to transform into a creative guy who has taken up writing! The guy that couldn’t cry became a cry baby!
But my point is that had I grown up in a different culture, would this have happened? Are nervous breakdowns not often a build up of inner tension that has never been released?
Do many men drink themselves silly and even commit suicide simply because nobody has taught them to love, to be vulberable.
And so today, you may wonder where you can go or who you can talk to about your feelings that won’t laugh at you or mock you or tell you to “be a man”. Well I know one man, Jesus, and He is waiting in every church all over the world to heal your heart and wipe your tears!
So today, let’s be men like Jesus, strong when necessary and vulnerable and sensitive when necessary too!
Jesus, help us to love and to be full whole human beings. Remove from us all fear of what others think, of being mocked and rejected and make our only concern what you think!
Teach us to pray, teach us to love, teach us to be like you!