Real Men can Love God Deeply.
Devotional THought of the Day:
15 After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.“ Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.” 16 A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.“ Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 A third time Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter became sad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and so he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:15-17 (TEV)
9 Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? 10 Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish? 11 As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11 (TEV)
499 We men don’t know how to show Jesus the gentle refinements of love that some poor, rough fellows—Christians all the same—show daily to some pitiful little creature (their wife, their child, their friend) who is as poor as they are. This truth should serve as a salutary shock to make us react. (1)
I keep hearing that men are afraid of commitment, or they shy away from deep abiding relationships, and that is the reason why they struggle to church. There are even a number of books out there about why men struggle at church, and how to make the church “men friendly”. I even have a couple of friends who mock me (when they aren’t to criticizing me) when I talk about having a relationship with God, and that it has to be a deep, intimate relationship. “Those words will scare off men,” they protest.
But they realize that need is real, that we need that relationship with God. We need to know His love, the perfect love of a Father for His children, the love of Jesus, the perfect love of a husband, for us His bride.
A few days ago, a pro basketball player weeped because a young girl he knew passed away because of cancer. He broke down in a press conference after a game. Isn’t that a level of deep love, we often don’t hear guys expressing? What about the deep love that is show at funerals, or when a friend is hospitalized, or when we see someone hungry and in need? If you are old enough to remember Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo, how many guys didn’t watch the movie Brian’s song every time it came on?
Men are capable of deep emotions, of being dedicated and devoted to people. We may be silent about them, we may be afraid of them, we may not want to admit that we have them. But we are capable of having them, and moe than that we need them.
Especially a relationship with God. For that relationship makes everything else possible. To know His mercy, helps us to be merciful. To know His forgiveness, helps us forgive those who betray us, to know His holiness and presence, helps us to be holy….and to know the height and depth, the breadth and width of His love for us, helps us to have the courage and the love to read out and love others that way.
Real men can love, because in Christ, the fears are set aside because of the need of people to be loved.
We grasp that the little ways we love reflect that love, even as Jesus comments upon dad’s knowing what to give their kids. Even as St Josemaria noted that among the “simple” people of his day.
But loving God means taking care of the people he entrusts to us, finding ways to love them To care for them deeply, sacrificially. It means letting our hearts break when His does, it means bearing our cross to love them, even to the point of confessing the depth of that love to those around us. Peter, had to hear this three times, he had to get past the emotional tug of admitting his love for God, of admitting the intimate bond between them.
May we all find the strength and courage to love the God who cam to us, to show us love, and enkindle it in our hearts.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1907-1910). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
The Secret to Loving and Serving Others
Devotional thought for the day:
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’, he said, ‘what I have done to you? 13 You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. 14 If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.” John 13:12-15 (NJB) (
Consider listening to this song –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I47c29GvFY while reading this blog
The church has been designed to be a community, a place where people have learned to lay aside their wants and desires, and serve others, to nurture others, to imitate Christ’s life, and the blunt clear lessons like the one in John 13 – where he washes the cracked, dry, smelling feet of men who hadn’t learned yet to love, to be in a relationship – not just with their Lord, but with each other. THe lesson is harsh, and convicting, how often are we willing to get down on our knees, and deal with the muck those we are called to love have walked through?
It cannot be done, not in our own strength at least. Their burdens are too heavy, their pains too deep, the crap in their lives can, indeed cause us to turn away, spiritually and physically nauseated, disgusted. Or we wonder why, as Michael Card sings, we have to do this day after day, after day…..
So where do we find the strength to obey? Where do we find the power to live lives in this holy manner?
A catholic priest once wrote:
“When you start out each day to work by Christ’s side and to look after all those souls who seek him, remember that there is only one way of doing it: we must turn to the Lord. Only in prayer, and through prayer, do we learn to serve others!” (1)
That’s the answer – through prayer – through intimate conversation, through communion/fellowship – through letting Christ wash our feet,through letting him, remove our burdens, through letting Him still – clean up those parts of our lives that have gotten dry, broken, blistered, smelly….. through letting Him be God. It is the only way, as St. Josemarie told us, to find the strength to serve, to be there for people, to bring healing and love to their lives. We don’t have the strength
We have to let Jesus do that to us….cleanse us, heal us…
and then, the Holy Spirit will work through us to do the same for others.
And oh the joy, oh the inexpressible joy that comes from seeing others cleansed, and counted holy and righteous.
It sends you right back in prayer, to the throne of God, to praise and glorify Him!
Lord, show us Your mercy… even as You work through us to bring that mercy to those we serve around us!
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 474-476). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.