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Manual for Men

During Lent I read the Manual for Men, a book geared for those who are soldiers for Christ and His Church. These men battle for sanctity in their lives and in the lives of their family. The evil one is attacking families because marriage images Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. It is a battle that men must fight and win.

Part I of the book is the recent Apostolic Exhortation of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Into the Breach. It is a clarion call for Catholic men to engage in the battle for the family. If you want to know more about Bishop Olmsted’s exhortation, you can read our previous blog posts here and here.

Part II contains a treasury of prayers, Church teachings, and writings from the saints to inspire men to seek holiness in their daily lives.

Men, you are called to fight the spiritual battle for the salvation of you family. You are called to be servant-leaders of your homes. As Christ came not to be served but to serve, the husband and father is called to serve his family, sacrificing his own needs and desires for the good of those he leads.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:25-32

Christ is the model of how husbands are to love their wives. Christ gave up His life for the good of the Church; husbands are called to sacrifice their lives for the good of their wives and family. When a man fulfills his God given role as husband and father, he will be irresistible in the eyes of his wife. No force of evil will be able to keep husbands and wives apart when the man fulfills his role as the servant-leader of his family.

You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you… Deuteronomy 5:33

In practical terms, what does it mean to be the spiritual and servant-leader of your home? First, you need to be praying for your wife and children. To be the spiritual leader of your family, you need to attend weekly Mass together, read Scripture together, and pray together. The witness of a father leading a holy life is the biggest predictor of children remaining in the faith as adults.[1]

To be a servant-leader, you need to be available for your wife or children at a moment’s notice. Depending on your situation, this may mean giving up a night out with the guys so that you are available should one of your children need help with their homework or your wife needs help with a sick child. Loving your family in a godly way involves sacrifice, giving up your own needs to satisfy those of your family. When you serve your family as Christ served the church, you will reap far more than you sow.

God bless you as you serve and lead your family in all humility and holiness.

Music and text by Richard Gilliard

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born to all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony

Copyright 1988 G.I.A. Publications
CCLI #1273562 – Used by Permission

[1] The Demographic Characteristics of the Linguistic and Religious Groups in Switzerland, Werner Haug and Phillipe Warner, Federal Statistical Office, Neuchatel. The study appears in Volume 2 of Population Studies No. 31, a book titled The Demographic Characteristics of National Minorities in Certain European States, edited by Werner Haug and others, published by the Council of Europe Directorate General III, Social Cohesion, Strasbourg, January 2000.