Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. The Scriptures at the beginning of the article are quite challenging to us as Catholic men. What was your reaction as you read them?
2. The article asks the question, “Do we believe that we too, as Catholic men, are called to be transformed by the Spirit into holy men?” What is your response to this question?
3. The article goes on to say, “Our challenge now is to learn what that “holy life” is for each of us and how we should live it out.” How would you describe what it means for you to live a “holy life”?
4. What steps can you take in your life that will open you more to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit?
5. If you are in a men’s group, end your meeting by praying together the prayer at end of the article.
[Editor's Note: This is the fourth of a series of articles on the theme, “Being Transformed as Catholic Men.” These articles will describe how we as Catholic men can be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. Click here to read the first article, second article, and third article.]
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (1 Genesis 1:27)
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36)
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and of love and of self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Gospel call to be perfect, merciful, and holy just as our heavenly Father is perfect, merciful, and holy can sound like an impossible call. However, we must realize that this is not something that occurs in an instant, but it is a lifelong call to be transformed into the image of God. It is a transformation that can only occur through the power of the Holy Spirit, the “spirit of power, and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
What is this “spirit of power, and of love and of self-discipline” that Paul says God has given to us? Nothing other than his own Holy Spirit, the same Spirit he poured out on Jesus, on Paul and Timothy, and on all the holy men and women who have loved and served him throughout the ages.
Do we believe that we too, as Catholic men, are called to be transformed by the Spirit into holy men? Do we believe that we belong to God, who is holy, and he wants us to be holy and perfect as he is holy and perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Of all his creatures, of all the glories of his creation, he has set us apart to be holy, blameless, and molded to his divine purposes (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Our challenge now is to learn what that “holy life” is for each of us and how we should live it out. Does this sound daunting? It shouldn’t. After all, if God has called us to holiness, doesn’t it stand to reason that he will also equip us to fulfill our calling? Absolutely. We all can declare with the confidence of St. Paul that God is able to guard what he has entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:12).
So go ahead and ask your heavenly Father to fill you more deeply with his Holy Spirit. Ask him what he wants you to do to be holy as you live out your life each day. Every time you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you. Every time you read the Bible, listen for God’s still, small voice in your heart. Every time you receive Jesus in the Eucharist, ask him to make you holy, as he is holy. In addition, build strong brotherly relationships with other men who will pray for you and support you.
Even when you know you’ve missed the mark, you have the gift of repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation your chance to ask forgiveness and help in the future. And over everything, you have hope, for God knows our hearts. He is able to guard us and make up for whatever we lack.
None of us has to worry about how to be holy and to give testimony to the Lord. God the Father will work in and through us. The Holy Spirit will be the source of our power and the guide on our paths. So let us pursue prayer, repent frequently, turn to the Lord frequently, and hold fast to our confidence in God’s desire to transform us by his Spirit. As we do these things, people will begin to approach us, to ask about our peace and our assurance. Holiness will shine from our lives. Try it and see what happens.
“Father, I want to be transformed by the power of your Spirit. I want to be holy as you are holy. Help me to have the courage to believe that such holiness is possible. I ask for a deeper infilling of your Holy Spirit. May the light of your Son, Jesus, shine through my life so others would be drawn to Him through my witness.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
(Maurice Blumberg is Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. This article is part of NFCM's sponsorship of the Catholic Man channel. Contact NFCM at P.O. Box 86381, Gaithersburg, MD 20886 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a contribution to the NFCM, just click here.)
Reflection Questions on Page 2