Up until very recently, there was a sign over the entry gate to the United States Air Force Academy that read simply, “Bring Me Men.”
It was a quote from a poem entitled “The Coming American” by American poet Samuel Walter Foss.
Bring me men to match my mountains,
Bring me men to match my plains;
Men to chart a starry empire,
Men to make celestial claims.
Bring me men to match my prairies,
Men to match my inland seas;
Men to sail beyond my oceans,
Reaching for the galaxies.
These are men to build a nation,
Join the mountains to the sky;
Men of faith and inspiration,
Bring me men, bring me men, bring me men!
Bring me men to match my forests,
Bring me men to match my shore;
Men to guard the mighty ramparts,
Men to stand at freedom's door.
Bring me men to match my mountains,
Men to match their majesty;
Men to climb beyond their summits,
Searching for their destiny.
I happened to recall these words while I was visiting my old home parish, and noticed the large number of women who had taken their positions around the altar. I thought to myself, “Are there any men in this parish?”
Before I go any further, let me assure you, gentle reader, that this article is not intended to denigrate the wonderful contributions of women in the Church. To be sure, I admire women greatly. It was the women who remained with our Lord at the foot of the Cross even after all of His Apostles, save St. John, had deserted Him. It was through the “yes” of Our Blessed Mother that the grace of salvation flowed, and doctors of the Church like St. Teresa of Avila and St Th&eactue;rèse of Lisieux inspire us still. In fact, it was the women in my life that tended the garden of my own faith until it matured.
That said, I am consistently disappointed by the lack of men who choose to tithe either their time or money to the Church. Look around this Sunday: if your parish is an “average” one, many of the musicians are women, most of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are women, and probably the altar servers and lectors as well.
Men, get off your rear ends.
Christianity is hard work and it takes good, strong men to husband the Bride of Christ and serve our Lord faithfully. We each have our gifts, and men are called by God into leadership:Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that He might present to Himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25-27).
As men, God asks us to husband His Bride and father His children, just as St. Joseph did for our Blessed Mother and the child Jesus. I'm not advocating male dictatorship, nor am I only speaking to men in the married state of life no, we are all called to empty ourselves in service, even as Christ loved the Church. That means getting off our duffs and getting to work.
Who can deny the power of a man's voice proclaiming the Word of God, the strength of a man's hands in service to God and the Church, the beauty of men leading their families and their friends in worship of the One True God? There are men who step up, but in some parishes those men are too few and far between. How can we expect our sons to have faith if we don't provide the example? Where do vocations come from if our sons' view of the altar is Father surrounded only by women? Where is the beautiful balance of masculine and feminine if there are no men to weigh in?
There are plenty of “real men” for us to look up to when trying to find male role models and modern American men should be reminded that faith is for strong men. There was John Paul II who brought down the Communists; Fr. Maximilian Kolbe who surrendered his life in place of a father of three in a Nazi concentration camp; St. Louis IX who led two crusades to free the Holy Land; and of course, St. Joseph the foster-father of our Lord. There are also men's groups where young men can learn from others how to fill the role God has given them. The Knights of Columbus is one such group, but there are others.
Men, being a Christian is more than putting a dollar in the collection plate once a week; we're workers in the vineyard. God has appointed each of us a task to do, and we should seek it out as a way to serve Him and Holy Mother Church. There are literally hundreds of ways, from assisting at Holy Mass, to helping with catechism class, to mowing the lawn from time to time.
Quite simply, we men need to find the heart of the lion that lies within each us, the God-given strength of our masculinity. After all, we belong to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rv 5:5), and as Mr. Tumnus says of the Christ-figure Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “He's not a tame lion, you know.”
Yes, our Lord Jesus makes the same call to men He made 2,000 years ago. The call echoed by Samuel Walter Foss: “Bring me men.”
Mickey Addison is a career military officer, and has been a catechist at the parish level since 2000. He and his wife have been married for 19 years and they have two children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was previously published on the Rosary Army’s website and is used by permission.