The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:1,2)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
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 the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)
This is the third of three Catholic Man Channel articles on what it means to be a holy Catholic man. We know that the Lord’s command to be holy cannot be accomplished just through our own human efforts. It requires the power of the cross to put to death the things within us that are in opposition to God. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us to transform us and lead us in the path of holiness. It requires the power of the Sacraments to strengthen us and fill us with the Lord’s grace. It requires on our part a heart open to this work of God. Finally, it requires the power of prayer, for it is through prayer that our hearts are set on the things of God, and his will.
This article consists of a prayer for us to grow in holiness as Catholic men. It is not a one-time prayer. Use it often – in the morning, during the day, or in the evening. If you are in a men’s group, regularly pray this prayer together that each of you would respond to the Lord’s command to be holy, and then watch what happens.
A Prayer to Be a Holy Catholic Man
Heavenly Father, your love and mercy know no bounds. You love us so much that you sent your only Son to die for us, so that we could be transformed into your image and be holy as you are holy. But so often we stumble and fall short of your glory. We hunger for the fleeting things of this world, rather than seeking after the eternal riches of your kingdom. We have forgotten your most important command: to love you with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the essence of holiness.
But you, Lord, are compassionate and forgiving, and the number of times we fall is the number of times you pick us up. “Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us” (Psalm 79:8).
Lord, you are faithful in every way. You have spoken first through the prophets, and then through your Son, Jesus. We listen, yet sometimes fail to respond. We tend to hear you when it’s convenient, but ignore you when it’s not. But you have said that when your word goes out, it does not return void but will accomplish what you desire (Isaiah 55:11). Help us to receive your word in our hearts, and respond in a holy way that is pleasing to you! “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).
Great and mighty God, you created us in your image as the crown of your creation. But we have not always modeled ourselves after you. You have commanded us as Catholic men to be holy, but we have often turned toward idols and made idols of ourselves. We have often misused our minds, our bodies, and the gift of our sexuality. We have often rejected your freedom, and become prisoners of our own selfishness. Like sheep without a shepherd, we have all gone astray. But in your love, you pardon our offences and gently call us back. Help us to hear your voice and follow after you in the way of holiness. “Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise” (Psalm 79:13).
Lord Jesus, we ask you not to deal with us according to our sins, but according to the great measure of your mercy and forgiveness. Lord Jesus, we trust in the power of your cross to put to death the things within us that are in opposition to living a holy life. Lord Jesus, we trust in the power of your Holy Spirit dwelling in us to guide us and help us grow in holiness. Heavenly Father, we trust in your love!
(Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us. Maurice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to use this daily meditation from the July issue of their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. In Leviticus 19:2, we hear these words: “Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” What graces has the Lord given us to make this seemingly impossible command possible (see the opening paragraph)? How are you doing in appropriating these graces?
2. This article includes a prayer to help us grow in holiness as Catholic men. Regarding how to use it, the article tells us: “It is not a one-time prayer. Use it often – in the morning, during the day, or in the evening. If you are in a men’s group, regularly pray this prayer together that each of you would respond to the Lord’s command to be holy, and then watch what happens.” Are you willing to take this advice on how to use the prayer, and then share the results at your next meeting?
3. The prayer ends with these words: “Lord Jesus, we ask you not to deal with us according to our sins, but according to the great measure of your mercy and forgiveness. Lord Jesus, we trust in the power of your cross to put to death the things within us that are in opposition to living a holy life. Lord Jesus, we trust in the power of your Holy Spirit dwelling in us to guide us and help us grow in holiness. Heavenly Father, we trust in your love!” This prayer echo’s the words of James 2:13: “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Why is this so important?
4. If you are in a men’s group, end your meeting by praying together the prayer in the article.