Never have there been so many children growing up without fathers. This massive cultural experiment is being played out in real time and with many unintended, and likely catastrophic, consequences.
But for every poison, there is an antidote. Pope Francis highlights a remedy for us. That spiritual medicine is, of course, the mercy of God, which comes to us most fully in the very person of Jesus Christ. As God Squad prepares its 19th annual men’s conference, this year at St Bonaventure Parish in SE Calgary, on March 4 and 5, our theme is Men of God’s Mercy.
Is it over dramatic to say that our image of masculinity is broken? Archbishop Thomas Olmsted, of Phoenix, has produced a video which declares that there is a huge problem in the way men today live out their manhood. The film, A Call To Battle, begins by saying that the average boy today will spend more time watching television before he is six years old than he will spend talking to his father over his entire earthly life.
Whether single or celibate or married, a man sets a fatherly example of protecting life. From the cross, Christ shows us God’s love and mercy. He shows us how to die to ourselves so that others can have life. But, what would that look like in us? Here are some visible ‘marks’ of a Man of God’s Mercy to consider.
Such a man:
- Recognizes that any authority he has over people in his family, workplace or community, comes from God.
- Knows that every member of his family, created in God’s image, has an eternal destiny for which he is at least partly accountable.
- Understands that a man’s purpose is not fulfilled in success but in service.
- Has the humility to put down the stone in his hand when he realizes he is wrong to be angry.
- Whatever he is addicted to (alcohol, porn, work success, etc), he will get on his knees and place his weakness before the God of Mercy.
This year’s speakers include Tom Peterson, founder of CatholicsComeHome.org, who was a 25 year award-winning corporate advertising executive whose life radically changed after a Catholic men’s retreat.
We also have Ben Akers, Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, with a fantastic background in promoting learning of the Catholic faith. Local presenters include Fr Myles Gaffney, Calgary Diocesan Vocations Director and God Squad Chaplain. You will be amazed at what you learn from him about God’s mercy.
Joe Zambone, musician and presenter, will lead our youth talks for those 14 and over.
Deacon Stephen Robinson