“We’re meant to kill sin in our lives, not to ‘manage’ sin.” Father Mark Bernhard challenged the men of St. Mary to rise above temptation and prioritize Christ during a talk on Saturday, May 15th.
The talk, entitled “Turbulent Times Require Anchored Men,” was hosted by St. Mary Men’s Ministry and focused on discerning one’s interior life and “anchoring” it to Christ.
“The world today pulls us from silence and the interior life,” explained Father Bernhard. “To become anchored men in Christ, we must receive the Eucharist with faith, practice the virtues of magnanimity and meekness, avoid sin, and pray.”
He emphasized the need for men to reject lesser things in life to pursue sanctity, using the example of putting family above work. In addition, he reassured men that it’s not only acceptable but necessary to acknowledge their feelings.
“It’s not feminine to acknowledge your thoughts, feelings, and desires,” said Father Bernhard. “Pay attention to the order and direction of spirits on a daily basis. Is the origin of your thought, feeling, or desire a good or bad spirit?”
The talk was interactive. To illustrate his points and spur participation, Father Bernhard displayed Michelangelo’s painting, “Torment of Saint Anthony.” The painting depicts St. Anthony confidently and almost effortlessly resisting several demons trying to pull him down.
“This painting represents the interior life of us all,” said Father Bernhard. “To be anchored men during turbulent times requires us to be anchored in the interior life to the person of Jesus Christ.” Part of this involves “not being OK with merely managing our sins,” but striving to completely kill them.
Around 75 men of all ages were in attendance, and several participated in the discussions. Many took away valuable lessons.
“We as Catholic men need to be strong role models and strive to be magnanimous in our daily lives,” said Ted Kopczynski. “We are constantly tempted by the evil one and need to stay vigilant and combat it through silent prayer and reflection.”
Bob Prskalo had similar takeaways. “Sin will be well disguised as comforting and the allure of what we need, when in reality it is sin that will ultimately destroy us,” he said. “Catholic Men need to get off the sidelines, become engaged to help and support each other, and become the pillars of strength, with being anchored in these trying times; lukewarm is simply not enough, and the Catholic Church needs strong men as a shining example.”
St. Mary Men’s Ministry holds monthly Saturday meetings that begin with Mass and continue with breakfast, faith-filled discussions, and a guest speaker. For more information, contact smpmensministry@gmail.