This past weekend I got to witness a childhood friend become an Ordained Priest of the Holy Catholic Church. Father Jose Zepeda, who grew up with his family on my grandparents' farm in Oakley, California (the farm that went to my Uncle and now belongs to The Zepeda Family) was ordained as a member of the Confraternity of St Peter. This society was established by Pope JPII in 1988 as an answer to those who were convinced the entire structure of the Church depends upon what language we speak when praying as a way to insure that the beautiful and ancient liturgy of the Roman Rite is protected.
So, we attended an ordination done according to the rubrics of 1962 and it was GORGEOUS. There was a beautiful Boys' Choir from the parish St Stephen the First Martyr in Sacramento, the Bishop of Oakland, the seminarians and priests from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska as well as brother members of the Confraternity...and there we were, in a congregation of over 500 people, praying as a man became a priest.
It was an interesting day for me because it brought into sharp contrast the types of men I know today.
I am blessed, I believe, to have a wide variety of friends. I am also blessed, I believe, in having a working or nodding acquaintance with many men, both friends, ex-friends, outright foes and those I am sure if you poked them with a stick would simply laugh and smile at your ridiculous behavior.
I think, and I may be wrong about this, that I am finally (at the ripe-old-age-of-not-quite-54) getting an idea of what a 'real' man is supposed to be...and ultimately it comes down to a REAL man loves God first and everything and everyone second.
A REAL man knows that love is not a feeling - it is a decision, and when he finds that the hot twenty year old he married is suddenly a plump and tired 40 year old, he remembers that she is not married to the hunk she saw at the end of aisle any more either and he thanks GOD for the woman sharing his life, wrinkles and gray hair and fat thighs and all.
A REAL man will lose his temper and threaten someone, and then realize that what he did is wrong...and he will pick up a telephone and say, "I am so sorry. I overreacted. Please forgive me".
A REAL man will stay up helping his 13 year old write a paper on the History of String in the West Indies without browbeating the kid over and over again because they forgot to tell him about the project when it was first assigned, waiting until the night before it is due to say, "I need some help with this, Dad".
A REAL man knows that if his girlfriend gets an abortion, HE lost a child too.
A REAL man mows the lawn and then lets the kids play 'football' on it....and does not freak out if it is not perfect.
A REAL man knows that pornography hurts women AND men, and is not ashamed to say, "That's wrong and not allowed in my house".
A REAL man knows that he is but a small part of a greater whole and is not ashamed of that - and sees no weakness in being a Believer because he knows that Faith is the way of STRENGTH and not weakness.
A REAL man is a Prayer Warrior and not ashamed to admit it.
Thank GOD for real men...without them, women like me would be on our own.