By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer
Men were the talk of the town, so to speak, as “The Man Talk” took center stage Feb. 6 at DeSales University, Center Valley.
“God loves us and sees us as his children, not as the mistakes we make,” speaker Matt Fradd told the 140 men attending the evening presentation in the University Center.
Fradd laid out a vision for authentic Catholic masculinity and a plan for how to achieve it during the session co-sponsored by the Diocesan Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization and DeSales University.
Fradd tackled such questions as who does God command you to be? What are the five rules every man must break if he wants to fill his deepest desires and follow God’s commands? Who do you desire to be?
Following the example of some of history’s greatest and wisest Christian men, Fradd showed how to build the strengths and practice the habits that will make a man a true man of God: a man of courage and strength who lives for others, a man who is fully alive.
All men were invited to this powerful talk. Fathers were encouraged to bring their high school age sons.
A native of Australia who now lives in Georgia, Fradd is a Catholic apologist and chastity speaker. He works with the internet-accountability company Covenant Eyes, to help protect families from online pornography and assist individuals in overcoming porn addiction.
“Our sexual culture hates chastity and purity because it can’t attain it,” Fradd said, adding when someone doesn’t like pornography they may be called a prude, old-fashioned and uptight.
Fradd, himself a husband and father, said he converted to Christ at age 17 after attending World Youth Day with St. Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2000.
“Think of a man growing in virtue. Maybe he messes up once in a while, looking at porn,” Fradd said, explaining such a man can go to confession and get back on track.
“But many men say they struggle with porn. There’s no struggle – they chose to do it.”
“It can be discouraging when you see how far you have to go,” Fradd said of the journey to being virtuous.
There is encouragement, Fradd said, in the words of St. Pope John Paul II: “We are not the sum or our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his son Jesus.”
“The Father still looks at us as his son, not the sum of all the bad we have done,” Fradd said.
Fradd outlined the five rules every man must break if he wants to fill his deepest desires and follow God’s commands.
Never Get In a Fight
Never get in a fight. “I think men like movies where they fight for something noble, like his beloved, his country, his children. To sanitize it to say all forms of aggression are bad is not true.”
“Our culture doesn’t seem to respect male friendships. I need men in my life that I respect,” Fradd said. “I see a man who loves his wife and children and sacrifices for them and I say, ‘I want to be like him.’”
“Facebook gives us the illusion we have many ‘friends.’ But you really can’t have more than three to five close friends,” Fradd said.
And while it’s good for men to get together to pray, it’s also important to get together regularly “to have a bloody cigar and talk about what makes us human.”
“Fight for your faith. Understand why we believe what we believe,” Fradd said.
Start Thinking About Sex
Fradd said men don’t think about sex … at least not in God’s way.
“Think about what is sex, what is its essence? God made sex and it’s holy.”
Fradd proposed reading “Love and Responsibility” by Karol Wojtyla – the future St. Pope John Paul II – as a good resource on this topic.
Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
“Don’t give in to peer pressure – that’s true if they are not good peers,” Fradd said. “Cultivate good manly friendships and grow in virtue together.”
Never Risk It All
Never risk it all? On the contrary, “We need to risk everything for Jesus Christ,” Fradd said, noting some men are called to marriage, some to missionary work and some to the priesthood.
We Shouldn’t Ask Directions
Delving into the fifth rule, Fradd said, “We travel through life and think we have it all together. But we have to have humility to ask directions, such as from a good spiritual director.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Noting that the season of Lent is approaching, Fradd spoke about silence.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone,” Fradd said, quoting Blaise Pascal.
“We’re not at peace with ourselves, so we try to escape ourselves,” Fradd said.
He said this Lent he is going to be much stricter with the amount of his Internet use and give up distractions.
“Cultivate that silence,” he advised.