Every man is called to be a father figure to someone else in their life, whether that be through the literal fathering of another human life, or as a mentor, role model, or spiritual director. Ergo, we could all stand to improve our skills as father figures. Cale spent a segment of The Cale Clarke Show talking about the seven marks of manhood and how we can pursue them in our own lives.
1. Your identity is who God says you are. One of the first questions you will get when you meet someone new is, “What do you do?” What that person is really asking, to a degree, is, “Who are you? What are you like? What do you like?” Many people, if they were asked to describe themselves, would include in their answer their profession. It’s a somewhat defining characteristic. Many will include their parenthood, their marital status, or their geographical location.
These are attempts to define ourselves for the sake of familiarity, informing others, and exposing a part of yourself. But at our core, we are only who God says we are. We won’t find ourselves through introspection or “self-care”. We won’t find ourselves through others’ opinions. “God gets the first word,” said Cale. “And He also gets the last word.”
2. We find out who we are by finding out who God is. If God is the one who defines us, we must first discover who God is. And we have so many ways to access Him! We have the sacraments, which grant us His grace and life within us. We have prayer, which is our way of speaking to God. And we have scripture, Our Lord’s life, documented for our express use of knowing Him.
3. God’s role directly correlates to our role. Jesus was Prophet, Priest, and King. God is our father and shepherd. In the roles that He plays, we should see the way in which we should fulfill our identity. If we are called to father children in this life, we should bear witness to the way God cares for us by caring and raising our children in the same way. If a man is called to the priesthood, he administers to the Church’s flock by bringing the sacraments to us in the place of Jesus.
4. Living out our identity requires constant work. Even after we have been baptized, confirmed, grown up, and found our vocation, our work isn’t done. Our identity will constantly be attacked and suppressed by the devil and sin. All you have to do is look around for proof. There’s so much rhetoric these days about “discovering yourself” and “finding your identity” and, by and large, people are being led directly away from who God made them to be.
The devil will rarely use overtly evil instruments to bring us down. He will often utilize seemingly good things to turn us against our creator through perversion and distortion. The ideas of self-identity, self-care, and the pursuit of happiness have become so twisted and used by evil entities that the very meanings of those words have almost been lost.
5. Our identity has to be in the grace of Christ. That first instance of forgiveness from God is an undeserved, unwarranted gift. God is giving us more than a fair shot to realize our potential to serve Him. We can go the route of personal, worldly desires, but that is where our road will end.
St. Paul talked about this struggle to realize our potential in Christ as if we are looking “through a glass darkly”. It’s like looking through opaque or dirty glass. We can’t exactly see through to the other side, but if we were to aim the glass at a light, we would at least be able to see the light shining through. If we can get to that point in our spiritual lives, we’re on our way to heaven.
6. Your true identity in Christ connects you to God’s other children. “Nobody can be a lone ranger Catholic,” said Cale. “God has called us to community in the Church. It’s not an individualistic pursuit. We need each other, absolutely.”
As men, we should be strong, stoic in some regards, and prepared to protect others less capable of doing so. A man should stand up for what he believes in, even when it is not easy. That is a man’s role, in the family and in society. However, we cannot be afraid to ask for help, from God and from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
7. Self-control is a necessity. “So many of the problems in the world that are there for men are because of a lack of self-control.” Self-control is all but extinct for most of the population. Lack of discipline led to a lack of respect, which led to disobedience, which led to rebelliousness, which led to indulgence, which led to a lack of self-control.
Learn to say no to the bad things. Even learn to say no to the good things for the sake of the greater things. Say no to a life focused on introspection and internalization. Say no to a lack of self-restraint. Say no to yourself. Mortification and sacrifice will pay for themselves tenfold by helping you grow in virtue.
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT