Tag Archives: Fr. Robert McTeigue

Advent and real, Godly men

Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, writes that the world suffers for lack of Godly men . . .

Fr. Robert McTeigue

Fr. Robert McTeigue

What do you want for Christmas? No doubt you’ve been asked that question many times in recent weeks, and you have surely asked that question of your family and other loved ones.

I want to pose another question: “What do you want for Advent?” To some, that question is scarcely intelligible. Let me ask it this way: “What would you like to receive from the Lord, and what would you like to offer Him?”

To answer those questions, let’s turn to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the pastor who heroically resisted the Nazis. “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes — and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside — is not a bad picture of Advent.”

Waiting for the door of freedom to be opened, waiting to be liberated from our captivity, from our limitations — those are very fine images of Advent. We’re like Lazarus in the tomb, waiting to be called forth. But once the prison door is opened, what shall we do with our undeserved second chance? I want to relate those Bonhoeffer-inspired questions to my earlier query: “What do you want for Advent?” To answer that, I would like to address primarily men.

My brothers, what I want for Advent is to be freed to unite with a strong company of Godly men, men who know that they are called to be husbands, fathers, priests and heroes. I want to walk out of the tomb into the light with other Godly men who are ready and eager to use their God-given manly freedom and strength to stand up for the honor of faith, family and community.

Our nation, our Church, our culture, and our communities suffer from the lack of such Godly men. Why do we lack such men? To answer that question, consider these words from French Cardinal Louis Pie (1815-1880) and his Christmas homily of 1871:

“Is not ours an age of mis-lived lives, of un-manned men? Why? Because Jesus Christ has disappeared. Wherever the people are true Christians, there are men to be found in large numbers, but everywhere and always, if Christianity wilts, the men wilt. Look closely: They are no longer men but shadows of men. Thus what do you hear on all sides today? The world is dwindling away for lack of men; the nations are perishing for scarcity of men, for the rareness of men. I do believe there are no men where there is no character; there is no character where there are no principles, doctrines, stands taken; there are no stands taken, no doctrines, no principles, where there is no religious faith and consequently no religion of society. Do what you will; only from God you will get men.”

We need real, Godly men. What we see around us is a generation of not men but merely “boys who shave” — males who are unwilling to shoulder the cross of being a true man, a man who sacrifices, leads and provides. We suffer from a lack of men willing to take responsibility for the children they beget, for the women who love them, or for the civil liberties they enjoy. They’re not the entire problem, but these Peter Pans who live in their parents’ basements, spending their days smoking dope, watching porn, and demanding a free ride are surely not now ready to be part of the solution.

What is the solution? First, we must turn to the Lord and cry out, we must clamor for our liberation, we must ask for the cells and tombs of our lives to be opened. Second, we must obey the call to emerge from the darkness and live as free men, men made in the image and likeness of God — men redeemed at a terrible cost and consecrated for a greater glory. Finally, all of us — men and women, young and old — must prepare our boys to be Godly men. We can begin to do so by honoring the heroic fathers of our past and present; we can do so by proclaiming Jesus who is true God and true man; we can do so by insisting again and again that God is a great and loving Father.

What should we want for Advent? We should turn to the Lord and ask Him to liberate males and call them to be Godly men who can provide for, protect, and serve all who are entrusted to their care. And when we see the blessings that flow from Godly men who have become true husbands, fathers, priests and heroes, then we can echo the words of the psalmist: “The plan of the Lord stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations.”

FR. ROBERT MCTEIGUE, SJ, is a professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University.

On the blood of innocents

Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, gives a profound reflection on the state of the nation . . .

Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ

Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ

From time to time, I have taught a philosophy course called “God and the Problem of Evil.” I begin the course with a quote from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov:

“Imagine that you yourself are building an edifice of human destiny that has the ultimate aim of making people happy and giving them finally peace and rest, but that to achieve this, you are faced inevitably and inescapably with torturing just one tiny baby, say that small fellow who was just beating his fists on his chest, so that you would be building your edifice on his unrequited tears — would you agree to be its architect under those conditions? Tell me, and don’t lie!”

I tell my students that whatever we say about the problem of evil, we must be answerable to Dostoyevsky and that tearful child. Otherwise, our words are empty.

Now imagine this. Imagine a nation hearing the words of Dostoyevsky and saying, “Yes! Let us build such a world! Let us build an edifice of human destiny that will make us happy, free, prosperous, unburdened and joyful. And let us not be satisfied with building it on the unrequited tears of one innocent child. No, let us build our great earthly city on the blood of innocent children — the blood of countless innocent children, as many children as it takes to secure our freedom and our joy. Without apology, without shame, without regret, let us become drunk on the blood of our young! So let it be, by the power of choice. Our will be done!”

Imagine living in such a nation. What would the sane people do? More specifically, what would true followers of Christ do in such a nation? I think, if Christians were to live in such an imaginary nation, they might recall the words of St. Paul: “For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:18).

Such hypothetical Christians, in such an imaginary nation, committing to memory those words of St. Paul, would also do well to recall the stinging words of Christ: “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light” (Lk 16:8). In other words, Christians in such an imaginary nation would have to admit that their country could have come to such a sorry state only if there had been a previous catastrophic failure in teaching, wisdom and holiness for at least a generation. If all who called themselves Christian were true followers of Christ, if Christ had been made truly known and loved in their land, then such an imaginary nation would never have come to such a sorry state. And Christians would have to admit, with Jesus, that the children of this world have been much more effective, much more bold, much more clever than the children of light.

If there were such a nation gone mad, what would the Christians there have to do? They would have to point to the Eucharistic altar, and declare to God, themselves and the world: “The resistance starts here! The resistance starts now!” Only a sanctified people who are ready to die and rise with Christ for the life of the world could overcome such dark madness. Such Christians would leave the altar, and go out into the world, committed to prayer, fasting and penance. Then they would work really hard to get really smart really fast, because they would know that any delay, any loss of nerve, any hesitation, means that more innocent blood would be shed. They would know that they have to become more effective, more daring, more clever than the children of this world. They would know that unless they become saints, scholars, poets, warriors and heroes, lives will be lost, souls will be lost, and worst of all, God will not be glorified.

But, this is all just a story, isn’t it? There could never be such an imaginary nation, could there? So there would never really be a need for such sanctified Christians, right? Besides who has the energy to think about such unpleasant things? Still, just in case … just in case there could ever be such an imaginary nation in fact, just in case there might be a need for a Church of the faithful remnant who can become leaven in the bread, we might wish to follow the instructions of St. Ignatius Loyola. Following his instructions at the start of his Spiritual Exercises, today, place yourself before the crucified Jesus and ask yourself these questions: “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What shall I do for Christ?”

Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, is the associate dean of the Men’s Discernment Program and an adjunct professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University. An abridged version of this article appeared in the September issue of Legatus Magazine.