Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual aptitudes are God’s way of revealing a Man’s Natural Calling. This calling is pursued through living the Twelve Righteous Virtues and combining these with his Aptitudes to define a Man’s Perfection. How close a Man gets to his Perfection – hitting his mark – indicates how much of a Man he IS. Masculinity, or Manliness, is the strength of will and character a Man exhibits in his daily life as he lives up to his calling to be Perfect.
Perfection provides Moral Clarity for a Man, giving him the ability to stand for Truth within the mores of Society. Moral Clarity is a Man’s only weapon in the constant struggle of daily life within a Society that perpetually bombards a Man’s Masculinity. The level of success a Man has in achieving Perfection – hitting his mark – determines his capacity for understanding and achieving the requirements of being a Husband and a Dad.
A Man is called to a God-given level of these four aptitudes and the Twelve Righteous Virtues that only he can achieve and be culpable for. One man’s maximum aptitude is not another Man’s. This is the essence of Perfection by which each Man is individually measured
Discerning Being a Man
Discernment is the process of perceiving, recognizing and distinguishing, with difficulty, the unique, God-ordained place one has in Infinity and Eternity. Discernment is the discovery of one’s own Perfection – God’s design for one’s life – who God wants us to BE and what God wants us to DO to support that BEING.
[Discernment is not the process of deciding what we want to DO with “our” life or what career we should pursue. What we are supposed to DO is revealed by God to anyone who discerns who he should BE. ManHusbandDad focuses on helping you BE so you can hear what God wants you to DO.]
Discerning being a Man, fortunately, is the least difficult of all discernment for males. To be blunt, if you were born with a standalone XY chromosome pair in the 23rd autosome, God wants you to be a Man.
The next step is discerning what God’s unique definition of Perfect is for us in infinity and eternity: Who and What does He want us to BE as a Man.
My Spiritual Director, Franciscan Father Albert Haase has told me this story –
When I was a young Franciscan, I was ready to throw in the towel because I really did not feel like I was good enough to be a Franciscan. I went to see my Abbot, an old and very wise man, and told him that I had been doing this long enough to know that I wasn’t cut out to be a Friar. I said, “I just don’t feel like Saint Francis. I don’t have the love that Saint Francis had, I don’t act like Saint Francis, pray like Saint Francis, or build the Church like Saint Francis – and I don’t see myself ever being like Saint Francis. I think I better give up my habit.”
The old Abbot looked at me, leaned forward and touched my arm, and said, “Albert… God already has a Saint Francis. He would be tickled pink if he had an Albert.”
That was almost 35 years ago, and God has Albert!Father Albert Haase
God gives us all unique capabilities within the Four Natural Aptitudes; unique not only to here and now, but to infinity and eternity. Nobody else will ever be us, and because of that we have a natural duty and obligation to discover what kind of a Man we are supposed to be – since we won’t be repeated ever again, anywhere else. We are Perfect for this time and place.
By living up to our specific Natural Aptitude levels, we fulfill God’s calling to be a Perfect Man, to “be perfct as our Father in Heaven is perfect.”. Our aptitudes, by definition, differ from every other male that was, is, or ever shall be. So BEING a Man does not at all have anything to do with DOING what other Men can do, but DOING what our BEING makes possible for us to DO.
That’s why a Man can be any male, as long as he is honestly, actively pursuing and attempting to achieve his utmost in the Four Natural Aptitudes: To be Perfect.
Sure, there are some “minimal” things a Man does, which is why we can always tell a Man from a mouse (or boy). A Man always gets the door for a lady, for instance. But those are techniques that come out from, or are symptomatic of, a Man fulfilling to perfection own Natural Calling.
Natural Calling versus Cultural Calling
Natural Calling of a Man
Seeking what it means to be a Man is every boy’s natural proclivity, and every Dad’s responsibility to awaken in his boy’s spirit an openness and a heeding of that call from God. God calls all males to be Men within their Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual aptitude. These four Natural Callings, pursued to Perfection, forge a Man’s Moral Clarity.
A Man’s calling is presented to him by God with God’s full understanding of that Man’s perfect Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual aptitudes even though the Man has comparatively little understanding himself. God knows more than the Man does about the Man, and always calls him to be more than the Man knows he can be. God’s calling, if it is achieved perfectly, is perfect Moral Clarity. The degree to which we purposefuly fall short of that mark is Sin.
Look at it this way: God ALWAYS knows what the right thing to be and dois. The closer a Man is to ALWAYS knowing what to be and do is the degree to which he is perfect and therefore his Moral Clarity is perfect.
A Man’s perfection – his Natural Calling – is revealed through open discernment, which in turn creates Moral Clarity, through which more specific vocations (Marriage, Celibacy, etc.), professions, and all other decisions can be made with relative simplicity.
These more specific vocations and professions are manifested externally, and in this era are defended by the Man against what Culture has discerned for him – a Cultural Calling. In times past, these vocations were more manifestly supported by Culture and a Man’s Moral Clarity was in concert with that Culture – not in conflict as it is today.
Cultural Calling of a man
God does not call a boy to be a Man Culturally, though Culture may coincide with a calling if that culture is itself in line with Nature and Nature’s Laws.* A Cultural calling is how a boy or man thinks society or the needs or the world are calling him. These are lifestyles outside of the prescribed design of God’s Plan for Mankind and Man’s role in fulfilling his part in that Plan. These are not perfect, so they are, by definition, missing the mark. They are sinful.
Cultural callings can be self-centered and/or counter to Natural law. A drug-, crime-, or lascivious-oriented lifestyle that a male claims Society forced him into are common “Cultural Callings.” These can easily be identified by whom the lifestyle or profession serves: A cultural calling always serves the individual self and ego, and is revealed through such things as “I always wanted to be…” or “It was my best opportunity…” or “I didn’t have a choice…” or “The man is bringing me down…” A cultural calling always has a foundation in claiming forces beyond one’s control or not taking responsibility for one’s actions, or not knowing there were other options or perhaps even feeling coerced into a specific calling through some sort of peer, media, or other culturally-oriented pressure.
Cultural callings can lead to fringe, unnatural embodiments or misapplied purposes to a specific natural suffering.
For instance, for many people homosexuality is not a choice. It is a cross one must bear, much like a person with diabetes does not choose to be diabetic but bears that cross. The misapplied purpose is the sexual act of a homosexual individual, since that act is contrary to natural law; that act is a choice to deal with one’s cross in a misapplied manner, choosing to DO instead of further discerning what that cross is calling one to BE. A diabetic would similarly be disregarding natural law by consuming copious amounts of sugar, because they are DOING a contrary, misapplied purpose instead of seeking to further understand what that cross is calling them to BE. The activity is oh so sweet and temporally satisfying, but fleeting while the long-term natural consequences are devastating.
A male cannot discern a Vocation that is contrary to Natural Law and still be a Man.
Four Natural Aptitudes
Insofar as a male is capable of understanding what it means to be a Man, he is required by the natural call to be Perfect in his thoughts. A Man must, as much as he has the natural capacity for fulfilling, be learned and knowledgeable. A Man is not defined by a specific, across-the-board standard of mental aptitude, but by his living up to HIS mental aptitude; his Perfection, hitting his mark. A Man must be as mentally awake as he is called to be.
A male’s Emotional Aptitude concerns his maturity of heart and control of the actions his emotions can trigger. Grasping his emotional Perfection is every male’s responsibility. This capacity for perfection in Emotional Aptitude can be hindered by trauma in his childhood before the age of reason and afterward by insufficient adaptation to and perspective on that trauma. A Man is not defined by a specific, across-the-board standard of emotional aptitude, but by his living up to HIS emotional Aptitude; his Perfection, hitting his mark. A Man must be as emotionally stable as he is called to be.
A male is naturally called to know his status in the Universe and to understand his specific, unduplicated role and uniqueness within the Universe in both space and time (infinity and eternity). He is called not to be the center of the Universe, but to seek the Creator of that Universe so as to best understand himself and his reason for being and what he is to do to support that being. As much as he has the capacity for seeking undeniable Truth, a man must be Perfect in accepting, embracing, and sharing that Truth. Spiritual Aptitude is the fertile ground from which Virtue grows, and A Man must be as Virtuous as he is called to be.
I accept and embrace this understanding of what it means to be a Man
Once a boy has discerned the calling to be a Man, the focused vocational discernment process begins. Though every boy is called to be a Man, not every Man is called to be a Husband…
Aside from being called to be a Husband, a Man is called by God to be only one of two other vocations: Single or Consecrated. These three vocations are Perfect callings for the Perfect Man, who can only discern them if he is hitting the mark as a Man (BEING Perfect) much more than he is missing the mark (DOING Sin).
For someone who has discerned a single life, even though they have not formally taken the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they make a personal commitment to put their freedom at the service of others in their daily life directly, without the institutional association that is present in Marriage or the Priesthood. And in doing so, they strive to follow Christ in their daily lives as a Perfect Man.
Any Man who has discerned the Single vocation should continue their discernment for furthering their vocation through the qualified guidance of a spiritual director, minister, and other Men who faithfully live the Single vocation.
The Single Life is supported at ManHusbandDad as much as a Man continues to pursue his utmost calling as a Man. There are many resources online to pursue in-depth the particular Single vocation, and we recommend you start here as a companion to your ongoing growth as a Man here at ManHusbandDad.
A Man may discern a Consecrated vocation if God is calling him to that – the consecrated life in dedicated service to God through ministerial or sacramental service, such as the priesthood or religious life. The Consecrated life is honored and revered here at ManHusbandDad and we support it with every ounce of our being. We are in no way a resource for such discernment beyond continuing to help you grow as a Man if you hear a calling to such sacred duty. We suggest you start here and know that you have our full support and thanks!
Discerning the vocation of Husband is not a given…but it is a prerequisite to being a Dad, and being a Dad is a natural consequence of being a Husband…
If you accept and embrace this understanding of what it means to be a Man, then let’s talk about HOW to BE a Man – how to be who we are supposed to be by exploring the Twelve Righteous Virtues.
You may not like the answers to the questions below, but they seem to be the sticking points when people argue about our definition of Man…
(Before we go too far, you may want to read this brief series of articles about Sexualisms. It will open in another tab/window so you can remember your place here.)
Can I be homosexual and still be a Man?
You asked “be,” not “do.”
Splitting hairs there, aren't you?
Sexual activity is separate from being a Man. It is something for a Husband and a Wife, nobody else. So any male who is not a Husband who has sex is not behaving in a manner consistent with their calling as a Man. Ergo, to have sex outside of Marriage (which is divinely defined as between one Man and one Woman no matter how much one attempts to redefine the civil definition) automatically means one is not a Man. They are certainly not being perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect!
Sexual activity is doing the being without being. To be a Man requires doing and not doing certain things, which are manifestations of an individual’s Four Natural Aptitudes – his being – and, frankly, though not every Man can open a lady’s door, every Man IS capable of keeping his pants zipped – whether he is homosexual or heterosexual. Sexual activity is simply a symptom of who a Man is, or who a man isn’t. If one is a Man, he has sex only with his Wife.
If someone is homosexual (the being) then they have a cross to bear, which is to remain celibate. Just because they have urges does not mean that they should act upon those urges – part of the definition of every Man is how he responds to temptations. Which is why a teenager having sex is not a man, either, no matter how much he wants to play at being one.
Want to be a Man? Keep your pants zipped until you are a Husband. It’s not that easy, but it is that simple.
You seem to use God and Nature interchangeably...
What happens if a boy - or any male - chooses not to be a Man?
If a boy specifically chooses to not be a Man, by ignoring the natural tugs at his heart and conscience to fulfill the purpose of being a Man, he chooses to be a Slave. He chooses to be a Slave to the cultural tides that change on a whim, and becomes a Slave to his own passions and animal instincts.
This slavery is manifested in an amoral lifestyle and is espoused by a moral relativist doctrine.
The Moral Relativist is not a Man, and therefore cannot be a Husband or Dad. He is simply a Slave, the male gender of the human animal.
What about culpability?
As an example, consider the man who has a speech impediment and therefore is physically hindered by participating fully in the Mass. He struggles to say “Amen” and may be several seconds out of sync with the rest of the congregation. But he makes the effort and pushes to his physical limit. Relative to the able-voiced man next to him who chooses not to say “Amen” because he believes his voice is too distinctive and will be heard by others and he does not want to be noticed (the sin of Pride), the first man is more a Man in this instance than the second, because he has risen to his perfect level of physical aptitude – his physical calling – than the second man.
What if I am a female trapped in a male's body?
If you find yourself in that situation, you need to understand how you got there. If you HONESTLY discern that you have always been this way and were born this way, then you still have the culpability of being as much of a Man as you are capable of being based on your Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual aptitudes.
You don’t get to just give up and say, “Well, I’m a woman in a man’s body so I am going to act like a woman.” DOING that doesn’t magically, or scientifically, or cosmetically, turn you into BEING a woman.
In fact, it is insulting on many levels to yourself, women, and God. God does not make mistakes. The mistake is in our discernment of his creation – our Being.
You were born a male for a reason. Seek out why, and be the Man you are supposed to be.
(If you missed it above… Before we go too far, you may want to read this brief series of articles about Sexualisms. It will open in another tab/window so you can remember your place here.)