Spiritual Brotherhood and Christian Joy

brotherhood

A good wedding is always fun, and it brings out the happiness in everyone. Holy Matrimony is one of the best reasons to party, and it’s usually what Catholics are best at doing. The Holy Mass, a great feast, and all out dance and celebration are appropriate for such an occasion. Not because weddings are an end, but because as a sacrament, it’s only the beginning of something more.

Recently, one of my closest friends got married, and it provided me plenty of opportunity to spend time with several great men that were also in the wedding party. It was a much-needed reminder in two areas of my faith: a need for Christian Joy and spiritual brotherhood.

Christian Joy

One of the saddest things that happens is when our faith becomes consumed by a rigidity that traps us in a glass box. We Roman Catholics are really into the rules. In fact, we thrive best under laws, rubrics, and all other guidelines, but we have to be careful not to forget their purpose.

Like in sports, the rules are to help keep the game moving in the right direction. Fixation on the rules only slows it down and can take the very life out of Christianity. Once we know the rules in our hearts, we can play the game and know that staying within the rules is the key to fun and success.

A Christian life isn’t meant to be dry and boring, and it certainly isn’t a life refrained from living for fear of failure or contamination. Though we sometimes start to live as if that is the only way to stay Christian in our contemporary world when we give into fear.

Falling in love with Jesus reveals the greatest source of joy, and even when things aren’t happy, it remains as a reminder of the reality beyond this world. This is easier to preach than practice, but it is an important part of the Christian life. Without the joy of Christ, we become a very sad and pitiable people who endure trial and suffering for no clear reason.

Even when the valleys aren’t as happy, the same Joy of Christ from the weddings should stay in our hearts. Genuine Christian joy will be our strongest asset in preaching the Gospel through our words and through our life.

Men Need Brotherhood

Men need the encouragement of other men. This is something I talk about often, but it can be misunderstood by the cultural norms of our society. Masculine encouragement isn’t just a handshake and a brief comment or watching sports together. Spiritual brotherhood is about walking the journey together and offering the needed support and prayer.

Being around so many great men that were was trying their best to live faithful lives in their own unique ways was inspiring. It was a blessing to have a group of men together that could laugh, drink (responsibility), pray, celebrate, share our faith journey, and keep each other spiritually accountable. While the celebrating was fun, it was our joint prayer that had the largest effect on me. It was one of the strongest prayers I had felt in a long time.

Real men journey together to Jesus, and the world needs more of this. We were created for community and we need the support of other men as reminders and inspiration to endure the bad and celebrate the good. Unfortunately, our busy lives limit the opportunities to gather, but we need it to continue.

The best reminder from a good wedding is that Venerable Fulton Sheen was right – life is worth living.

  • Mark

    Loved what you had to say here. Men do need the deep fellowship and brotherhood of other men. And as you say, not just for a handshake or to watch a football game. When we don’t get it, I also think we rely too much on women to live out our deeper emotional and spiritual lives for us. And that is too great and unfair a burden for women and unhealthy and spiritually damaging for men.Great reflection.

  • DanC

    It’s interesting that you decorate this post with a picture of two men with beers. Alcohol is a social lubricant, and also can help enable building of the solidarity and brotherhood in groups you talk about. I don’t handle alcohol well – it disturbs my sleep – so I don’t drink often. (I wish there were other social lubricants so effective.) Alcohol itself may be worth another blog post sometime, Cris.

  • Steve Scott

    Thanks for the great blog, Cris! Very inspiring and well-timed – as our D-Group just covered this topic. Great reminder of how important genuine friendships-i.e. friendships rooted in virtue and common purpose are for both personal happiness and effective. You should do a series on it.

    • http://soulpainter.com/ Cristóbal Almanza

      I’m thinking about it. Thanks

  • nehamishra

    Hello
    Almanza, thanks for such an awesome post. It covers all the aspects of the
    purpose of drinking and also tells us the significance of brotherhood. The
    image included in the post is alluring. Brotherhood is needed even in corporate
    and IT industries today like the one exhibited by Gravity USA –
    it support austin