The universal search for meaning: belonging
We’re created to belong—to someone, something. Whether it’s a person or a cause, belonging drives the universal search for meaning.
Those Hamas terrorists?
The Israeli fighters?
The Ukrainian people and Russians?
The Mexican cartels?
The gangs in LA, New York, Chicago?
In a sense, they’re all soldiers. Each is immersed in the search for somewhere he can belong…someone he can follow.
Although my examples may read as extreme, we cannot deny that each of these groups has a leader, a person gifted with qualities that draw people to him. Often the leaders and the followers in these examples are men. Men who share a desperate need for fatherhood. And who along the way, attract women—women in desperate need to give themselves away.
Remember the year of St. Joseph?
Reading Pope Francis’ splendid Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, prompted me to write, ” Ours is a world in desperate need of fatherhood. A quick online search reveals the startling rise of single motherhood here in the US and in the world. Soberly revealing our need for heavenly intervention for our fatherless families and overburdened mothers. Starkly exposing our culture’s bereft notion of fatherhood as mere sexual congress.
Such simple words, “father” and “fatherhood,” have meanings which once were plain, unadulterated. But that was before the intensification of the “struggle between the family and the State for the minds of the young.”
On this subject, GK Chesterton wrote, “It is difficult to defend the obvious. We don’t even know where to begin. It is also easy to forget the obvious. Breathing only becomes an issue when we are out of breath. The family is a perfect example of something so obvious that it is difficult to defend—so obvious that it is easy to ignore. But decay begins to set in, says Chesterton, when we forget the obvious things.
When people start arguing about the triangle of the family, they dance around the definition of the thing. Yet they want to talk about nothing but exceptions, which means they are assuming the definition they do not want to discuss. In other words, the arguments about the family seem largely to ignore the family, to ignore the normal and focus on the abnormal, with earnest people making impassioned pleas about broken families; about unwanted children; about parents who are not married to each other; about nonparents who are married to each other; about the divorced and remarried; about those suffering from a same-sex attraction who simply want to be “happy” (which they claim will come from playing house); about single parents and abusive parents and absent parents.”
This war against family has long roots
Pope Leo’s Xlll’s Rerum Novarum–the fundamental document of Catholic social teaching, contains startling, prescient observations about capitalism and its poisonous effect upon the family. The pope predicted the post WW ll exodus of women from the home and into the workplace. The lure of career and its economic benefits initiating the rise of a whole industry of caregivers for the children of strangers, persuading women that mere motherhood was insufficient.
Catholic teaching on social justice was the catalyst for Chesterton to leave the Anglican Church for Roman Catholicism. “I am convinced. . . that the fight for the family and the free citizen and everything decent must now be waged by the one fighting form of Christianity.” He wanted to join the Church that would fight for the family. For the rest of his life, he fought for the faith and for the family.”
Two recent books caught my eye. Both are about being male and the need for men to understand and don their masculinity. Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has written, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation. In the introduction, Father Rohr writes that men have not described their own souls. Men must first and finally interpret men, he declares. It shouldn’t be difficult, should it?—unless we live in culture that insists that males are the problem. Hence causing young boys and men to doubt their natures and mitigate their masculinity.
The second book is called Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. The senator writes of Adam, Eve and the garden with some intriguing observations. Adam was placed there as guard. But because he failed his primary role, the serpent entered and beguiled Eve. Hawley also suggests that the tree of good and evil would be given to Adam and Eve but not until they were ready. Interesting, yes?
Using familiar biblical people, Abraham, Joshua and David, Hawley reveals man’s mission as husband, father, warrior, builder, priest and king. Isn’t it peculiar that we need books to explain, more accurately, proclaim the God-given natures of man and woman?
It’s so easy to forget the obvious.
only occurred when I ‘discovered God.’ Knowing full well, that God never left me. And that It was I who walked away to begin a search that could end only in Him. That’s true for each almost 8 billion souls: We belong to Christ, we were purchased at a colossal cost.
The universal search for meaning: Belonging. St. Teresa Benedicta–Edith Stein–explains the primary reason for the wholescale disappointment, even hatred by women for men :