By Ron PereiraI was fortunate enough to speak to a room full of middle school and high school young men this past Saturday night at our parish’s “Lock in for Life.” My talk focused on the topic of how to become strong, holy, men before transitioning into the topic of purity.
During the opening aspect of my talk I tapped into my inner Gladiator and showed a clip of the movie Gladiator where Maximus implores his men before the final Battle of Germania to hold the line… stay with me! We talked about how important holding the line, and sticking together, is on the battlefield.
I then explained how our primary leader, Jesus Christ, also challenges us to hold the line… and to stay with Him. When we fall off the line, and attempt to win the battle on our own, we will be destroyed since, one our own, we’re no match for the devil. But, when we hold the line, and stay with Jesus, our victory is certain.
We then explored 3 characteristics of strong, holy, men.
- Strong, holy, men are sacrificial. They willingly carry their crosses and put others before themselves.
- Strong, holy, men are courageous. They’re not afraid to be ridiculed and to stand up for what’s right and pure even when they’re outnumbered by the “world.”
- Strong, holy, men are temperate. They know how to control their passions in all areas of their life.
Then, towards the end of the section on how to live pure, holy, lives I shared a 5-step battle plan any of us – men and boys alike – can leverage.
- Memorize Psalm 84:1 (or verse 2 in some Bibles) and recite it in your mind, or out loud, every time you see an attractive young lady or woman: “How lovely is thy dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!“
- Frequent the Sacraments and never, ever, miss Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation. Immediately go to confession if you fall into sin and don’t despair. The evil one wants us to despair when we fall. Instead of despairing we must get up and seek immediate forgiveness with contrite hearts.
- Pray for your future spouse and always leave the door open to the Priesthood. If you’re already married pray for your spouse.
- Get 3 battle buddies and hold each other accountable to growing stronger physically and spiritually. Or, even better, start an Exodus group.
- Practice asceticism and suffer well. One example, take a cold shower every Wednesday and Friday and unite that minor suffering to the cross for your family, friends, and your future spouse if you’re not already married.
I placed extra emphasis on number 5 and really challenged these young men to at least finish the end of their showers on Wednesday and Friday with cold water while they pray for their future spouses (which could also be the church)!
I’d also encourage you to give this cold shower challenge a shot. If you want to work up to it just turn the water cold at the end of your shower – James Bond style – and and recite 1 Hail Mary. Then work up to 10 Hail Mary’s. Once you get to 10 you’re definitely ready for 100% cold water showers!
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!