SEPTEMBER 9 Friday
1 Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 10
Sometimes God chooses a person to do his work that is not a winner of the popularity contest. Timothy seems to be one of these. Even Christ Himself was disdained when only the 12 remained. Therefore, have courage if you are doing the work of the Lord and you are not winning everyone’s BFF.
Fitness Friday-The 5 Switches of Manliness: Nature
In this Switches of Manliness series, we’ve been talking about those unique parts of a man’s psyche that have fallen into disuse in the modern world and need to be reactivated. But there’s likely some overlap between the needs of men and the needs of women; for example, primitive women used to be quite physical too, and I think modern women need to have an element of physicality in their lives as well. But with this switch, there’s definitely more than a little overlap. The Switch of Nature is for everyone. Men. Women. Children. Squirrels. Well, I think squirrels have it down pretty well. But it’s for everyone and their mom. Literally—your mom needs it too.
Man’s Separation from Nature: The Third “Frontier”
With the rest of the switches, there was a good amount of theorizing going on as we looked back in time and tried to uncover the life and perspective of primitive man. But with this switch, we don’t have to speculate—we can say this with 100% certitude: primitive man spent a lot more time outside in nature than modern man does. Primitive people were surrounded by nature all day, every day. Their lives revolved around it: they supped from it; they created with it; they protected themselves from it; they even worshiped it.
A life that centered on a deep, vital connection to nature was the norm for humans for tens of thousands of years. This connection would only fall apart when the rise of settled agriculture and then the Industrial Revolution made it possible for more and more people to make a living in a way that did not involve the land.
Nature and a Man’s Health
Every organism has an ideal habitat; take it out of its habitat and it could die, or at least suffer ill-effects.
· Time spent outdoors is linked with lower levels of obesity.
· Nature keeps you mentally sharp. Cities, with their constant noise, crowds of people, and lack of natural surroundings, can tax the human brain. In fact, studies have shown a link between being brought up in the city and the chance of a person developing schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.
· researchers have found that a walk in nature, where stimuli makes a much less dramatic play for our involuntary attention, allows our directed attention to have a rest, leaving it primed and ready to tackle difficult cognitive tasks once more.
· Nature promotes calmness and fights depression. In a study done in Japan, researchers found that after a 20-minute walk in the forest, participants had “lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity” than those who spent time in the city instead.
· Those with children, especially boys, should know that studies have also shown that spending time in nature can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.
· Nature boosts your testosterone.
· Nature fights cancer. In another study done in Japan, researchers had participants spend 3 days and 2 nights in the woods; the participants took long walks in the forest during the day and stayed at a hotel near the forest at night. The participants showed a 50% increase in “natural killer cells” (a component of the body’s immune system that fights cancerous growths), as well as an increase in other anti-cancer proteins. This boost in NK activity lasted for a month after the experience, showing that even if you can only tear out into the woods once in a while, it is certainly worth it.
Nature and Man’s Soul
“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; [The Lakota] knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans too.” –Standing Bear
Cynicism. I personally believe it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest threat to manliness. Cynicism makes a man jaded and saps his ability to experience wonder and amazement; nature restores it. Nature gives a man back a bit of the heart of a boy, a heart that can acknowledge some mystery in the world.
Nature increases your humility. Some studies have shown that narcissism is on the rise among young people. Parents coddle their kids and build up their self-esteem to the point they feel invincible. And technology caters to our every whim, molding itself to our personal interests and preferences.
Nature is pretty and soothing….but it can also literally kill you. It’s not just lovely sunsets and breathtaking canyon views. It’s also grizzly bears and perfect storms. Out in nature you get a renewed sense of your vulnerability. At the foot of a mountain, you sense your true smallness in the world. And nature quickly shatters any notion that the universe revolves around you; it doesn’t stop raining just because you picked that day to go camping.
Nature heightens your senses. We talk through phones and computers. We are entertained through our televisions. We get our food through the grocery store. All of our experiences are mediated through middlemen. When was the last time you had a direct, primary experience? Nature lets you take in all the elements in their most primitive forms, before they’ve been packaged for your consumption.
Nature heightens your creativity. Studies that observed children at play found that they engaged in more imaginative, explorative, and creative play when they played in open, green spaces than when they played on asphalt and in structured spaces. Free of the structure of our daily lives, the lines and rules that rein us in, the minds of adults too, are free to wander. Nature allows both your body and mind to explore, which can lead you to fresh insights about life.
Nature heightens your spirituality. If you’re a religious guy, perhaps the best way to feel close to the Creator is to wander among His creations. The experiences I’ve had where I’ve felt closest to God have not happened in a church pew, but out in the woods.
Nature centers you. It’s an ineffable feeling that I’ve found nowhere else. The jangled pieces of my life that have been rattling around inside my head just fall into place. And I feel a stillness and a peace.
How to Turn the Switch of Nature
Of all the Switches of Manliness, the Switch of Nature is perhaps easiest to turn. There are so many small things you can do to get a bit more of the outdoors inside of yourself. Remember, even looking through a window at nature helps people (so for goodness’s sake, stop putting those tv’s in the back of your car for the kids!).
You may live in the country, have a job that keeps you outside all day, or be lucky enough to know someone with a farm or ranch where you can go hang out whenever you’d like. But I know there are some men out there whose only time outside is when they’re walking to and from their car during the day. For these guys, make it a goal to spend at least an hour outside every day. It doesn’t seem like much, but it can make a big difference—remember, small and simple changes add up and can turn the switch to the on position. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
· Do your workout outside. A study found that “compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.”
· Go to a park to eat your lunch. If there’s no park near your workplace, at least eat in the car with the windows down.
· Go for a nightly after dinner walk.
· Do chores like mowing the lawn and raking leaves yourself instead of hiring someone to do it for you.
· Read, surf, or work on the patio or apartment balcony.
· On nice days, open your windows at home and in the car. On a cloudless 70 degree day most of the windows in our apartment complex are closed and everyone is driving around with the windows up in their cars. It makes me wonder sometimes if the whole world has gone mad.
· Go on a picnic date.
· Walk to your errands.
· Ride your bike to work.
· Find a hobby or sport that requires you to be outside. There are dozens to choose from: Skiing, skateboarding, surfing, running, gardening, geocaching, hunting, fishing, and so on and so forth.
· Go camping. Talk about a no brainer. But you need to stop thinking about camping like it has to be a long, elaborately planned trip. Even one night helps. I know you’ll feel inertia—you’ll feel like getting everything together and driving to the campsite won’t be worth it. Even one night is worth it. It will refresh you.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
III. The Three Degrees of the Sacrament of Holy Orders
1554 "The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons." Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate . the diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called "ordination," that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders:
Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church.
Episcopal ordination - fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders
1555 "Amongst those various offices which have been exercised in the Church from the earliest times the chief place, according to the witness of tradition, is held by the function of those who, through their appointment to the dignity and responsibility of bishop, and in virtue consequently of the unbroken succession going back to the beginning, are regarded as transmitters of the apostolic line."
1556 To fulfil their exalted mission, "the apostles were endowed by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and by the imposition of hands they passed on to their auxiliaries the gift of the Spirit, which is transmitted down to our day through episcopal consecration."
1557 The Second Vatican Council "teaches . . . that the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by episcopal consecration, that fullness namely which, both in the liturgical tradition of the Church and the language of the Fathers of the Church, is called the high priesthood, the acme (summa) of the sacred ministry."
1558 "Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling.... In fact ... by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant)." "By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors."
1559 "One is constituted a member of the episcopal body in virtue of the sacramental consecration and by the hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college." The character and collegial nature of the episcopal order are evidenced among other ways by the Church's ancient practice which calls for several bishops to participate in the consecration of a new bishop. In our day, the lawful ordination of a bishop requires a special intervention of the Bishop of Rome, because he is the supreme visible bond of the communion of the particular Churches in the one Church and the guarantor of their freedom.
1560 As Christ's vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: "Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church."
1561 The above considerations explain why the Eucharist celebrated by the bishop has a quite special significance as an expression of the Church gathered around the altar, with the one who represents Christ, the Good Shepherd and Head of his Church, presiding.
The ordination of priests - co-workers of the bishops
1562 "Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry." "The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcapal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ."
1563 "Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head."
1564 "Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bishops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament."
1565 Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles. the spiritual gift they have received in ordination prepares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, "but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation 'to the end of the earth,"' "prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere."
1566 "It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father." From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength.
1567 "The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them." priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. the promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.
1568 "All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop. . ;" The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical expression in the custom of the presbyters' imposing hands, after the bishop, during the Ate of ordination.
The ordination of deacons - "in order to serve"
1569 "At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who receive the imposition of hands 'not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry."' At an ordination to the diaconate only the bishop lays hands on the candidate, thus signifying the deacon's special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his "diakonia."
1570 Deacons share in Christ's mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character") which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the "deacon" or servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.
1571 Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin Church has restored the diaconate "as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy," while the Churches of the East had always maintained it. This permanent diaconate, which can be conferred on married men, constitutes an important enrichment for the Church's mission. Indeed it is appropriate and useful that men who carry out a truly diaconal ministry in the Church, whether in its liturgical and pastoral life or whether in its social and charitable works, should "be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has come down from the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the altar and their ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the diaconate."
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