After William Wallace defeated the British Army at Sterling Bridge the Scottish Nobles knighted him and declared him Supreme Protector of Scotland. In a dark, dingy, open hall, packed full of Scots curious to see this Wallace who defeated the mighty Army of Edward “The Long Shanks” they began to bicker about who’s claim was the legitimate claim to the throne of Scotland. “What are his politics” they asked each other… but William would have none of it!
For Thanksgiving I packed up family and drove us eight hours North to Lubbock. How crazy is that, we drove for eight hours and were still in the same state… you have to love Texas! For the “in-drive” movie I chose to download “Braveheart” onto my iPhone. It came in really handy; we were on the road at 3 am and by 10 am I was nodding off at the wheel shaking my head, moving my jaw in a chewing motion, and slapping the back of my neck in hopes of not falling asleep. Well “Braveheart” kept me awake and I remembered again why I loved this movie so much.
Yes…. “Braveheart” was not really historically accurate but that’s not why men love this movie so much! I thought back to a unique application of this movie when I was about 10 feet from Jim Caviezel, star of “The Passion of The Christ”, back in 2005 at the Boston Catholic Men’s Conference, when he recited William Wallace’s (Mel Gibson’s) speech before the Scottish army at Sterling ending with “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” Some three thousand men jumped to their feet cheering at a deafening volume. Even Cardinal O’Malley was inspired by this performance. If the English had been outside that gymnasium we would have taken the field against them that day.
Men are looking to be inspired… they instinctually are searching for authentic masculine spirituality and the men who can inspire them to achieve the unachievable. We want to be better than we are now and we know, deep down, that we are not getting the inspiration we need… the inspiration we desire most. I have been pondering on this a lot lately as I take an inventory of how busy I am in ministry. Between my full time job, as Director of Fullness Truth Catholic Evangelization Ministry, producer of Catholic Radio shows, podcasts, blogs, conferences, webinar’s, men’s groups, consultant to ministries, narrator of books and ancient writings, etc., I manage to work 60 to 80 hours a week… and love every minute of it.
A good friend of mine once warned me to be careful not to “step over Jesus in my home in order to find Jesus outside the home.” I’m continually looking for ways to accomplish more while, at the same time, not taking any additional time away from my family. My wife and kids already sacrifice so much so that I can do what I do that I must discipline myself to commit less to external ministries. My spiritual director once told me that I should consider reducing my commitments so that I can have a healthier lifestyle… I told him “Father, I’m sitting here thinking about how I can loose more sleep so I can accomplish ten more things not reduce my commitments”. I have never been more satisfied, vocationally, then when I’m engaged in ministry for the Catholic faith. Most of what I do I do for nothing other than the pleasure of serving God. So why? Why do I continue to take away from my family to work on all of this?
My spiritual director also once told me that a man has an instinctual need to rightly order society… not for political reasons… but, so that he can protect his family and ensure a future for his children. This brings me back to one of my favorite “Braveheart” moments…. William Wallace walking up the stairs slowly, trying to sneak out, while the childish nobles are arguing over their claims to the throne. They ask him where he’s going and he responds by saying he will invade England. They squawk at him and sneer… “its impossible”. Then Wallace says:
“Why? Why is that impossible? You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.”
Now this I can relate too! This is why I do what I do… for my children! My possessions, or rather my aptitudes, which God gave me, exist that I may serve the Almighty, His Catholic Church, and provide my Children with freedom! Not just freedom from tyrants, or political systems, but, more importantly, freedom from a society grown morally corrupt. I need to help right society so that my children are not faced with overwhelming evil. I especially feel this way in regards to the struggle against pornography. Having spent over two decades addicted to porn, and sexual license, I now fight that my sons will not fall into that slavery, and my daughter will not sell herself short in exchange for lust disguised as love. The sacrifice my wife, and kids, endure through long hours of Dad’s work in Catholic ministry is our giving back to Christ who gave so much for our redemption.
Freedom is well worth fighting for, and dying for. Yes… my possessions exist that I might provide my children with freedom… and I go to make sure that they have it!
Men… take a stand! Do something! Act! Lead! Inspire!
“Now our people know you. Noble, and common, they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they’d follow you. And so would I !“