If there has been anything with resonance for me within the past week it has been this phrase buried within a weekday homily. The context of its placement to Scripture matters not as Scripture is wholly based on the concept and therefore would require me to quote the whole of it in order to grasp what is before me in the present.
The resonance is, in addition to this, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth, where in the first chapter he declares quite skillfully that man's innate desire is to know not so much his innocuous beginnings but what future is to become of him. So much so is this the case that man wishes to tear asunder the curtain to see the realization of his salvation. We are so much in search of the Prophet within our lives that we can often times lose sight of much else.
It is in contemplation and discussion that we see Jesus the Prophet come to bear His Truth. It is not an easy Truth to accept nor is it a popular one. The road is tough simply because of the fact that much of the time we don't realize we aren't on it and that we should be. We would much rather go through torment than apply our gifts of life because that road would appear to be the easier one.
I would suppose quite the opposite. I would say that we should take the more difficult of paths before us, the one that appears to be the harder of the two, not because the road would be the path of least resistance but because in that path of privation and uncertainty not only do we find ourselves and the meaning of ourselves but so too God and the meaning of God Himself—in some of the most ironic of ways.
We may laugh and we may cry on this path of privation for as it says in Proverbs, "Even in laughter the heart may be sad, and the end of joy may be sorrow" (Proverbs 14:13). However, it is in both sorrow and joy that we find our place amongst everything of Creation.
More often than not with the more answers that one receives, the more questions arise in one's heart. This has certainly rung true for me. I know not the route of this path of privation, but I do know that through a certain amount of abandonment of the extraneous excesses of worrying in life to God and His will while making willful choices in line with His teachings, I can find peace within Him and within His Divine Plans. These are not plans for fame or plans for fortune. No, desires of such things of lust ought to be left for the pettier of our kind. What we ought to seek for is the love of our fellow man.
Empathy is an oft-shunned quality amongst the most masculine of the world. They are somehow above or supposed to be above showing an honest and forthright concern not only for himself but for the Other in his midst. Man, in the modern sense, is meant to wall himself in a fortress impenetrable, on a fort atop a hill that cannot be breached by emotion. Ah, but when the walls of this mighty fortress are breached and the hillsides scaled, what a disappointing loss for this kind of man within!
It is the man who places himself like a city on a river without defenses, who freely trades with others on this body of water that is scoffed, derided, and laughed at in our society. He is the "weaker" of the two men. He is more open to attack and therefore defeat at the hands of his foe. And so goes the reasoning of our day.
But I ask of you this: which of these men are truer to his own self? Which is truer to his innate being? Who bears the face of Christ more?
I declare it to be the latter of the two. It is the man whose defenses are not walled up, who freely trades amongst the others upon the body of water and thus leaves himself open to attack.
All is not what it seems. Is the more defended one the man who spends all his resources of life to defend himself inside his inner keep and ready himself for a siege war that will last him his existence until he takes his last warm breath and expires from this earth? Or could it be the man who appears to be the weaker of the two who has a treasury not of bullets and bombs or machines and mortars but has instead a treasury of priceless gems and golden implements to ward off the despair of the looming attack?
It is the Pearl of Great Price that resides at the heart of the man of the second kind. He will not be overcome with defeat or slaughter. It is he who will rise above any challenge at hand.
And yet men of our day are cut down, are demoralized in the struggle, and lose faith in their way to greatness, to peace, and to salvation. We are the ones fed insecurity and concern of what the world thinks of our actions, our beliefs, and our very real and personal love for the Other in our lives. Somehow we must show the man of the first kind to the outside world but be the one of the second to only a select few confidants, a short list expected never to grow very large. How realistic is this even for the most "typical" masculine men of the current day's sense and all its varied sensibilities? None whatsoever.
We should reject this unrealistic and destructive demand upon our manhood. We should reject the demoralizing vices and temptations of lust and greed that pollute not only the judgment of our minds but the love of our hearts. We should reject the chains of sin to which we have bound ourselves in taking what appeared to be the easier road at the onset. How else are we to become the true men we are to be? How else can we be better examples of a fully sacrificial love to the Other in our lives? How else are we to be Christ to the Other in our midst?
There is no other way but to give in abandonment our selfish desires to God's will in order to fully transform what was once the broken man found in the archetype of Adam and thus be transfigured into a more Christ-like—and therefore more holy—example in a world beset with problems and very few men of good worth ready to solve these problems. It is in this transformation and transfiguration that we become those men of good worth to truly be the providers that we have been called to be and ought to be in a world torn asunder in strife.