Lately I’ve been asking myself why some people seem to get the God stuff and others do not. Why is it that I feel so loved by God and my neighbor does not? Matthew Kelly’s new books, “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic,” points out that only about 7% of Catholics are actually involved in their faith. I put it to you in a different way: Only 7% of Catholics feel loved in their faith. Why? Why do so few people KNOW God?
The answer came to me a few weeks ago while I was listening to a talk at our local young adult group. The young priest simply said in passing, “God is a gentlemen.” That was it! The answer to the question I had been asking. Peace came and I had understanding. God will not force Himself on anyone. In fact, He cannot. If He is love itself than it would go against His nature to do so. What does scripture tell us about the nature of Love? The famous passage reads:
“Love is patient and kind: love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). (Note: it is in his bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring that we get the image of God as fighter).
If these are the attributes of God and God is a gentleman then these are the attributes of a gentleman. Now I ask one more time: Why does the world feel so unloved and unknown by God? Could it be because the world no longer knows gentlemen? For years now our society has had to suffer this great loss. Men hold the power of God’s image in a very tangible way. After all we are taught to call God Father. Yet, we live in a fatherless culture. We are taught that God is the great romancer, the image of the lover from the Song of Songs, and yet women are treated as objects of pleasure. We are taught that “He is wise in heart” (Job 9:4) and yet men are portrayed as brutish idiots with no direction, no passion, and no courage. We are taught that God is the great warrior, the Psalmist writes over and over, “He is my Fortress”, “My Refuge”, “My Stronghold,” and yet the family crumbles, leaving in its wake a path of toxic debris with which we are left to build culture and society . These things are not a coincidence. If we want the world to know the the love of the Father, the world must know the love of gentlemen.
To all my sisters in Christ: Allow the men around you to rise. Expect this of them; encourage and help them in it. We need them.
You must take hold of the image you bear as a Son of God. Our world desperately needs you. Perhaps if we would see the rise of gentlemen we would also see the rise of God. After all, “This task was appointed to you… if YOU do not find a way, no one will.”