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Archived Online Discussion
Topic: Be a Man!
Date: 5-6 pm (ET)
on Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
Fr. Larry Richards
Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for joining us this evening for our book club chat with Fr. Larry Richards.

Former State Warden Robert B. Camilleri
Honolulu, Hawaii
Could you please comment on St. Paul being a model for men in the 21st Century. One of my favorite bible passages is when God the Father says to St. Paul: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? In your experience as a Priest, have there been moments when men have finally surrendered to the love of God and been able to repair their relatiosnhips with their wives and their families?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Robert - Great question!  St. Paul is just a great example to modern men because he was just very human and also very open about all his weaknesses, so he KNEW that everything depended on Christ NOT him!  My favorite verse in the Bible is from St. Paul:  "I have been crucified with Christ so the life I live now is no longer my own, Christ lives inside of me."  Galatians 2:19-20.  I have seen men finally get it and start living the life that God is calling them to, when they fully surrender their lives to Jesus and then get out of the way and let Jesus live His life through them.  That is the key!  God Bless you+++

Chris Kennedy
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA Council 10937
In chapter 5 you ask us to reflect on who some of our heroes are who are men and what makes them strong. You cite Billy Graham as an influence on you and there are many Saints that were priests. Can you recommend Saints that would be good role models for men trying to be good husbands and fathers.
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Chris!  Thanks for your question!  There are some great Men saints that can lead you by their example.  Begin with St. Joseph.  John Paul II, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Francis Xavier just to get you started.  God Bless you+++

How are the KC getting men more involved in their families? Is there a program I can join? My council just isn't that active?
Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for the question. In fact, many of our councils do a great deal with programs for families and we have also launched a website to help our members and men in general to become more involved and better fathers. It has a variety of ideas, interviews, blog entries, video, etc. that I think you would find very useful. I would encourage you to visit and to bring the ideas from that website to the other members of your council.

Michael Nowakowski
Whitehall, PA USA
How can a man balance the need for work and the need of our souls? Most specifically, men are judged by what kind of work he does and how successful he is. How is it possible to be a man of God and a true husband at the same time?
Carl A. Anderson:
First of all, I think it is important that we not take for granted that the world's definition of success is the key to life. When we see Christ tempted in the beginning of Luke's fourth chapter, the temptation is precisely worldly power and success. Christ gives us quite a different standard for success in the Beatitudes. Second, it is important that we are consistent witnesses to our faith - at home and at work. Both our families and those we deal with in the public square ought to be treated with Christian love. We must witness to our faith in whatever work we do. In almost any work environment, we will come into contact with others - with co-workers, with clients, with contractors, with customers, and in each case, those people will form an opinion of the way in which we deal with them. If they come away feeling that they have been treated fairly, treated as we would want to be treated ourselves, then they have had an experience that reflects Christ's love, and each instance in which that occurs is a success.

Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Michael!  Thanks for your question!  The key to balance is to "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33.  Too many men try to fit God and prayer into their live instead of building their lives around God.  Now that does not mean that someone has to spend hours in prayer every day, but it does means that they start with prayer and a listening obedient heart and God will show them what to do next.  He knows all about how busy we are, and He still says but Him first.  God Bless+++ 

New Haven, Conn. USA
Fr. Larry:

In "Be a Man!" you write about the gift of holy boldness. What public figure today do you think best exemplifies this trait?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Paul!  Thanks for your question.  There are many and I think that Pope Benedict displays this well, and I think that the best one who does this in the United States is Archbishop Chaput of Denver.  He speaks out and does not care who agrees with him or not.  God Bless+++

Father Wayne C. Genereux, O.deM.
St. Petersburg, Florida USA
I am very happy that the Knights of Columbus is embracing
Fr. Richard's book. It's excellent.

I will be presenting Fr. Richard's Book at a Retreat on April 17-18, in Lutz, Florida for the Cathedral Knights of Columbus.
Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for your kind words and for letting us know about your presentation.

Ray Cooper
Marcus Hook, PA, USA
Can you elaborate on the meaning of "I am third"?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Ray! "I am Third" - is a way to make sure that we get our priorities right. God is first. Other are second. I need to be third. This was the way that Jesus lived and thus it must be the way we live. He said: "I did not come to be served but to serve." Mark 10:45 God Bless+++

I've heard recordings of your talks Father. Most men don't think of religion as a manly thing. How do we get them to see it? Do you think the Church has been feminized and that is pushing men away?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Bob!  You hit it right on the head!  The world and the church have become too feminized and so men run from the Church sometimes!  We are getting back now to basics and the Church is heading where it needs to head. God Bless+++


What has happened in our country that you need to write a book like this? It seems the Greatest Generation gave birth to wimps?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Maria!  I believe what happened to this country is that we just got our roles confused and started living the way that became politically correct, instead of the way God created us.  God Bless+++

Greg Murphy
Westchester, NY
Father Larry:

Thank you for your excellent book. Out of all the challenges facing men today, a lack of prayer and penance, sexual temptation, the desire to go our own way, not God's, what is the single greatest hurdle today to becoming authentic Catholic men,or what is the worst mistake men make?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Greg!  Thanks for your question!  PRIDE :)  Pride is the core of all sin, and the remedy according to St. Augustine is three things:  The first is HUMILITY the second is HUMILITY and the third is HUMILITY.  God Bless+++

Tim Sullivan
Carthage, Tennessee
Father Larry, thanks for this book. I have to agree with the sisters you mentioned in your book who said you had a "holy boldness." Not often are men told to start thinking about the fact that we are going to die, and we need God's grace to make it. Do you feel that too often the Catholic faith is presented as something wishy washy, that doesn't force us to confront the hard truths?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Tim!  Thanks for your question and your comment!  I think that the Church in the last 40 years or so has been way too "wishy washy!" We have not been challenging people to take up the cross and live a holy life, too many people (clergy and nuns included)  have made the Gospel a self help book instead of a book that calls us to repent and die to ourselves that we might live forever!  God Bless you+++

Henry A.
Washington D.C.
Father Larry, you tell us that love is the difference between being strong and judgmental. Throughout the book you seem to have a gift for engaging people living in sin and bring them to God. How can we tell people what is right in the eyes of Christ without being accused of forcing our views on others?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Henry!  Thanks for your question.  I think that the key is that we need to "Speak the truth in love" as St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15. People will listen to us IF they KNOW that we love them.  But it is not easy, Jesus loved people more than any of us and yet they still killed Him - and so the same with us.  We need to stay faithful and let the Holy Spirit lead, God will do the rest.  God Bless you+++

New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America
Father Richards, first let me thank you for an excellent book. "Be a Man!" is a triumph, and it offers a very practical, accessible approach to men's spirituality.

I have a two-part question.

1. What advice would you offer to a high school student who is about to graduate and go to college?

2. What advice would you offer to a young man who is about to graduate from college and enter professional life?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Michael!  Thanks for your questions & kind words!  To both of those boys I would tell them they MUST be men of prayer!  Prayer is key, and the great prayer that I would encourage them to pray would be the one in my book by Cardinal Mercier " Oh, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will.  Amen."  I would also have them listen to my "Knowing God's will CD" that will guide them with very practical ways on how to know God's will and live it.  You can get that at my website:  God Bless you+++  

John Cassetta
Newark, NJ
Father Larry and Supreme Knight Anderson:

What can we do as men and particularly as Knights of Columbus to strengthen one another, and our fellow Catholics, spiritually?
Carl A. Anderson:
I think our witness, both in our families as husbands and fathers, and in our work in the public sphere are incredibly important. So is our charity. It is a witness to all who see it that we take Christ's mandate to love our neighbor very seriously. It shows the beauty of saying yes to Jesus Christ. And as Knights we often do this charitable work together. We should remember that major principles of the Knights of Columbus - in addition to charity - are unity and fraternity. These are very important because they are based on an understanding that we can help to reinforce and support one another in our quest to be better Catholics. So certainly charitable activity, witness - through our charity and through the way we live our lives - and a strong prayer life are key ingredients.

East Lansing, MI, US
Fr. Larry, what influence do you think our culture is having on men today? Do you think our culture makes is more challenging for men to be strong leaders in our culture, families, and in our faith communities?
Thank you for your great book!
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Christine!  Thank you for your questions!  I think that our culture is really just another word for what the Church has traditionally called "The world."  What the problem has been is that the culture has been influencing the Church more than the Church has been influencing the culture.  The Church needs to focus more on "Go and make disciples" and become a church that exists to evangelize!  Then men will start listening to the TRUTH of the Church and not be led astray by the opinions of the culture.  God Bless+++

Joe Pertner
Norwalk, Ohio, USA
Father thanks for your book. I saw you in Akron 2 weeks ago, great presentation. I work in a factory with all different types of people. How can I work with them and still be a good witness to our faith?
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Joe!  Thanks for your question!  I think you need to take the advice of St. Francis who said:  Preach the Gospel at ALL time and IF necessary use words!" What that means is since God is love then you must be an instrument of love to the people you work with.  Meet them where they are, but don't leave them there :)  The best way to do this is to do three things and they must stay in this order: 1) Start praying for the people you work with. Start a prayer list and put these people's name on it, and pray for them EVERYDAY.  2)  Love those people.  This means that you serve them and put their needs before yours - yes that will kill you :) and 3) AFTER you have prayed for these people and loved them and they KNOW that you love them, then you can tell them about what Jesus has done for you.  This is not preaching - it is witnessing to the power and life that comes from knowing Jesus.  God Bless+++

Marcus Hook,PA, USA
In my everyday life encounters I find that you dont need to preach the Gospel as much as live it, I am in the process of joining the Secular Franciscan Order, one of my favorite quotes is from St. Francis and that is "Preach the Gospel at all times if neccesary use words". I was wondering what your thoughts on the quote and St. Francis in general are.
Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Ray!  Thanks for your question!  I agree with you and what St. Francis said!  We lead by example, but sometimes we need to also speak as Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20:  "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."  God Bless+++

Rinaldo Rivas
Miami, FL
With all the Challenges facing the Church today, what can and should we as Catholics do to support the Church and our fellow Catholics?
Carl A. Anderson:

Good question. As Catholics, it is very important that we maintain a strong prayer life and that we are known as Christians by "the way we love on another." Love of God and love of neighbor are the commandments Christ gave us, and now, as always, it is very important that we live both.

Fr. Larry Richards:

Hello Rinaldo!  Thanks for your question!  The most important thing we can do is pray.  Especially now with our Holy Father going through all his troubles!  When it comes to the people around you - pray for them and love them - God will do the rest!  God Bless+++

Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for joining us this evening for our book club chat with Fr. Larry Richards.  Join us again on Thursday, April 29 for a discussion of Jesus: A Biography From a Believer  by Paul Johnson.

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