In Scripture and now: men’s duty to be watchmen

| Matthew James Christoff | January 21, 2016 | 1 Comment

Men and women are created in God’s image and are equal in dignity. Men and women have also been endowed with unique gifts that God draws together in beautiful complementarity in the sacrament of marriage in which the “two become one flesh” (Gn 2:24).

God has endowed men with the natural inclination to be “protectors.” The book of Genesis reveals that God endowed Adam with the instinctive ability to be a protector, instructing Adam to “shamar” (in Hebrew, “to watch or guard”) the garden and Eve. Adam spectacularly fails to watch and guard the garden and Eve when Satan slithers in. God holds Adam accountable for this failure.

Throughout the Old Testament, God continued to call men to be watchful and on guard against evil. Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet who lived 600 years before Christ during the fall of Jerusalem, offered this lament from God: “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land” (Ez 22:30). Isaiah also echoes God’s call for men to be watchful: “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest” (Is 62:6).

Jesus Christ, the almighty king, repeatedly called for men to be watchful. Christ teaches that men should be watchful over their homes (Mt 24:43) and to be in a state of constant vigilance: “Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Mt 24:32).

Christ’s chosen apostles also emphasize the need for men to be watchful. Peter advises, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8). Paul directs: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong” (1 Cor 16:13).

Men’s conference focus“Catholic Watchmen: Calling Men to be Protectors, Providers and Leaders of their Families” is the focus of the 2016 Archdiocesan Men’s Conference, Feb. 27 at the University of St. Thomas.

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New initiative aims to make Catholic men ‘watchmen’

Watchful, but how?

What does it mean for today’s man to be “watchful”? Men can relate to this scenario: It is the middle of the night. A man, his wife, his young daughters and sons are asleep in the upstairs bedrooms. The man awakens to the sound of men breaking into the house. What does the man do? Most men say something like the following: No. 1, call 911; No. 2, grab some kind of weapon (a baseball bat, knife or gun); and, No. 3, stand guard at the top of the stairs, ready and willing to die to protect the family. Men have been endowed by God with a natural instinct to protect.

Most men will not face a home invasion, but every Catholic man today is facing much greater threats as the modern culture attacks religion and embraces great evils. Secularism and political correctness is stifling the practice of religion. Marriage is being redefined and abandoned. Pornography, gender confusion and the hyper-sexualized culture are a threat to men, women, daughters and sons. Many, especially men and young people, are leaving the faith. It is a time of fierce spiritual combat in which the lives of countless souls are in mortal danger.

In these troubling times, Catholic men must re-commit to their God-given instinct and duty to be “watchmen,” men who protect themselves, their families and parishes. To carry out this call of duty, Catholic men rely on Christ the King for strength in the spiritual battle that is raging.

Each Catholic man, regardless of his past, can recommit to know and serve Christ Jesus and his Church, to learn and practice the faith, and to build bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men.

Christ has given men the instinct to be protectors and has charged men to be watchful. Now is the time for Catholic men to commit to become “watchmen” for Christ.

Christoff is a parishioner of St. Anne in Hamel and founder of the New Emangelization Project.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen