Monday, December 14, 2015

Behold the Man (Ignatius Press)

When I was a Protestant, I remember there being books geared towards men. They focused on being a husband, being a father, and just being a better man. Though I was just in my late teens at the time, I remember reading those, because I wanted to be the best man I could be both now and in the future. Since, I became Catholic I have noticed that there is a lack of "male spirituality" books, but that trend seems to be changing, slowly but surely. In 2009, we had Fr. Larry Richards' book Be a Man! After that came the series of books Joseph's Way. Now, we have Behold the Man, from well known Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers.

Deacon Harold begins his Introduction by telling us how rare the Catholic man is, and says it is Catholic men themselves who are responsible for their own destruction and extinction. He then provides an example from a raunchy television show, Two and a Half Men, to show just how far we have sunk. After this painful example, we are presented with statistics that show how much men shape their children's religious lives. He cites a study that shows us the importance of Catholic men going to Mass regularly. If we don't go regularly, it says that only 2-3% of children will attend regularly. That's pretty devastating. The book is then divided into eight chapters, which cover topics like Biblical Manhood, Covenant Relationships, Theology of the Body, and Fatherhood.

Before diving into examples of Biblical Manhood, Deacon Harold reminds us that we need to understand Biblical context before dissecting a passage. In this chapter there is heavy focus on God the Father and the first family of Adam and Eve. He then dives into the meaning of covenants, how God's love is central in covenants, and how important marriage is. He tells us that it is so important that God Himself, Jesus, chose to be born into a covenant marriage. In the chapter on fatherhood, he begins by emphasizing the importance of the Mass and Eucharist, and how so many Catholic men view this Sunday obligation as a burden. He also tells us that as Catholic men, we must focus on Christ crucified and model our life after His life so that we can grow in love for God and our fellow man. The most interesting section on fatherhood compared our roles as fathers to Christ the King, Prophet, and Priest. As fathers, we must exhibit love-centered headship, servant-based leadership, and life-giving authority.

Deacon Harold always speaks with passion and conviction, so it was refreshing to see that style reflected in his book Behold the Man. He was able to mix practical with scholarly and deliver a book that was a clear call to action to all Catholic men. He didn't just rely on his words though, he backed them up with copious notes and references to both Scripture and the Catechism. What is most refreshing about this book is that it is not just aimed at a specific type of Catholic man, i.e., a husband or a father. It is instead aimed at ALL Catholic men, both laity and religious; single and married. So if you are looking for a book for the man/men in your life, I'd strongly recommend this one. For a limited time, you can receive this and the other two books I mentioned for 40% off when you buy them together here.

This book was provided to me for free by Carmel Communications in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!