In an age so upside down as our own, any notion of chastity in men is criticised and considered useless, weak or even feminine. It appears that in many areas of life the Truth has been flipped directly on its head. Now it seems that unrestrained indulgence is the manly disposition, rather than self-denial. The negation of all responsibility is the embodiment of manliness, as opposed to any concept of self-sacrifice.
Unashamed and reckless hedonism in today's generation of men is held as the masculine ideal. A man is considered a man by the number of women he has slept with. If he thrives in this arena, he is a successful man. If he does not, then he is half a man; or not a man at all.
St Joseph, the Model of Masculine Chastity
It is important to contrast this confused and redundant idea of masculinity with real manhood, so I will present the alternative, beginning with the obvious example of Saint Joseph. The man was a virgin, and lived - we are told by the mystics - a life of total self-sacrifice and dedication to God. Not only did Saint Joseph remain a virgin, he also refrained from even the slightest hint of lust, never once succumbing to a single venial sin in this regard, or any other.
He was also the spouse of the most beautiful woman who ever existed, and guarded her virginity just as fiercely - perhaps more fiercely - as he did his own. The blessed man submitted himself to all evil, taking abuse from lesser men, and giving no answer in return. He toiled and laboured for the good of his Holy Family, and spent time in ardent prayer and penance. He thought of himself as the lowest of all men, the most unworthy, yet he was the greatest. Other than Jesus Christ Himself, there never has been, and never will be a man the equal of Saint Joseph, neither in terms of true masculinity nor in any other regard.
Never once did he ever think a thought opposed to chastity, and yet, he is the absolute model of all masculinity, bringing it to its fullness. The example of Saint Joseph alone should suffice in destroying this modern misconception of manhood.
St Maximilian Kolbe, a Man of Strength and Purity
Next I will briefly unveil another great man, another saint, who also died a virgin, the Saint of Auschwitz, Maximilian Kolbe. This man accepted as a child the duel crowns of virginity and martyrdom, from the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. He accepted death willingly and submitted himself to any and all suffering with nothing but a noble love burning in his soul. “For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more,” he said, owing his fortitude to love of and confidence in his Immaculate Mother. These words testify to a superb manhood and a dazzling furnace of strength. Such words are from the mouth of a virginal soul.
The Heroic Struggle for Virtue
In this satanic age, virginity is a curse for young men. They are a laughing stock if they do not begin quickly, and begin well, 'conquering' women in the name of misunderstood virility. What a crying shame this is. Consider which is more masculine: to do what is difficult, or to do what is easy? Anyone could tell you the answer. To turn away from pleasure, and choose rather to struggle; this is the way of men. To sacrifice ourselves, so others can have it easier; this is the way of men. Likewise, to give oneself wholly to God, to serve Him alone, to sacrifice all, this is also the most masculine of endeavours. To indulge in lustful passions and be chained by them, despising responsibility, despising commitment, this is clearly foreign to any conception of masculine virtue.
Chastity is heroic. There is no other way to put it. In a time where lustful images are plastered across every surface of modern life, to simply look away, to cast one’s eyes down, requires a frightful strength. To fight against the tide, against all lust, against the whole world and against the devil; what a manly feat! Internet pornography is available at the touch of a button. This truly is one of the vilest creations of the modern world and one of the most destructive enemies of masculinity. It destroys manhood even before it has blossomed, forcing a man into a stupor without him realising the cause, or that there is any other way to live.
Look to Virtuous Men Today
We should look to good priests, monks and friars as the true bastions of masculinity, those who have consecrated themselves to God and have committed themselves to a life of total chastity. These truly are the ones who portray the virtues associated with manhood most perfectly. They are men of sacrifice, moderation, self-denial, courage, fortitude, and have skewered comfort on a stake.
After these, look to men who live out chastity in their marriage, committing to one wife, regulating their passions in a well-ordered and Godly manner, sacrificing themselves and their pleasures for the good of children. Not despising pleasure, of course, but understanding it as a means to an end: the creation of new souls, new worshippers for the Heavenly Court.
To quote our awesome Saint, Maximilian Kolbe once more: “Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future.” These words shed light on why today’s understanding of manhood is so off track. It is the work of the enemy and the opposite of reality.
The Cross as the Complete Embodiment of Masculinity
Finally, we consider the perfect man, Jesus Christ: a virgin, sinless, pure beyond comparison, totally chaste. A man embracing His cross and a gruesome death; His flesh tattered and torn as recompense for our sins against chastity. A man teaching all men, married, single, and consecrated, how to live chastely.
The Cross is the embodiment of masculinity. It is the emblem of manhood. There is simply no better way to gauge what it means to be a man than by looking at the Divine Man dying a most ignoble death, and suffering out of love. Contrast this with modern man, drifting from bar to bar, drinking, dancing, enhancing himself for personal gain and to indulge his passions. The contrast with the real Passion is shocking! Look at the Cross, men; it is our future!
Henry Walker is 24 years old, a traditional Catholic and a freelance writer, focusing on the Mass, Catholic devotions and his encounters with the Faith from a personal standpoint. He originally hoped to be a journalist, but ended up (somehow) pursuing a career in Engineering. As a single Catholic man, born in the nineties, he wants to share with other young men what he has come to discover as the greatest treasure and blessing: the Catholic Faith! Aside from this, he likes to keep fit: box, run, and climb beautiful mountain ranges.