I’ve found that many men find it difficult to talk about deeply personal things such as faith.
I’m not suggesting you introduce yourself like this: “Hi, my name is Steve, nice to meet you. Here are my six things I struggle with in my faith.” But over time, building up trust with each other to have deeper conversations will lead to more understanding, support for each other in faith, and a recognition that we all have issues we are working on.
This issue, we feature the Community of Transcendent Men, a group of men from several parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis who help each other grow deeper in faith and in their role as spiritual leaders. A common refrain heard from some of the men is the importance of having a group of men to talk with about important things.
“That was the first time I was ever around a group of men where it was OK to talk about something important. We didn’t have to just talk about sports or other silly stuff,” said Mark Benson, a member of the Community of Transcendent Men, referring to an ACTS retreat.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with talking about sports. But moving beyond those conversations, especially in the realm of speaking about one’s faith, is challenging but incredibly rewarding.
I found that to be true through the men on several ACTS retreats at my parish. It was a little jarring to hear men that were friends, acquaintances or strangers speaking so openly about their faith and their personal journey, but it helped me find ways to be more open. The men of the Community of Transcendent Men found it with that group. This takes time, trust and commitment.
There are many groups to join — groups for men, groups for women, groups for teens. Check your parish for upcoming retreats, see about prayer or Bible study groups to join. If none exist, grab some friends and start your own.
But however you do it, find ways to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with people of faith. You may just find that it benefits you, benefits others and benefits the Church.