Be thou my vision is what we sang. May you be the one that I see and when I see you O Lord is what it means. And so then what does it mean to be a man? Jesus Christ reveals to us what it means to be a man. Not simply because he was a pious teacher: this wouldn’t help us. But by the fact that he is eternal God who has become man. He lived out his humanity and his maleness perfectly. And so he reveals to us perfectly what it means and how beautiful it is to be a man, fully alive in the world.
Be thou my vision also means, as Jesus also shows us, that who we are as men is only realised inasmuch as we are united with God. This is simple logic: God made each of us a man in his image, for him, and so we are only a man in its fullest sense of the word when fully united with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words: living our Catholic faith to the full does not make us weak or superstitious or stupid. For you young men, and you older men, to be a man means first of all to be as good a Christian as we can. And then, automatically, we become more and more ourselves and we become more and more an example and a light and a touchstone and a rock for others. As Saint Paul said in our first reading: For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
St Paul also speaks about suffering. The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save. In other words, Jesus’ own suffering teaches us something else about being a man on earth. To live on Earth is in part to suffer.
That’s firstly, you students, that your fathers suffer. You may or may not know what the sufferings of your father are, but it is important to remember at all times, especially those times when you are most irritated with your father, that your father has sufferings too: and that part of your job as a son is to have compassion for him and to love him and to help him and to be a rock for him. Do not be surprised sometimes when your father is not perfect: no earthly father is perfect. I know, I am a father and I am not perfect. And it bothers me sometimes.
And this is the same for all fathers. And this, fathers is something to never forget. Not to be discouraged by our sufferings or when we are not perfect. Because we all as fathers suffer and we all as fathers have limits and imperfections. But this is not a problem. Because we are all in this together. So don’t be afraid of your limits or how things are going. We have a father in heaven it has all things in his hands, and will always strengthen us when we turn to him. And likewise our sufferings are there to remind us that our sons suffer. We don’t always understand what is going on in them either, and this is frustrating. But our awareness of this helps us better have compassion for them and better be willing to sacrifice ourselves for them to help them to become the noble young men we want them to be.
And so entrust your sons everyday to God. This is part of your job as a father. It can be as simple as popping into the Church for 30 seconds, or saying a daily Hail Mary or Our Father for your son and for each of your children. Because as fathers, you have a stronger power of intercession for them than anybody else, in a certain sense more than a priest. So pray for your sons daily, without exception.