I am a devout Catholic Gentleman. Every Sunday I go to Mass. I go to confession. I own several Catechisms. The whole nine yards. But I wasn’t always a devout Catholic Gentleman.
I had to become a devout Catholic Gentleman. It’s a choice that must be made. And a choice many young men have to make My hope is to share my story and some tips on how you can grow in your Catholic faith if you so choose.
I’m going to share some of the steps that I took to grow and learn more about my faith. I learned the hard way through trial and error. My hope is that by reading this post you’ll become a devout Catholic a bit faster than I did.
Cafeteria Catholic Upbringing
I grew up in a typical Catholic household. We were culturally Catholic, but we were not the best practicing Catholics. I hated going to Mass every Sunday. Going to Mass was boring. I had no idea what was going on. I’m not even sure if we had a Bible in the house growing up. The irony is I was very involved at my local parish.
I went through Sunday school. Then in high school, I went to the weekly youth group, which was something I despised. (Personally, I think youth groups are a scam, but that’s a topic for another day.) I went on two mission trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I even worked in the front office every Tuesday. Yet I didn’t know a damn thing about my faith.
Don’t get me wrong. I was proud to be Catholic. Most Cafeteria Catholics are proud of their faith. They just know nothing about it. Cafeteria Catholics pick and choose what aspects of Catholicism to believe like a person picking out their food in a cafeteria. Hence the name Cafeteria Catholic.
Come to Jesus Moment
This all changed in college. I went to Hillsdale College, one of the most conservative colleges in the United States. And that’s when I encountered Evangelical Christians for the first time.
Evangelicals know their Bible really really well. They can spit out Bible verses like Eminem in a rap battle. And they do not like Catholics.
I, being the proud Catholic that I was, walked into a lion’s den and was eaten alive. This led me to retreat and I became an un-proud Catholic. I was still Catholic, but I was reserved. It was humiliating. And I stayed like this for a few years.
One day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and he asked me, “Why don’t you go to Mass? You claim to be Catholic but you never go.” I had no good response. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I had been humbled, and now I realized I was a hypocrite.
That night I contacted one of my devout Catholic buddies and said, “I need to take my faith seriously. Where do I start?”
What I Did
The next morning I was filled with nervousness as I grabbed brunch with my Catholic friend and we made a plan. Looking back at it, the plan was shockingly simple. But at the moment it seemed like a lot. The plan was to go to confession. I hadn’t been to confession in years. Then I was to pray every day a Hail Mary, a Glory Be, and an Our Father. And go to Mass every Sunday.
From these humble steps, I started my journey of becoming a Catholic Gentleman. And I have grown in my faith immensely since that day. A mustard seed is small, but if you plant it and tend to it you will grow a tree.
What You Can Do To Become a Devout Catholic Gentleman
If you’re looking to grow deeper in your faith and become a devout Catholic here are some steps you can take.
Go To Confession
If you’re looking to become a devout Catholic, chances are you haven’t been to confession in a while. It’s usually at an inconvenient time on a Saturday at a Catholic church, and telling your sins to a Priest is awkward. The awkwardness fades as you get more experience with it. But you need to go to confession. It’s sacrilege to take communion while in the state of mortal sin. And if you haven’t been to confession in years, I’ll bet you have some mortal sins on your soul.
To find out when your parish has confession go to their website or check out MassTimes.org.
When you go to confession tell the priest it’s been a while since you last went to confession. He’ll help you get through it.
Don’t worry about knowing every sin you’ve ever committed. Say the big ones that are on your heart. There are plenty of guides out there on how to prepare yourself for confession. Here are a pdf and a video. Don’t overthink it.
The first time I went to confession, I was a nervous wreck. I stumbled through it and then on my way out I accidentally knocked over a crucifix and cussed. I’m sure yours will go better.
Pray every day. Start small. Two to three minutes is more than enough time. If you don’t know what to say, start with what I did. One Hail Mary, one Glory Be, and one Our Father. It’s your time to talk to God. It’ll feel weird at first, but you get used to it.
A few prayer starters:
- Say thank you. If life is going well, thank God for all of it. He created the world. He created you. So these good times are because of him. Thank him.
- Ask for Help. Maybe life isn’t going well. Luckily God is all-powerful. he can make it better
- Get something off your chest. God is all-knowing and all-loving. He knows you did it and he will forgive you.
Soon you’ll work your way up to saying rosaries. The holy rosary is a great resource of calm and joy. Since I started saying daily rosaries my spiritual life has greatly improved. Praying for the Virgin Mary to intercede on your behalf is powerful.
Go to Mass
This one is obvious. The Eucharist puts you in communion with Jesus. It’s important and you can get it every day if you want to but at the very least get it every Sunday.
Quit Watching Porn
This one is awkward and very specific. But you have to quit watching porn. Be a man. I’ve never met a Christian man who didn’t struggle with pornography, and it’s a growing problem for women as well. Real men don’t watch porn.
Pornography and masturbation are mortal sins. You are choosing to separate yourself from God. Luckily there’s confession and plenty of resources for quitting porn use out there. Here are a few: Strive 21, Covenant Eyes, Fight the New Drug, Fortify, Art of Manliness(Article), and Ed Latimore(Article).
Porn will interfere with your catholic faith and quitting will likely be harder than you think. If I can be honest, It took me a long time to get it under control and I still slip up from time to time. But beginning the process of removing addictions is absolutely necessary for growing in your faith and becoming an authentic man.
There is so much to learn and you will never learn it all. The timeless wisdom of the catholic church has been developed over 2000 years and this doesn’t include the old testament. Below are some resources that have helped me learn more about my faith.
I’d suggest learning about Pope John Paul II. He’s very approachable and wrote a lot about what’s going on in such confusing times. St. Francis De Sales has plenty to say on what it takes to be the catholic gentlemen of our times. Ignatius Press has tons of great resources for further learning. Matt Fradd also has a Marian consecration that’s very good.
The most obvious way to learn is to go to Masa and just listen to the liturgy.
Read the Bible. I try to read one chapter a day. Over time you’ll get through it all. Reading the Bible will teach you about Catholicism and will provide valuable insight on how to live a good Christian life.
The Bible can be intimidating to be reading. It’s not uncommon to find Bibles that come with commentary. These are Study Bibles. I recommend The Word on Fire Bible. Importantly it’s a great place to start before just jumping into a standard Bible.
I highly recommend Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. Frankly, Chesterton, in general, has become one of my favorite authors. He’s influenced my understanding of what it means to be a Catholic gentleman more than any other author. Other authors to consider are Scott Hahn, Matt Fradd, and Jimmy Akin. There are countless other books to read. These suggestions don’t even include books by church fathers like Thomas Aquinas or Augustine.
Catholic Podcasts / YouTube Channels
- Word on Fire – Done by Bishop Robert Baron. It’s an excellent resource for learning about your faith.
- Pints With Aquinas – Hosted by Matt Fradd this Catholic podcast isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues of our time.
- Ascension Presents – Hosted by Father Mike Schmidt. I’ll be honest. This one doesn’t do it for me. However, I know a lot of Catholics who really enjoy what they make.