Book on manliness

I’ve read wild at heart, I’ve read the german monk Anselm Grün.

And now I’m trying to read how to be a real good man, strong like David. Wild like John the baptist. Soft and strong like Jesus…

However I don’t know which books could assist, I decided to read something on the desert fathers. And I don’t know what else to read I thought about Benedicts Jesus of Nazareth but I’m not sure what’s a good book. Please help. :slight_smile:

Read “Be a Man” by Father Larry Richard

Thanks brother, do you have any other ideas?

The Desert Fathers are always especially good to read for a soul.

Since manliness is in restraining and governing the passions, rather than as the world teaches, giving into them – which is effeminacy and softness and slavery – since manliness is having authority over oneself, the desert fathers are a perfect choice for study to teach interior reign over one’s soul… The monks and hermits who gave up everything and spent their whole lives battling the world, the flesh, and the devils in the barren wilderness…

Now there are some men full of holiness, worth imitating…

'A brother should guard his heart and senses with every precaution, because while we live in this life we are in a great war and the Enemy rages above all against those struggle, running hither and thither, as Holy Scripture says, “seeking whom he may devour” (1 St. Peter 5:8). He must, then, offer stalwart resistance to this foe, calling on God as his ally.

As for him who has made compromises with his passions, how will he war against them, since he has sold himself as a slave to pleasures and with all eagerness pays taxes to the tyrant? Where there is enmity, there is also war; and where there is war, there a struggle is waged; and where there is a struggle, crowns are offered.

If then, anyone wishes to be freed from bitter slavery, let him undertake a war against the Enemy, this is what the Saints did, and after vanquishing the Enemy, they were deemed worthy of heavenly good things.

But perhaps someone will ask: “If where there is enmity against the passions it is natural for war to occur there, as you say, how are we to look upon lovers of pleasure, who, fiercely beset by disgraceful passions, are yet unable to change?” I would respond to this: “I do not believe, my beloved, that theirs is a struggle in accordance with virtue and a spirit of resistance against the Tyrant. It is more likely that they have surrendered to the passion of voluptuousness, to which they are enslaved, and which besets them.”’

St. Emphraim

You’re never going to meet a male saint who’s not as manly as they come. Just like you’re never going to find a female saint who’s not as womanly as they come. Because following God with all your heart and soul completes your humanity, leads you to understand who you really are and come to full realization of your personhood.

So: read the saints! Read their lives! Follow the Lord with all your heart. If you do this, you won’t have to worry about manliness at all. :thumbsup:

Books of Wisdom, Sirach, and Proverbs… Imitation of Christ.

Are you kidding me? Being ‘a man’ is showing control - have you seen how they behave at a sporting event? You are alluding to stoicism and epicureanism, not gender roles.

I am not certain what you mean – I do not hear much about self control going on at modern sporting events? What do you mean?

Have you understood what I wrote? Let me rephrase.

I said that effeminacy was in giving into the passions, which was softness and slavery. Effeminacy and softness are pretty much of the same meaning, a bit repetitive there… in Catholic terminology. And since it’s a vice, slavery.

And that the world teaches one is manly when one gives into passion, rather than governs and restrains it. No? Than ‘manly’ man of the world can’t wait to give into ‘romance’, eat a huge meal gluttonously, and behave rudely and crudely to satisfy himself, less like a man of reason than an animal. But the ‘manly’ man of Christianity is quite the opposite. His desires are different and he restrains the vices.

He governs and conquers all softness and excessive desires, and has the virtue of severity when it need be applied. The forgotten virtue of severity – it is a -virtue-. :slight_smile:

Try the Summa on the vice of effeminacy. That might do it! :slight_smile:

'You know the temper of the times – how many there are who love to live delicately and shrink from whatever requires manhood and generosity; who, when ailments come, discover in them sufficient reasons for not obeying the salutary laws of the Church, thinking the burden laid upon them more than they can bear, when they are told to abstain from certain kinds of food or to fast during a few days in the year. It is not to be wondered at if, weakened by these habits of indulgence, they gradually give themselves up body and soul to the more imperious passions.

It is therefore necessary to recall to the paths of moderation those who have fallen or who are likely to fall through this sort of effeminacy.

Therefore those who speak to the people should lay it down persistently and clearly that according not only to the law of the Gospel, but even to the dictates of natural reason, a man is bound to govern himself and keep his passions under strict control, and moreover, that sin cannot be expiated except by penance.’

Pope Leo XIII

‘And so as we ought to be careful not to fall into dangerous effeminacy through desire for bodily gratification, nor indulge ourselves with eating before the right time nor take too much, so also we ought to refresh ourselves with food and sleep at the proper time even if we dislike it.’

Abba Moses

Read St. Augustine’s Confessions

I take issue with the use of ‘effeminacy’ as being ‘Bad’ and that being ‘manly’ is somehow inherently ‘Good’.

I have no problem with ‘Meemai’ wanting to be more manly. More power to him. However, your post (#4) equates gender roles to virtue, or lack thereof. I suggested a redirection - to philosophy (stoicism -v- epicureanism) as I believe what you attribute to ‘manliness’ is actually stoicism, and can be found in both men and women, just as epicureanism is not confined to one gender or the other. :cool:

Perhaps you have a different definition.

Effeminacy is the name of a vice in Catholic teaching – so – it is bad. I don’t know if you have a different perhaps more secular definition of the word for yourself, sounds like you likely have, so you need to consider the difference if that’s the case? In Catholic teaching it has a specific meaning and definition. It’s a vice. Vices are bad.

It’s a bad thing to be unable to resist a passion or emotion. It’s a bad thing to not be able to control oneself and to have to do whatever you feel like doing – that’s what animals are like, no reason, no self control.

But man was created in the image of God. That’s worth reading about.

One’s feelings are always wrong and corrupted in many ways before one has advanced to the end of the path of virtue. If a person can’t rein them in, then that person’ll just be sinning one way or another. (Matthew 15:19) Whether it’s adultery as one repeatedly desire someone God forbidden, or gluttony, because a person keeps desiring the food, and is too soft to give it up, or injustice, because a person’s too soft to do justice it’s too harsh for the malformed feelings… The vice of not being able to overcome your emotions because of the hardship and pain however small… is a problem.

The three enemies are: the world, the flesh, and the devil. And all those will rule over someone whom emotion rules over reason. The devils can provoke desires and feelings temptations every day, every minute. So that’s slavery alright, not to be able to overcome 'em.

I just use the English dictionary. I still disagree with it for the reasons I already stated.

I have to second the book “Be A Man” by Fr Larry Richards. See if you can go to Life on the Rock - EWTN website and watch his interview. He is very outspoken.

My husband was given the book and it has changed his life. His prayer life has taken off like a shot and he has become much stronger but not in an angry, aggressive way way. Much more firm in his commitments, in his parenting and his life.

Women want a strong man who is a good leader and can stand beside them as a husband.

Since you are looking to grow in your spirituality, the best book I can recommend to you – a life-changing book – is “Abandonment to Divine Providence”. You have to read it slowly, stopping every so often to absorb what it’s teaching. If you read and understand the lessons taught by this amazing book now, when you’re young, it will save you a whole lot of trouble when you would normally have to learn later in life – when the lessons are punctuated with trials and difficulties that God provides for us to overcome.

I’ll recommend a few books for you, my friend.

“Surrender” by Larry Richards. It’s not entirely a masculine spirituality book, but it’s pretty darn close. Men can be kind of reserved with their emotions so the idea of surrender is good for us.

“The Virtue Driven Life” by Father Benedict Groeschel. Again, not 100% on masculine spirituality but virtues are much needed to be masculine.

Good luck in your search for good books!!

I recommend this book:

Iron John: A Book About Men (Available on Amazon and eBay)

In this deeply learned book, poet and translator Robert Bly offers nothing less than a new vision of what it is to be a man.Bly’s vision is based on his ongoing work with men and reflections on his own life. He addresses the devastating effects of remote fathers and mourns the disappearance of male initiation rites in our culture. Finding rich meaning in ancient stories and legends, Bly uses the Grimm fairy tale “Iron John,” in which the narrator, or “Wild Man,” guides a young man through eight stages of male growth, to remind us of archetypes long forgotten-images of vigorous masculinity, both protective and emotionally centered.Simultaneously poetic and down-to-earth, combining the grandeur of myth with the practical and often painful lessons of our own histories, Iron John is a rare work that will continue to guide and inspire men-and women-for years to come.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit