Men of virtue — or thoughts on ‘what is a gentleman?’

Men of virtue — or thoughts on ‘what is a gentleman?’

gentleman |ˈjentlmən|

noun ( pl. gentlemen )
a chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man: he behaved like a perfect gentleman.

-New Oxford American Dictionary-

The other day on the phone my son told me he sent flowers to his girlfriend who having an extremely busy week in the run-up to an international event her firm is hosting. Good move.

The next day I saw Facebook photos of my other son wearing a suit before a college homecoming dance, complete with a purple tie to flatter his girlfriend’s dress. Nice touch.

My husband and I recently went out to a pretty upscale French restaurant to mark our anniversary. And he brought a card, complete with a note inside from him. Words are big on my love-language list. This man never misses on this count. He is big on hand holding and door holding too. He’ll even hold my purse for me when asked.

This is the same man who helps me run a large bible study every week. He leads a discussion group. He helps set up and put away the supplies. He locks up and make sure everything is safe and secure when its over. His generous courtesies actions allow me to take final personal questions and visit with the participants who’d like to spend a little extra time. I’m grateful for it all.

For women, a man being a gentleman is not just about courtesy and gallant gestures… it’s more about the virtues that motivate them. It makes women ask: who is the man within?

In the last week my news feeds keep sending me gentlemanly posts and I thought I’d share a few with you.

In 4 Signs of a True Gentleman, Dale Partridge, now father to a daughter, is in a kind of quest to really be the first gentleman in his daughter’s life. He offers this as numero uno:

1. He Puts All Women Before Himself
Being a gentlemen has no bounds of an intimate relationship. It is a badge a man should carry with him at all times. A true gentlemen treats his mother, sisters, female friends and all feminine acquaintances with admiration and regard. He is in constant search of ways to honor and uphold the value of his female counterpart. Whether through listening, defending or affirming, a true gentlemen is a source of strength to all women, not just the one he desires.

- See the other 3 items.  

That’s a pretty tall order. Yet it is another way of saying, love your neighbor. Or extend respect to all women. For respect precedes love. I always told my daughter, back in her dating days… pay attention to how a man treats his mother and his sister. It will tell you much.

Over at CatholicMom.com, Ginny Moyer writes “What it Means to Be a “Gentleman” (And Why a Mom Should Care)“. In it she describes the gift of courtesy, too, and she also talks about a man’s inbred notion of the dignity of the human person — his treatment of the other — as a necessary core value.

A gentleman sees the innate human dignity of others, all others.  Remember in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s home and hears from the housekeeper about how well he treats all the workers on his estate?  Previously, she had accused him of not being a gentleman, but a testimony like that goes a long way towards altering her initial opinion.  You can be fairly certain you’re on a date with a gentleman when he is genuinely and unostentatiously kind to the guy who refills the water glasses.

Read the rest.

I came across a fairly young blog for men called, The Catholic Gentlemen, written by Sam Guzman, the communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. He is pretty direct in calling men not only to gentlemanly behavior, but to holiness. He writes that there is a “man crisis” in the Church today and his call to radical faith in the teachings of Christ and his Church. You’ll get a taste of that from this recent post post on “12 Ways to be a Committed Catholic Man. ” Besides calling men to a deep faith in Jesus Christ… his #5 on his list of 12 is all about the Eucharist.

Discover the majestic manliness of the Mass – The Mass is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, and yet, the majority of men claim to “be bored by the Mass” and to “not get anything out of the Mass”. This is because they don’t know what is occurring in the Mass: they have little understanding of the manly symbolism of the Mass, a Sacrament that has been devoutly passed down for 2000 years. They don’t realize that during the Mass they are witnesses to the actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If a man doesn’t actively participate in the Mass because of ignorance and boredom, he can’t receive the Graces that flow from the Eucharist. Learn the Mass to such a degree that you can explain it to others with the reverence and devotion that Christ’s Sacrifice deserves.

Read all 12 of Guzman’s list.

BONUS from Guzman: Chesterton’s Rule of Drinking.

The holiness factor — men with virtue — this is what we women are seeking.

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For Bob. God Gave Me You. #tbt

For Bob. God Gave Me You. #tbt

The ultimate “Throw-back Thursday” for you and me.

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October 23, 1982

At 22 I said “I do.” And I’d do it all again.

Ok, we gotta get better at this. This is the last photo I have of us -- from May?? (before I cut off my hair!)

Ok, we gotta get better at this. This is the last photo I have of us — from May?? (before I cut off my hair!)

Love this song!

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From Katie and Benjy’s Wedding, 2013… yeah, life is good.

 I have a little sign that hangs in our kitchen: “Happiness is being married to your best friend.”  Yup.

32 years. And a lifetime warranty.

 

:::

From the archives, at 30.

Zipping Down Country Lanes in New England… and walking them too…

Zipping Down Country Lanes in New England… and walking them too…

First, with an emphasis on zip…

Yes, we needed something other than MGB for the cooler weather… or maybe that was just needing something cooler. Period. (Let me tell you what a great husband I have….)

(Let me tell you what a great husband I have….he knows I’m a road warrior. He knows I love blue, too! )

Bob and I were sharing a car for while. But this summer, as he began a new job, he suggested I take this for a test drive… He didn’t have to ask twice. I’ve loved these cars since I saw one on vacation in 2003. 10+ years later, the “emptying nest”can handle this. As a former ad copywriter, I certainly appreciate zippy ad copy too, but I digress…

I'm in love with this little turbo!

I’m in love with this little turbo!

:::

Meanwhile, back on those country lanes, this is “high season” when “leaf peepers” from around the world visit New England and enjoy the fall foliage. We are about at about 30% “turned” right now, but things are getting more gorgeous by the day. Let me show you some of my local views. (FYI: You can click on the images to make them larger.)

I pass these ladies pretty regularly…

I pass these ladies pretty regularly…

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She is outstanding in her field.

She is outstanding in her field.

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Shadows getting longer...

Shadows getting longer in the afternoons…

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I love walking to these pastures.

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We have many ponds in our neighborhood. I love the cloud reflections after some recent rainfall.

Many ponds in our neighborhood. Love the reflections.

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”  (1 Chronicles 16: 31)”

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“…let the field exult, and everything in it!” (1 Chronicles 16:32)

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“Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before the LORD…” (1 Chronicles 16: 33)

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“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever!” (1 Chronicles 16: 34)

Around our yard…

St Francis feeds the birds.

St Francis feeds the birds.

Mary, with the "burning bush" behind her.

Mary, with the “burning bush” behind her.

Brady, not quite as heavy as the pumpkin.

This is Brady, my pumpkin-sized pooch. Clearly he is not impressed by it.

:::

Previous autumn posts… on leaf blowers.

From the archived Among Women blog: “God’s World” by Edna St Vincent Millay, plus a poem by Maria Johnson, and finally my photo essay on barns. 

 

This makes me think… just praise Him! Always!

Nothing, then, must keep us back, nothing separate us from him, nothing come between us and him. 

At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith, and keep him in our hearts, where we must love, honor, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and acclaim, magnify and thank, the most supreme and eternal God, Three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator of all, and Saviour of those who believe in him, hope in him, and who love him; without beginning and without end, he is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable and ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed and worthy of all praise.

-St Francis of Assisi-
Rule of 1221, Ch. XXIII*

 

 

 

*Source

 

Never forget. This is a day for prayer and memories, and renewed resolve.

Never forget. This is a day for prayer and memories, and renewed resolve.

I’m praying today. I’m remembering. I’m committing this nation in prayer to our Blessed Mother, the Patroness of the Americas. Let us pray for America’s leaders that they might have renewed resolve to fight terror threats and fight for the dignity of human persons everywhere.

“Terror attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot shake the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

- President George W. Bush-

“The moment to spend with a husband who loves me, or a sick friend, or a delicious new grandchild is here and now. Not some time later …. The nation learned this lesson all at once that horrible day in September 2001. The pictures stay with us — the fires and falling debris, and, most hauntingly, the faces. Look how young so many of them were, people who thought there would be much more time, a lot of ‘later’ when they could do all the things they really wanted to do. I grieve for their families — especially for those, like me, who haven’t found any trace of the people they loved. But I grieve even more for the people who died that day. They couldn’t know what we know now about the precious gift of time.”

- Cokie Roberts- contributing senior news analyst for NPR News-

Sept. 11, 2001, stands as the defining event of the 21st century. For me, 9/11 remains puzzling. It was the worst day of my life and the best day. It was the worst day because of the incomprehensible death, destruction and evil. Very soon after the attacks, we began to understand the threat posed by Islamic extremist terrorism.

Sept. 11 was also the best day because it put on display the very finest human instincts — compassion, courage, kindness, selflessness. First responders rushed into what they knew was a life-threatening emergency. Neighbors helped neighbors, and aid poured from good people all over the country and the world.

When people endure a traumatic event, they are either defeated or made stronger. On Sept. 11, I told New Yorkers, “I want you to emerge stronger from this.” My words were partially a hope and partially an observation that people in New York City handle big things better than little things. I could not be more proud of the way my city responded.

- Rudi Giuliani, former NYC mayor-



The F.U.N. Quotient… all God’s creatures small and… small…

And of course, I found a Boston Terrier duo…

This makes me think… about “those” people who put up with me…

Lord, this is the other person,
with whom I do not see eye to eye.
He belongs to you.
You have created him;
you have allowed him, it not wanted him,
to be just as he is.
If you can bear with him, my God,
then I too will bear with him and put up with him,
just as you bear with and put up with me.

- Karl Rahner-

On the Road in Wayne County

On the Road in Wayne County

I’m staying with my parents due to my mother’s long hospital stay and her subsequent recovery in a nursing home for rehab. As I travel through the local countryside, I’m pining for a better camera beyond my iPhone 4s. In recent weeks, I’ve been getting to know the highways and byways of this area and taking many photos of this landscape.

Over a dozen years ago, my folks, Jim and Cathy, transplanted themselves from cacophony of downstate Long Island (one of the most densely populated regions of the USA) to the upstate quietude of Wayne County, New York. Situated on the shore of the great Lake Ontario on its northern border, between Rochester to the west and Syracuse to the east, it’s got a varied history as the Erie Canal runs along its southern edge.

My daily drive to the nursing home takes me through farm and orchard country — especially apple orchards. Driving through the backroads, I spy many family farms and commercial growers, Amish and Mennonite homes and farms too. It’s a lot different than the country lanes I usually zip through in New England. 

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Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. — James 5: 7

 

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A few pics from around my parents’ yard…

 

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My Dad's old truck.

My Dad’s old truck.

 

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This is Lilly.

 

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"Good dog."

“Good dog.”

This makes me think…

The Church’s proclamation on the family finds its foundation in the life and preaching of Jesus, who lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth. He attended the wedding at Cana, which he honoured by performing the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11) and presented himself as the Bridegroom who unites himself to his Bride (cf. Jn 3:29). On the cross, he gave himself up with a love to the very end and, in his resurrected body, established new relationships among people. By revealing the fullness of divine mercy, Jesus allows man and woman to recover that “principle” according to which God unites them in one flesh (cf. Mt 19:4-6) and for which — by the grace of Christ — they are enabled to be faithful to each other and love each other forever. Therefore, the divine measure of conjugal love, to which spouses are called by grace, has its source in “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (EG, 36), the very heart of the Gospel.

Jesus, in assuming human love, also perfected it (cf. GS, 49), giving man and woman a new manner of loving, which has its foundation in the irrevocable faithfulness of God. In light of this, the Letter to the Ephesians has identified in the married love between a man and a woman, “the great mystery” which makes present in this world the love between Christ and the Church (cf.Eph 5:31-32). A married couple possesses the charism (cf. 1 Cor 7:7) of building up the Church with their spousal love and the task of the procreation and rearing of children. United in an indissoluble sacramental bond, the spouses live the beauty of love, fatherhood and motherhood and the dignity of participating, in this way, in God’s creative work.

 Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. GS, 47-52). This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. GS, 48), placing love at the center of the family and manifesting, at the same time, the truth of this love in counter distinction to the various forms of reductionism present in contemporary culture. The “true love between husband and wife” (GS, 49) implies a mutual gift of self and includes and integrates the sexual and affective aspects, according to the divine plan (cf. GS, 48-49). Furthermore, Gaudium et Spes, 48 emphasizes the grounding of the spouses in Christ. Christ the Lord “comes into the lives of married Christians through the Sacrament of Matrimony,” and remains with them. In the Incarnation, he assumes human love, purifies it and brings it to fulfillment. Through his Spirit, he enables the bride and groom to live their love and makes that love permeate every part of their lives of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are, so to speak, consecrated and, through his grace, they build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church (cf. LG, 11), so that the Church, in order to fully understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way.

-Instrumentum Laboris, par. 2,3, & 4-

“The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (in preparation for the Synod on the Family this fall)