Monday 5 December 2016

Behold the Man - Harold Burke-Sivers - A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality

Behold the Man: 
A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality
Harold Burke-Sivers
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781586178871
eISBN 9781681496757

At the beginning of last year I made a list of 32 Catholic books I had purchased over the last few years and made a commitment to try and read and review them all over the year. It started as A Year of Reading Intention. This book was on the original list but over the year my goal expanded, currently there are 93 books on the list and of those 93, and I have read 73 of them and this will be the 67th Catholic book to be reviewed that was read this year. 

I was first attracted to this book by its cover. I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but the close up of the rosary and hands clasped in prayer. I do not know who had recommended it; I can think of a number of Christian men I know who might have posted about this book. But as some point I had picked it up. So when I was going through my eReading apps to make a list of books I had but had yet to read, this title was only a few months old. It is one of a few books dealing with manhood from a Catholic perspective I have read this year. Including Be A Man by Fr. Larry Richards and Catholics Wake Up by Jesse Romero. Each of these books offers something different to the dialogue. 

The Chapters in this book are:
Foreword by Archbishop Alexander K. Sample
Chapter One: Biblical Manhood
Chapter Two: Covenant Relationship
Chapter Three: Sin and Forgiveness
Chapter Four: Truth and Freedom
Chapter Five: Theology of the Body
Chapter Six: Fatherhood
Chapter Seven: Work
Chapter Eight: The Armor of God
Suggestions for Further Reading

This book draws extensively from church history. To the point that there are 12 primary sources that Deacon Harold draws from to the extend he uses abbreviations for them. Those twelve are composed of the Catechism, 3 Documents from Vatican II, 7 writings of Saint John Paul II, and one Encyclical from Pope Benedict.  And he has almost 120 secondary sources that are quoted in this book. To say that this book is pretty packed full would be an understatement. If it was a meal it would be meat and potatoes, and with a second helping of meat.

Now some might be concerned that with so many sources this book would read like an academic dissertation, but those fears would be completely unfounded. This book from a reading level was a very easy read, and extremely engaging. From a spiritual or personal level not so much. It is one thing to read about being a better man, it is something altogether different to actually apply that knowledge; to learn to live it out day by day. That might be why Deacon Harold provides so many resources at the end of the book for the readers to take this teaching further. In some ways this book makes me think about the 1975 version of the movie Rollerball, James Caan's character - Jonathan E is growing in knowledge, but the more knowledge he attains the harder his life becomes, the more difficult his choices. But like Jonathan once we read this book we will not be able to not remember it. We will carry that knowledge forward. 

The write up about this book states "What is authentic male Catholic spirituality? What distinguishes it from Protestant male spirituality? How does masculine spirituality complement feminine spirituality? These questions and many more are answered in this book." And it truly does a wonderful job of that. 

Not only was this a great read in and of itself. But it is an amazing jumping off pint. Having 128 primary and secondary sources that can lead to further reading it also has a whole sections dedicated suggestions for going deeper. And that list has 42 books, dvd's, websites and ministries.

This book was an excellent read. It was so good I have already picked up another of Deacon Harold's books and added it to next year's reading list. If you want to grow in all areas of manhood as a Catholic, as a Christian than this book is for you, but be prepared to be challenged!

Books by Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers:
Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality
The Mass in Sacred Scripture
Father Augustus Tolton: The Slave Who Became the First African-American Priest
Be Strong in the Lord: Spirituality for Men
Ignite: Pray the Bible Like Never Before with Sonja Corbitt

Contributed to:
Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man
Your Marriage: Leader Guide
From Slave to Priest

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

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