Are you familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche’s übermensch? It’s pretty hard to define what it really means, but for starters, it would have to refer to a super man or a man above all men—and according to his philosophy, the übermensch is the creator of new values—such which appears when God is dead or when God ceases to exist.
Well, I don’t know if I should listen to an atheistic philosopher, or if I should I believe that he spoke of manliness way back when. In the modern era, what constitutes a manly man is often obscured by ideas of a person wearing skimpy clothes and adopting to a metrosexual lifestyle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The thing is, the individuality factor of modern man has cast a shadow upon his pursuit for oneness with God. It’s like man is chasing the concept of becoming his personal übermensch, that he forgets his very responsibility as a Christian. And modern man thinks that Christianity makes a man less of himself!
Ladies, you may want to back away. I do believe that men and women are made different yet equal in the eyes of God, but I’m here to talk about Christian men and our identity as brothers in Christ!
And what could be manlier than Christianity? For generations on end, we have had manly saints getting themselves crucified, fed to the lions and tortured in the name of Our Lord.
Over the course of history, manly men led the Church: Men like Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo and Cyril of Alexandria, with their iron will, spread the truth of Christianity throughout the civilized world, continuing what the manly Apostles did.
And what about the Middle-Ages, where the manly crusaders fought to defend the west against the Saracen and Seljuk invaders? Chivalry and honor have always been part of Christianity, most especially in Catholicism.
There are a lot of Catholic figures in history which have made a name for themselves. We have Don John of Austria, for example, who led the Holy League against the Ottoman fleets during the Battle of Lepanto. Then we have John Paul II, who became one of the key figures contributing to the fall of the Communist regimes and the so-called “second world.” Manly men they are, indeed.
It’s no wonder that others often label the Church as misogynous—when it is not: It is because the Church elevates the faithful man into a level of being an übermensch, being the goal of humanity.
But this concept of being an an over-man isn’t what Nietzsche and other existentialist/nihilist philosophers wished to put into perspective!
The Knight of the Immaculata and the Saint of Auschwitz, St. Maximilian Kolbe, wrote that
“He who advances according to the will of God is really a superman, a supernatural being who rises infinitely higher than all geniuses.”
And he is right. St. Maximilian’s view of the over-man is quite different from the atheistic viewpoint of that of Nietzsche’s—which the latter assumes is not Christian.
Also, what could be manlier than someone who submits to the will of the Creator in heaven, and who submits to the will of His very manly son, Jesus Christ, who out of His “macho-ness,” suffered and died for the remission of our sins?
The pursuit of manliness cannot start within ourselves—by ourselves, but with the aid of the Lord, Our God, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He sees us in every waking moment that we cry. He sees us when we are weak—when we are lamenting over something. He sees us when we get so emotional that we feel that the world’s ending. He sees us when the world’s stereotype of manliness disappears from ourselves.
So what does it take to be a manly-man? It takes courage—the courage to cast down our worldly possessions and carry our cross: The courage to imitate Christ, His humility, His meekness and His obedience to the Father above. It takes the courage to feel the pains of the crucifixion and the willpower to embrace suffering.
I don’t see how any of that could be manlier. In fact, we become closer to perfection whenever we do the will of God and stand firm in the faith which His Spirit established in us.
In everything that we do, in all things we do for His glory, always think that these things will turn us into a better man—a macho man, much akin to the crusaders, Church Fathers, and great men we’ve had in the past.
Are you a faithful Catholic-Christian? Then think of yourself as a true man, like one of the apostles, following the footsteps of Jesus Christ, doing the Father’s will and inspired by the Holy Spirit to become an übermensch according to God’s precepts.