Recently I was approached by Sam Guzman who has a blog called The Catholic Gentleman. He is promoting the idea that virtue, sanctity and chivalry are ideals that men ought to aim for if they are to be fully masculine because they are ideals that all people should subscribe to. I would encourage men (and women too) to check it out.
Recently Sam has created a subscription based online community of his readers called Fraternitas. As part of the membership there is a book club in which each person can receive free copies of the monthly book. I was honored that for the inaugural book club webinar, he chose The Little Oratory, the book I co-wrote with Leila Lawler and which is published by Sophia Institute Press. Sam wanted me to talk about beauty and masculinity.
He wanted the highlighting of this book to be the starting point for a discussion about beauty in family prayer, liturgical prayer and then how men in particular can contemplate beauty.
We discussed how a prayer life centered on the Sacred Liturgy, especially that which includes prayer in the home with the Liturgy of the Hours - can form us and that this is something that forms us so that we appreciate beauty more and become more inspired in our contributions to a beautiful culture. Also, I was at pains to point out that if we do anything beautifully - gracefully - we are doing it better even in narrow utilitarian terms. That includes activities that we think of innately masculine and not normally associated with beauty.
I also discussed how gardening for beauty, and yes I mean growing flowers, is as much a masculine thing to do with your backyard as cultivating vegetables or chickens. And if you don't have a backyard it can be in a plant pot on the windowsill of you 5th floor apartment!
To hear the webinar, which includes Sam's fascinating insights and responses to my points, you should go to his Fraternitas page, here.
While you ponder over it. Here is my artistic contribution. The chivalrous knight of the New Evangelization, with his copy of the Divine Office next to him as he prays in the Spirit, through Christ, and to the Father.