Emily and I drove home from the hospital in complete silence. The gravity of the moment eleven years ago hit me: we were responsible for someone else’s life. Gulp.
At this time, I had been a Catholic for only three years. Through conversion, I fell in love with the theology and the sacraments. Yet, I had not come to know Jesus in my heart. Had I known him in my heart, I probably would have not been struck with such uncertainty on that drive home.
Three years ago, faithful men brought to the Paradisus Dei program That Man is You! to my parish.
Each year includes 26 weekly lessons that are grouped into two semesters. The lessons mix scripture, Church teaching and secular information (economics, sociology, and medicine) to provide both a foundation for authentic male Christian leadership and practical ways to grow closer to God. We meet weekly from 6:00 – 7:15 am and enjoy breakfast, discussions and fellowship after each lesson.
The three year program breaks into the following themes:
Year 1 – Becoming a Man after God’s Own Heart. In the first semester, we learned about authentic male leadership, using the example of King David’s life of triumph and sin. We focused in the second semester on understanding our own temptations to sin. I was especially moved by the idea of finding God in the face of others.
Year 2 – A Light to the Nations. In the second year, we focused on our relationship with our wives. This was eye-opening because we dove in-depth on the story of Job. We learned about the union of man and woman and then followed the mystery of the family through Biblical history.
Year 3 – Revelation of the Father. Due to a change in the program cycle, our parish did Year 2 twice. I think the Holy Spirit wanted us to pay special attention! So, I look forward in August to begin the examination of my relationship with my children, modeled after St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus.
It’s been a wonderful journey to learn more about my vocation as husband and father. There are so many lessons over 78 hours of lessons. The knowledge from the program has helped me grow closer to God and provide authentic Christian leadership of my family.
If you are interested in the program, visit the Find a Location page on their web site. The program is available in over 400 parishes in North America. If there is not one at your parish, Paradisus Dei will provide you a kit and a timeline to help you start a group.
“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.”