We as brothers of Pater Noster household at Franciscan University of Steubenville recognize that all men are called to live out the virtues of fatherhood. The longing for God is present in every human heart. As Christian men, we seek to emulate God the Father. Out of this, it is natural that all men are called to lead others to mystery of the Trinity through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Just as Jesus called together the twelve apostles, likewise, are we as brothers of Pater Noster household, called to follow God’s will in our lives. This personal calling from God is especially evident when God sent Jesus to earth for our common salvation: “… as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) We as brothers and as men of Pater Noster household are called to lead others to the Gospel, just as Jesus inspired countless others to the one truth. From this, men are called to rise above the mediocrity of society and to: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Therefore, we, as brothers of Pater Noster household, have dedicated ourselves to the five charisms of leadership, humility, prudence, self-sacrifice, and self-mastery in order to fulfill our paternal calling as men of God, our Heavenly Father.
We, the brothers of Pater Noster household, recognize the importance of Christian leadership to be fundamental in the physical, mental, and spiritual development of ourselves and of others. Our common calling, as men, is to live out the virtues of fatherhood, which is understood as a position of authority over and responsibility to others. “… Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) We, as men are called to lead others to Christ. We, therefore, are called to sacrifice ourselves for the love of our brothers and sisters. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
We, as brothers of Pater Noster household, realize the importance of humility in our relationships with others. We respect the union between humility and fatherhood. We follow in the example of Mary, the exemplar of Christian humility: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) In all of this we recognize the importance of humility in order for us to enter into a deeper spiritual life with our Lord Jesus Christ, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
We as brothers understand the importance of Prudence in our lives. Prudence helps us to recognize the good and evil in our lives in order for us to make right choices that bring us closer to God the Father. We respect the fact that the choices we make in our everyday lives directly affect our wellbeing. We also realize that we must exercise the virtue of prudence not only in the big things in life but also in the small things. If a brother does not use prudence in the small things of life, then how can he be expected to use prudence in important situations?
We recognize that the heart of the Christian faith lies in each individual’s personal imitation of Christ. As brothers we realize that our final goal in this life is to enter into the Heavenly Kingdom through uniting ourselves to the divine mystery of the Triune God. God is love. Therefore, in order for us to enter into the Holy Family of the Trinity, we must imitate the self-giving love, which is the very essence of God. We must become adopted sons of God the Father through Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit.
It is hard for one to define ‘self-mastery’ because the idea goes beyond the extents of human language. This self-mastery is in essence the fatherhood of oneself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines self-mastery as “a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.” (CCC 2342) And “the alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or lets himself be dominated by them.” (CCC 2339) This work that we must be doing is temperance, one of the cardinal virtues. According to New Advent, temperance can be defined as the righteous habit, which makes a man able to govern his natural desire for pleasure. As Saint Paul said “… older men should be temperate … Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech.” (Titus 2:1-8) Self-mastery is a personal choice to live, eat, and sleep in a way that reflects the greater glory of God.
As brothers of Pater Noster household, we recognize the immense gift that Jesus Christ gave to us in the Lord’s Prayer. As Jesus tells us, “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Through this devotion we can learn how to become better fathers and leaders in society. This hearkens back to the universal vocation of all men to live out the virtues of fatherhood.
Lastly, as brothers in faith, we look to the examples of the saints to guide us in our everyday lives. Two saints who exemplify our call to fatherhood are Saints Simon of Cyrene and John Bosco. Saint Simon of Cyrene lived during the time of Jesus and actually helped Jesus carry his cross on the road to Calvary. Simon was the devoted father of Alexander and Rufus, who later became missionaries in the early Church. Saint John Bosco was a priest. And although not a physical father, he was a spiritual father to the orphans with whom he worked. John Bosco was the ideal spiritual father who even led one of his students, Dominic Savio, to be a saint. Through the intercessions of both these saints we hope to become better fathers and men of God.
We, as brothers of Pater Noster household, in order to live up to the perfect example of paternal love found in the Lord’s Prayer, devote ourselves to these five charisms, and continually seek the intervention of Saints Simon of Cyrene and John Bosco.