On Sunday, July 9th, Kings of Summer will pivot from the problem to the solution. We have been exploring the theme of acedia, or spiritual sloth through 2 Samuel, and now we’ll explore how spiritual fatherhood can overcome it. For those who missed the first part, it’s a great time to jump in.
David was living as a man after God’s own heart, who won victory after victory and united the Israelites under his rule. At a certain point, however, he took his eyes off his responsibilities as king and father and allowed them to wander in the wrong direction. Acedia led to lust, which in turn led to murder. David repented but still had to find his way back to the right path before God.
The second half of our exercise will focus on spiritual fatherhood, the embrace of our duty as men that will overcome our spiritual malaise. We cannot put off the most important things. We must embrace them, lean into our duties, and give of ourselves to build up others. A spiritual father leads others to God and helps them to grow in the Christian life.
Continuing to follow David, we will see what happens when we neglect this role. Chaos ensues, with the effects of David’s sins rippling throughout his family and kingdom. He has a close call in Absolam’s rebellion and has to flee his capital city. He does get his house in order and, in doing so, provides a model for us to follow. He learns to love and attend to his family more deeply. He takes up his duties in a more vigorous way again.
In David, we see both the problem and the solution. We too can get distracted, becoming listless so that we avoid our duties to God and our family. Sometimes it takes a fall to wake us up. We must be reminded that we are pursuing freedom not just for ourselves but for all those in our care.
Spiritual fatherhood is for all men, not just biological fathers. Christian men are called to provide for, protect, and care for others. We can all exercise these essential roles in some way. We’ll look at what spiritual fatherhood means and how we can grow in it as Christian men.
Who do you think needs to hear this message? Let’s invite more men from our parishes and neighborhoods to join in. The midpoint of Kings of Summer gives us a perfect opportunity to grow our fraternities and get new ones started.
Renewal of Christian masculinity and spiritual fatherhood is desperately needed today. Let’s do our part to keep growing and helping other men to do the same.
Who’s been the king of your Summer? Start overcoming Summer sloth today by reading through 2 Samuel with us and following King David’s example!
Dr. Staudt serves as Director of Content for Exodus and as an Instructor for the Lay Division of St. John Vianney Seminary. He is the author of How the Eucharist Can Save Civilization (TAN), Restoring Humanity: Essays on the Evangelization of Culture (Divine Providence Press) and The Beer Option: Brewing a Catholic Culture Yesterday & Today (Angelico Press). He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Ave Maria University and B.A. and M.A. in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). He and wife, Anne, have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.