What are the Obstacles Between Men and Christ?

by Randy Hain | October 11, 2018 12:04 am

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


As long as we live in the world our life is a constant struggle between love for Christ or giving into lukewarmness, to our passions, or to comfort seeking, which destroys love. Faithfulness to Christ is forged each day by struggling against what separates us from him, and by an effort to make progress in virtue. Then they will be faithful both when times are good and when they are difficult, when it seems few remain by Our Lord’s side. (Francis Fernandez)


I recall a conversation with a Catholic friend over lunch some time ago about the obstacles between men and Christ. After the usual story swapping and a discussion about bad cultural influences, my friend left the table saying, “I need to get back to the office. Next time we get together we should brainstorm a handy checklist for Catholic men so we won’t forget what we are supposed to be doing!” The conversation stuck with me and the checklist idea eventually became this post.

As I pondered the obstacles keeping me from Christ, and those shared by other Catholic men I have encountered over the years since my conversion into the Church, it was very convicting and challenging as I was reminded of where I continually fall short. Yet, reflecting on this list has also inspired me and I try to reflect on how to overcome these obstacles during my daily prayer time. I have a long way to go, but I believe that greater awareness of these obstacles and a determined focus on overcoming them will bring me closer to Christ and my desire to attain heaven.

Before I share some of the common obstacles between us and Christ, let’s consider what we know for certain. We have a goal (to get to heaven and to avoid hell), a road map (Scripture and Tradition), examples to follow (the saints, particularly St. Joseph), leadership (the pope, bishops, priests, and deacons), clear teaching authority (the magisterium of the Church), help along the way (the sacraments) and divine guidance (the Holy Spirit). It is clear that we are well equipped and have the tools and resources we need, but are we willing to make the necessary changes?

Obstacles between Catholic Men and Christ . . . and Actions to Overcome Them

What are the Fruits of a Life in Christ?

“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”—St. Ambrose

Isn’t it tough to go it alone? Seriously, how effective are we if we only rely on ourselves for the answers? I don’t know about you, but I tried that way for over twenty years and it was very difficult. Having experienced a life where Christ is in charge, I have seen the other side and pray that I never have to fly solo again! Please consider your answers (as I have many times) to these important questions:

Do I want to be a better husband to my wife?

Do I want to be a better father to my children?

Do I desire a stronger faith journey in the Catholic Church?

Do I want to be a better son to my parents?

Do I want to be a better friend?

Can I be more involved in the community and helping others?

Do I want to be a better leader at work?

As we ponder the questions above, it is probably safe to assume we said yes to each one. Now, think about surrendering yourself to Jesus and asking Him for help. We know what it is like to go it alone and if we are honest with ourselves, the results are not that great.

Giving ourselves to Him, letting our old selves go and placing Him first will change everything. We will receive His grace, guidance, and love, which in turn will positively affect our relationships with our wives, children, friends, and coworkers. We will see our faith journeys catch fire as we begin to appreciate the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith. Our appreciation of the Mass will grow exponentially as we more fully understand the gift of receiving the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and we are joined in intimate union with Him. We will be perceived differently as people begin to see Christ at work in us. Or we can continue to stubbornly go it alone.

Jesus Christ died on the Cross for us. He redeemed our sins. He loves us unconditionally. The only way to heaven is through Him. What does He want in return? He simply asks for ALL of us—mind, body, and soul. He wants us to place Him first in our lives, before family, friends, work—everything. Think about the list of questions above and place “Christ inspired” in front of father, husband, son, friend, and leader. How can this not be desirable?


Editor’s Note:  Would you like to learn more about Randy Hain’s book Journey to Heaven: A Road Map for Catholic Men (Foreword by Patrick Madrid)?  The book is available through Amazon and Emmaus Road Publishing as well as Catholic bookstores around the country.  The Spanish version of Journey to Heaven is titled Camino Al Cielo: Una Guia Practica Para El Himbre Catolico[1] and it can be found on Amazon.

His newest book is Special Children, Blessed Fathers: Encouragement for Fathers of Children with Special Needs [2](Foreword by Archbishop Charles Chaput).  All of Randy’s books are available through Amazon.


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Endnotes:
  1. Camino Al Cielo: Una Guia Practica Para El Himbre Catolico: https://www.amazon.com/Camino-Al-Cielo-Practica-Catolico/dp/1941447562/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1465909913&sr=1-1&keywords=camino+hain
  2. Special Children, Blessed Fathers: Encouragement for Fathers of Children with Special Needs : http://www.amazon.com/Special-Children-Blessed-Fathers-Encouragement/dp/1941447112/ref=pd_cp_14_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=1C5NE8JJ03245WDY0HB7
  3. [Image]: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/donate/

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