Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

6/19/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

God is calling men to a higher purpose

Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Fr. Larry Richards by phone, talking about issues related to men and the Church. Hopefully, some of the richness of our conversation is communicated in this article. His new book, "Be a Man!" goes into great detail on what that means as a challenge to men who live in a culture that is working hard to remove their masculinity.

Fr. Larry Richards

Fr. Larry Richards


By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (

6/19/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The greatest gift a father can give his family is to be a man; and not just any man, but a man after God's own heart. This is the message that Fr. Larry Richards has been taking to men's conferences and retreats around the country for a very long time.

His new book, "Be a Man!" goes into great detail on what that means as a challenge to men who live in a culture that is working hard to remove their masculinity.

"Men are created to be protectors, supporters and providers," Fr. Richards remarked. "We are, by definition, givers. So, the way men relate to God, then, is different from a woman, they are action oriented. I challenge men to give themselves to a higher cause."

Whether speaking to a men's conference or in parishes, Fr. Richards' call to men involves living a life of sacrifice, being willing to do God's will not their own. He warns them that it's not easy, it's going to cost them something and it's going to hurt; but it's for a higher purpose.

"When I work with boys I always ask them, 'Are you man enough to be a priest? Are you willing. when others tell you to do what you want, are you willing to die to yourself and give yourself to a higher cause?

 "My own personal style is to call men to be the best they can be. Too often in the Catholic Church we hear, 'Well, just be who you are because God loves you just the way you are.' Who really wants that?

"What I occasionally say on being a spiritual coach, it's just like when boys want to be good football players, basketball players, what-have-you. they want to be challenged to be the best not 'just keep doing what you're doing, that's good enough for now. Nobody wants that; you'd fire a coach for saying that."

Fr. Richards sees the higher cause as a major focus for men. Like the song "The Impossible Dream," a man's potential can best be seen when he is "willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause."

The danger he sees is taking this image too far where men see themselves only as workers. To counter-act this action-only stereotype, Fr. Richards turns to St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, who wrote, "This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man's happiness lies."

He tells men that this is a very simple two-step approach that we can all apply each day.

First, a man needs to be dedicated to a daily discipline of prayer out of which his service comes. There can be no more excuses for not praying. To be a man of God requires that we spend our regular time before the Lord.

"Scripture tells us to be still and know that he is God. It's hard for a man to be still. to be silent.

"Sure, it's a struggle," Fr. Richards goes on to say. "In that silence we have to deal with our own demons. Just as Jesus went into the desert and encountered the devil, our quiet times are when we confront our issues.

"There, in our own desert, we recognize that we need the Lord. we become vulnerable, which is the key to our surrender and discover that when we are weak, we are strong. At that point we choose to place God in charge of our life.

"Each day I have one hour of adoration. For part of it I pray, I read Scripture, but then I also just sit in silence. It is during this time of adoration that I get filled up so that I can do something."

Just as Jesus was refreshed after his desert and went out to preach and minister, men are called into the world to serve out of love - his love that is expressed as he gives up his life for God and for others.

A man has to come to the point of realizing that when he surrenders himself totally to God, good will come out of it.

"This is ultimately an act of trust," Fr. Richards explains. "That if I surrender myself totally to You, good will come out of it.

"I like to tell people that if they die to themselves every day and they realize that God is blessing them all the time; that ultimately when they have to give their final sacrifice of their own death, if just another day of dying - it is something I've done every day and God has been faithful every day, I can do it eternally as an act of trust.

"And in the process, the Lord blesses you even more abundantly, the more you give your life."

The type of love Fr. Richards is describing here can also be applied to our lives as husbands. In St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, he shows us the two sides of the marriage covenant - first he says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."

Then, the apostle states, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." A woman's call to entrust her life is connect with a unique call for her husband - he must be willing to lay down his life for her. Again, it is his call to sacrifice.

A man's great love for his wife, however, can also be a hindrance if it is not put in proper relationship with a man's love of God. "One time I gave a talk, Fr. Richards said, "where I stated 'Gentlemen, you need to love God more than you love your wives or your kids.'"

"A guy came up to me and said 'Father, I completely disagree with you!' And I said, 'Well, you're completely wrong. You need to completely love God more than your wife and kids. Then you can love them with God's love not just your love. It transforms it."

We live in a world of gender-confusion where masculine behavior has been anathematized and ridiculed as an exhibition of testosterone. In fact, on the same day we honor fathers, New York City will be hosting the Folsom Street East, where homosexuality, debauchery and perversion to the extreme will be on display. Nothing could stand more contrary to God's higher purpose than this celebration of man's lower nature. Truly, we need to hear a clear message for men.

As one who desires to be a man after God's own heart, I am thankful for strong priests and pastors, like Fr. Larry, who can challenge me and encourage me to live a live with a higher purpose.

Fr. Richards' book, "Be a Man!"(available through Amazon) explores how you can become the man God created you to be. With straightforward and often hard-hitting language, he challenges men to be beloved sons of the Father who are strong, loving, courageous and holy; men who want to change the world by first being changed themselves.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fr. Richards graduated from Gannon University and St. Vincent Seminary

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, and currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie and the Founder/President of The Reason for our Hope Foundation (, which is dedicated to preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. He is also heard nightly on Relevant Radio as well as through his podcasts.


Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online ( He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Come together this Thanksgiving with a beautiful prayer Watch

Image of Each year thousands of families celebrate Thanksgiving, but make the food their priority. This year, make God and all He has given us your priority.


Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent Watch

Image of What millions of Christians do a day after expressing thanks for what they already have.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading

Cardinal Sarah releases new book, 'God or Nothing,' on civilization's fall from grace Watch

Image of Without God, the cardinal said,

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading

Holy Door in St. Peter's basilica to open for first time in 15 years for Holy Year of Mercy Watch

Image of The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading

5 powerful Bible verses you need when fear and terror strike Watch

Image of


Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:15-27
15 'I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed and the visions that passed through ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87
82 Bless the Lord, all the human race: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:34-36
34 'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, ... Read More