Things that come to mind when thinking of Jared Zimmerer: faith, family, fitness. Things that don't come to mind: the typical 27-year-old male pop culture paradigm. Today, Zimmerer talks about his conscious eschewing of the drifter-stoner-manchild model in favor of something with a good deal more sanctity.
My name is Jared Zimmerer, and I have come to find out that I am a bit of an anomaly. Not in any outside-the-law kind of way, like the outliers I used to watch on the old westerns, but more in the light of the fact that my life does not correspond with most of the men my age. I am twenty- seven years old, I have been happily married for over six years, and have been blessed with four beautiful children all of whom God has placed in my protection. This kind of life didn’t just fall in my lap. No, in fact I still look back over the past several years in awe and amazement. Yet it seems apparent that when I look to most of my peers, those young men in the same age bracket, I don’t seem to fit in. Not that I desire to be a simple puzzle piece in the mural of secular society, yet my hearts aches because I want to share with them the awesome power of grace when a man’s vocation is set, the road before him is cobbled, ready to be trudged and the blood, sweat and tears of manhood makes sense.
Being an outlier of the stream of society isn’t bad at all, in fact, I have found that more happiness lies in fighting the current than in floating aimlessly downstream. Yes, it takes a while to get used to the comments like, “You know how that happens, right?” when telling others about having four kids in five years. It becomes commonplace to have gawking when walking through the supermarket with the entire family and the first thing people ask is, “How old are you?” Yet it is in these moments when I feel most at peace with my decisions and in my vocation as a husband and father. Many people try to stand out in some way their entire lives; however they struggle to do anything really different. Many rebel and get tattoos and piercings, but everyone has those these days. I have found that in living out my calling within the parameters of the divine truths taught by the Catholic Faith I have achieved the indescribable feeling of happily expressing my individuality...
What does it mean to be a real man? Below, Christopher Kerzich argues that all men would do well ask this question and to contemplate the "vocation to Manhood." He offers five Biblical principles on the topic.
Before addressing the men’s group at my summer parish assignment I began thinking about what to say to a group of men older and wiser that me about call, vocation and mission. After unsuccessfully writing on a variety of topics I remembered a quote that impacted my discernment to enter seminary. The late John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York once said:
“The priesthood is tough and it’s for real men. You have to be a real man if you want to become a priest.”
The striking thing about this quote is that one could interchange the word “priesthood” with a variety of other nouns, with a variety of vocations. So this began me on a path to explore one vocation that is rarely discussed: The Vocation of Manhood.
As we see on the news and throughout society, what it means to be a man is miscommunicated and quite possibly under attack. We see the projection of men as brutes, abusers of women and drugs, as well as violent animals. Our society may soon have the majority of an entire generation in which men are not raised by a father. So I began looking for a source for exploring this vocation at the center of all men.
Now I’m not going to write and tell you of my great experiences and how I’ve derived deep wisdom from them, this would be naïveté and quite possibly stupidity. What I am going to discuss are principles that are at the center of every man, principles that we all can recognize in our lives which have been shown to us by Christ. So through an exploration of five principles I hope all men can have a better understanding of our vocation, call and mission as men...