Book Reviews Subscribe Faith-filled Family Links for Learners Ask a Franciscan Editorial Entertainment Watch Saints for Our Lives Contents

Links for Learners

by Lynn and Bob Gillen

August 2000

The following Links for Learners resource is offered to those who would like to use St. Anthony Messenger in an educational setting or for further study at home. This resource is prepared with high school students in mind, but can be adapted for other age groups. We will feature one article for further study each month. Back issues, beginning in May 1997, contain this resource. Up until December 1998 it was called a teacher's guide or classroom resource. Teachers with access to computer labs should encourage students to access the article directly online. Students have our permission to print out a copy of the article for classroom use. We encourage you to subscribe to the print edition of St. Anthony Messenger, where you will see all of the graphics, and more articles that you might find useful on a variety of topics. Please let us know how we can improve this service by sending feedback to

Click here for a complete listing of Links for Learners

Please see our links disclaimer located at the end of this document.

Links for Learning

Finding Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students

This month’s Links for Learners will support high school curriculum in:

    • Religion—Old Testament; spirituality; family life
    • Psychology—Male relationships
Finding Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants

Look for connections for use in programs outside the classroom, such as:

  • Parish sacramental preparation programs and CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion groups; RCIA programs.
  • Parents will also find this material useful in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home study, at family activities.

Understanding Basic Terms in This Month’s Article

Look for these key words and terms as you read the article. Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout the Links for Learners.


Paschal mystery

Authentic spirituality








Spiritual maturation

Male Spirituality

This month's author argues that any discussion of a male spirituality begins with Christ's common call to discipleship. Authentic spirituality, he says, begins with Baptism, the root of the common call to discipleship.

For information on the sacrament of Baptism, visit Learning More About Baptism on this Web site.

For further information, see Franciscan Father Thomas Richstatter's book, The Sacraments: How Catholics Pray (St. Anthony Messenger Press), for a solid explanation of Baptism as a sacrament of initiation to the Christian life. And for an understanding of Christian discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship (G. K. A. Bell) is an excellent source. Bonhoeffer, a Protestant theologian and an outspoken critic of Hitler, was executed by the Nazis in a German concentration camp in 1945.

Baptism derives its efficacy from the Incarnation. The central role of the Incarnation means that we come to God through our humanity. And because we are male or female, our manhood, our womanhood is the key to our search for God.

See Father Henri Nouwen's Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life. Written with co-authors Donald P. McNeill and Douglas A. Morrison, the book explores Christian compassion as an implication of the Incarnation.

A shocking auto crash caused the article's author to reassess his self-perception as protector of his family. With prayerful reflection he came to see himself as a sign of God's compassionate presence. He is sacrament to his family. Most of us can achieve the same understanding through thoughtful prayer.

If we are to be signs of God's compassionate presence, how do we first develop an ear for God's presence in our own lives? Church spiritual leaders invite us to approach life reflectively. Building points of rest into our busy schedules can help us find God. Praying will help us grow as God's instruments.

Prayerful reflection doesn't come easily in today's world. The struggle to earn a living is not always conducive to the call to holiness. Retreat centers offer a variety of programs for spending time reflecting on God's presence. The site describes retreat experiences that will fit just about anyone's needs and life style. Look for a list of retreat centers throughout the country.

Family Relationships

The author's research and reflection on Genesis, chapters two and three, led him to realize that vulnerability does not come naturally to us as a result of Original Sin. He also believes that the working out of his salvation will involve learning to be vulnerable as he grows in his relationship with his spouse. Dying to self is key to a healthy Christian marriage.

Contrast this with the message of the PBS documentary, No Safe Place: Violence Against Women. The program examines the roots of male violence and includes an interview with the poet Robert Bly, author of Iron John. Bly contends that fatherhood is a learned experience for men.

Each year we celebrate our fathers and what they mean to us on Father's Day.

See Father Henri Nouwen's book Intimacy for a discussion of deepening personal relationships with God and with our fellow man. The collection of essays covers intimacy and sexuality, intimacy and prayer, intimacy and community, and intimacy and ministry.

See for informative articles on fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, and fathering in general. For example, we're all familiar with road rage. But as fathers are we guilty of "bleacher rage"? What kind of pressure do we put on our kids, and ourselves when we watch our kids play ball? Are today's dads true mentors to their children, or yelling coaches embarrassed because the kids do not fulfill a dad's expectations? Fathers can mentor young people without getting caught up in sports. There are scouting leadership opportunities, parish teaching in Confirmation programs, vocal or hospitality training for liturgical ministries. These expressions can reveal a more vulnerable, compassionate side of men.

A further resource, the National Center for Fathering, supports fathers in their role of strengthening immaterial family assets.

A man's relationship with his dad is often hard to define. Bob Greene, well-known author and Chicago Tribune columnist, wrote Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War. Like many sons, Greene did not communicate well with his father. But as his dad lay dying, Greene found a way to understand their relationship. The "man who won the war" was Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. As Greene conversed over time with Tibbets, he came to understand the thinking of the World War II generation, which included his own father. Tibbets believes that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki stopped the war at a time when countless more lives would have been lost if the Allied Forces had to invade Japan. He has no regret for doing what he and his superiors felt was necessary. In exploring the differences between his world and that of his father, Greene illuminates the bond between father and son.

See Franciscan Father Jack Wintz's Lights: Revelations of God's Goodness (St. Anthony Messenger Press) for a touching description of a trip to post-war Hiroshima. In an interview with Shigenobu Koji, a Buddhist monk, Wintz writes of the attitudes of peace and reconciliation that some Japanese have cultivated as a means to healing the memories of war. The same attitude of healing would benefit our own daily lives and relationships.

Career and Spirituality

James Levine, author of Working Fathers: New Strategies for Balancing Work and Family (Addison, Wesley, Longman), speaks of the "conspiracy of silence" prevalent in today's workplace. Fathers pretend they don't have family commitments because they are afraid of job consequences. He says managers act as if only women are faced with the work vs. family dilemma. Too many men are caught up in this "old-fashioned corporate culture," Levine argues. He suggests men begin speaking up at work about their involvement in family life.

See Fast Company business magazine ("What Kind of Dad Are You?") for an interview with Levine.

For another perspective on balancing work and personal life, read an interview with Judy Wicks. "Don't leave your values and your passions at the doorstep of your business," says the owner of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of not separating spirituality, business and politics, Wicks has combined her restaurant business with family and community service.

Also in Fast Company magazine, see the article on Chicago-based Second City Communications, a branch of the famous comedy club that trains corporate clients in communication skills. The skills are easily applicable to family communications as well.

  • Listen. A vital skill in communication. Listen emotionally. Listen to understand.
  • Accept your role.
  • Initiate your own ideas.
  • Contribute.
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a number of resources useful for parishes and for families. Follow the Way of Love, a pastoral message to families from the U.S. Catholic Bishops, focuses on family growth and the balancing of work and family life.


Research Resources

Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference. Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles contained within the site’s archives.
Pathfinder - Access site to a number of online news publications
People magazine
The Close Up FoundationWashington, D.C.-based organization

Links Disclaimer:

The links contained within this resource guide are functional at the time the page is posted. Over time, however, some of the links may become ineffective.

These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications of the contents on such third-party Web sites. St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web sites. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do so at your own risk.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ask a Franciscan  | The Bible: Light to My Path  | Book Reviews  | Entertainment Watch
Editorial  | Editor’s Message  | Faith-filled Family  | Links for Learners
Saints for Our Lives  | Web Catholic  | Back Issues

Return to

Paid Advertisement
Ads contrary to Catholic teachings should be reported to our webmaster. Include ad link.

An Web Site from the Franciscans and
Franciscan Media     ©1996-2016 Copyright