Transcript of Interview with Fr. Larry Richards about Be a Man! This interview and others like it can be found at http://www.catholicspotlight.com
Listen Now to the audio version of the show.
Be a Man! at The Catholic Company.
Chris Cash: Welcome to Catholic Spotlight. This is the Catholic Spotlight, the show where we talk about what’s new, cool and exciting in the Catholic marketplace. I’m your host Chris Cash, director of E-Commerce from catholiccompany.com, your source for all your Catholic needs.
Today in the Spotlight, we have Father Larry Richards. We’re going to be talking about his great new book Be a Man! Becoming a Man God Created You to Be. Father Larry, Glad to have you on the show.
Father Larry Richards: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Chris Cash: Now, I have seen you speak before; you are always very, very energetic. I hope that some of that’s going to come through on the interview today.
Father Larry Richards: Yes, let’s hope.
Chris Cash: Absolutely. And you know now, what led you to want to write this book in particular? I believe this is your first book, isn’t it?
Father Larry Richards: My first book, absolutely. And I’ve done a lot with men throughout the years, when it comes men’s conferences and then I taught all boys for eight years at a Catholic High School. And so, I just see like the people are â€“ like there is a hunger there for what it is to be a true man. And there is nothing really, you know society tries to teach us what is to be men, and they do a really bad job from with it you know. If you see the culture and different things, they make this macho image of a man, and so that what being the man God created us to be. So, someone asked me to write a book a couple of years ago, three or four years ago. Now and I said that’d be the greatest thing and I jumped on it immediately and I says but we’d have to call what I want to call it. And they say well what that be and I say that would be call Be a Man. And they say a woman was a woman and she says Father, why would you want to call that? And I said because the last word King David said to his son Solomon before he died. He says I’m about to go to way of all flesh; take courage and be a man. And I just have always â€“ that’s always run inside me like yes, that’s what we’re called to be, we’re called to be men. I’m not called to be feminine; I’m not called to be a woman. I’m called to be a man, that’s what God created me to be, so. I say okay, lets write about it and we did.
Chris Cash: So, what do you see as the big challenge to men in trying to be a man that God has called them to be?
Father Larry Richards: I think the first challenge it has to be to be the spiritual leader. You know again, think all the way back to Genesis, you saw God created the male and female. So, he created this different. And our role is to be the protector. And if you go back to Genesis, the fall, you know scripture scholars tell us that Eve was not alone during the fall. Adam was right with her, but he kept his mouth shut. He did not protect her, he did not speak up and he asked to sit there and that’s then the problem. Again, if I’m doing a men’s conference, I usually say â€“ I’ll say gentlemen. Would you sit there and if someone is going to break in your house tonight and they were going to kill your wife and kids, would you do everything in your power, including die to save your wife and kid? And the answer I get yes, father. And I go well, that all the flesh and the devil has break in into your family everyday and going after your wife and kid, because your spiritual wimp, you’re leaving them unprotected and you’re not being who you called to be. And so, you got to sit there and become this man and sit there, who sit and says you got to go through me before you get to my wife and kids. And most men are not living that type of reality and so they got to be challenged this way, you got to do.
Chris Cash: So, how are you approaching this in trying to help men to recognize this challenge and approach it in a way that they can be empowered to go for the living?
Father Larry Richards: Well, again in the book the way we â€“ you know I have 10 chapters in a book and each chapter anyway I have people to read it in the order which reads, it begins with like you’re going to die. You know like *** [03:50] we tend to – you are going to die and some of â€“ one guy said the other day, Father I almost didn’t have my *** [03:55] when I start reading the book. You are going to die, oh, what do I just start the book. But I want people to put the eternal perspective into their life that this world is very flagellant. We move it through it very fast. And so, we got to sit there and think what do we want people to say about us if they were dead, what do our families will say about us, our wife to say about us, our kids to say about us, what do we want God to say about us. And then, we got to get into and so like and there is 30 things you must do in this book. So, each chapter ends with three task you must do and then there is three questions. But the task are very basic things. Like one of the first one is, you guys sit there and write down what you want people to say about you, what God you want to say about you when you die. And then, start making these your goals and then start living today to get there huh. And then at the end there is the 30 things, little check marks that its for me if I’m going to read a book, I want something to change. I’m not going to waste my time reading anything if I’m just going to get into thought on it.
So, here after reading the book, there is 30 things in your life that you should change to become more of the man that God created you to be. So, it’s very practical. And so, and then, the things you have to be a man who knows you know, years ago the protestant that guy John Eldredge wrote a beautiful book called the Wild AT Heart for men. And it’s a great book. You know and he talks about how men are, they are different to women. And we have a wild heart, but one of the things it deals with is it all men have a father issue. You know we always have a father wound inside of us. And okay, that’s nice, but the reality, the second chapter is coming to know that you are God’s beloved son. And Christ you know, Christ is the Alpha, Omega of all men, so as the Alpha, Omega of all men, we look at his life to see what it is for me to be a man. And so, Jesus ministry began when he was baptized and the sky opened up and said you are my beloved son whom – with whom I am well pleased. And that has to happen to each individual man, if they come to know that they are God’s beloved son. And their strength isn’t from how big they are, how many muscles they have, how many â€“ how good they are in football, basketball or wrestling. Their strength comes from the knowledge of who they are before the father. And that comes to the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And so, my example, my hero of today man would be John Paul II. You know who in our life time changed the world more than John Paul II. And the way he did that was you know when he was a little boy, his father gave him a prayer of the Holy Spirit and he said to his Father and he says pray this prayer every day. And John Paul everyday of his life prayed that daily prayer of the Holy Spirit. And so a man who fully prays and surrenders himself to God’s spirit is one who starts living Gods will and can change the world. So, but if anyone tells if there is one thing Father what’s the guy got to do? He got to become a man of prayer. Period comma and of all paragraphs.
And again I do a men’s conference, I do confessions, like I have these questions. So come in and I’ll say do you pray everyday and but I get more than anything else from men is oh, I try and I go, what you try? Are you kidding me? You try to eat everyday. No, father, what’s more important, praying or eating? Praying. You know so its time to stop making excuses for why we don’t pray and start becoming men who really pray everyday.
Chris Cash: You know Father maybe you should come up with a prayer stake that would getâ€¦
Father Larry Richards: Exactly.
Chris Cash: Men onboard with that.
Father Larry Richards: Exactly, whatever it works Pagans.
Chris Cash: Now, why is that you used the word Pagans so often in your talks?
Father Larry Richards: Well, because I just think most of us â€“ a Pagan is one who does things their way and so the God’s way. My theme song, I say the theme song everyone has held; I liked it in my way. And so, we like to live even Christianity our own way whether we are conservative or liberal or whatever. I come to â€“ I â€“ you know so I’m a Pagan in lots of way. There is still many things in me that I want to do in my way, so I’m my own God of my own life and so they’re doing in God’s way. So, that’s always so when someone does that â€“ does something when you are doing your way, yes, you’re a Pagan. Oh, thank you Father for the affirmation. The truth hurts I know.
Chris Cash: All right, well, now how should a man deal with you know say they come to your conference, they read your book, they go home and they say I’m going to be a man that God has created me to be. And they go in and they talk to their wife and suddenly they get the feminist push back?
Father Larry Richards: Well, again, I think that the problem is it’s like this â€“ I think the problem with the church has been is the whole feminist movement. It went too far. I think the movement had to happen, but then it went to the opposite extreme. Like all the women who were ultra feminist who sat there and wanted us to â€“ you know all the things they complained about men. You know they’re aggressive, they’re pushy, they have to have their own way, they became. And they you know pushed back and so, and they went to the opposite direction. Like I always sit they are â€“ like I do about 25 weddings a year and no matter when, when I’m doing a wedding, it’s always the same. And its amazing people have asked me to marry them, but there is the – you know the *** [08:51] sitting there and you know they are all cute and la la in love. And I always start with the girl and I say sweetheart, you read the Bible everyday don’t you? And I always get oh, yes, Father. And I said, “You lie to a priest, you go to hell.” Oh, no, Father. Then I say, “Well, if you ever read the book of Ephesians, you know when it says why be submissive to your husband. No, father. I said do you think that’s what it means that you are supposed to be submissive to your husband? And I always get, no father. And then, I jump up and I go yes, that’s what it means for the rest of your life. Every morning when you wakeup you got to say how can I serve my husband, how can I put his needs in front of mine. What you can tell is he is ready to kill me and all the women in the audience are thinking, another reason I hate the Catholic Church die father, die you know. And it’s getting this thing and I looked to the guy once and I said, son it’ll cost you another 50 bucks. And he says best 50 bucks I will spend for that you know. And so, this comes on and anyone who knows me knows when I’m equal opportunity offender. So, the other issues that I’m ready to fall, so the older guys who are like yes, that’s right. You tell and they are supposed to be submissive. Then I’ll say son, you read the Bibleâ€¦
Chris Cash: They don’t know the next line.
Father Larry Richards: Exactly. They’ll son, excuse me, you read the Bible everyday, don’t you? And they go, oh, no father. And I said, well, you know what it says after to yours wives, be submissive to your husbands? No, father it says husbands love your wife huh, as Christ love the church and gave his life for her. You know what that means son? Your life is over. Ah, everyday for the rest of your life, you called to die for your wife. And when you die for her and if she is dying for you, that’s what you are both called to be as Christian. People who give their lives away. So, what happens when a guy goes at home with his wife and says you know you are supposed to be submissive, that’s the wrong way to deal with it, because now it becomes a issue of power. And that’s not what it’s about. Power in the Christianity is service and giving your life for others. So, the main job is the leader of the household means, you’re the servant of the household and you give up your life for your wife and kids and they’ll gladly surrender to that. It’s when a guy looks at them and says that was the power so you obey me. Oh, shut up you pig. You’re called to be the servant of the family, that’s what you’re called to be.
Chris Cash: All right, we’re going to take a short break here to hear from our sponsor. In just a moment, we’ll be back with Father Larry Richards to talk a little more. This is the Catholic Spotlight.
Chris Cash: And we’re back on the Spotlight with Father Larry Richards, talking about Be a Man! Becoming the Man God Created You to Be. So, Father Larry, what did you find to be the most difficult part of writing this book?
Father Larry Richards: It is not much. I mean, I really â€“ I did it when I â€“ when I found the Blessed Sacrament when I was and suddenly praying. And I just think that it was just sometimes the challenge is out there. I think that you know, I always come of as someone like to challenge people, but sometimes something you know lets â€“ I don’t want to beat people up though either, you know so it’s the â€“ that’s whyâ€¦
Chris Cash: If you beat â€˜em too much they won’t come back.
Father Larry Richards: Exactly. So, but it’s â€“ you know I always consider myself like a spiritual coach, like if you’re going to be â€“ if you want to be a good football player, basketball. And you get a coach and your coach looks at you and says you know you’re doing good, just like you’re. Just come â€“ show up once a week or so and have good thoughts about the game. You’d say get the heck out of my face. And so, but then the spiritual life, we’ve been told for years you know God loves you just the way you are. God is a big Barney in the sky. I love you, you love me and there’s no challenge. That’s why guys don’t like to go to church, because they’re sitting there and its *** [12:42] toast half the time. But men respond to, when you challenge them to be the best they can be. And often you know there are people say, well know Father; I just think women are more spiritual than men naturally. That’s garbage. You know look at the Muslims faith. These men are willing to kill for their faith, die for their faith. Pray in their synagogue and their synagogue, again their mass everyday or in public and they’re willing to do that. And there’s many, many millions of men that are willing to do that in the Muslim faith. How much more in a Catholic faith? And I think that the problem has been that men haven’t wanted to do it, because we haven’t challenged them to do it. You know we just sit there and say okay, just try to show up on Sunday. We give â€“ we ask for the very minimum instead of the most and calling them to be saints, the way Gods calling us all to be saints.
Chris Cash: So, what was your favorite part about putting this book together? Any favorite chapter?
Father Larry Richards: My favorite chapter I think is the second chapter where we’re dealing with the reality that you are God’s beloved son. Because I think that most men never come to that realization that they’re beloved in the Father eyes. That even though we mess up in different things, then when God looks at us like last Sunday, Gaudete is Sunday. I love the first reading, from Zephaniah. And it says, “God rejoices over us.” He rejoices, he sings because of us. And sometimes we have this image of God that God is just out to get us, he’s never happy with us and he’s â€“ you know we’re just these miserable people. And that’s why I like these David as the â€“ one of the examples I use again and again in the book. Here David was who is a murderer, a rapist and a adulterer and yet, not only in the Old Testament, but again through Paul in the New Testament God says of David, “Look at David. He is a man after mine own the heart who will do my will.” And this is a man who is a terrible, terrible person in lots of way, but what we call him today. We call him Saint David, because he knew he was beloved to the Father. And what has to happen for all of us we’re really going to be transformed and not just go you know like again I tell her, if I’m going talk on confession. I say the only reason you don’t sin is, â€˜cause you’re afraid to go to hell, you don’t want to go to hell. But then who you are ultimately loving, you are loving yourself. You know I don’t want to go to hell, so I’ll do what God wants me to do. What’s ultimately a selfish act? That somewhere things got to be transformed. That everything we do, we do because we love the father. And why do we love the father? Because we love the soul. And we come to know how much we’re loved by the Father, then we want to be people that want to do his will. So, that’s what I love to focus on and this is what you need to come to first and then everything else will fall into place.
Chris Cash: You know it’s interesting, you mentioned Gaudete is Sunday, because my priest this past week spent about five minutes trying to explain that he wasn’t wearing pink.
Father Larry Richards: Yes soâ€¦
Chris Cash: Just so that we would know that he was man.
Father Larry Richards: Yes, real man don’t wear pink you know.
Chris Cash: It is rose color dressingâ€¦
Father Larry Richards: Its rose. We don’t even have it here at my place, â€˜cause for once year you can’t get it you know. No, pink in this church, anyway go ahead.
Chris Cash: All right, now, I know you are probably getting the argument from some people you know well, Father Larry you make a great case when you are up speaking, but you are not married, you are just a priest. You don’t have to live this stuff. How do you respond to that?
Father Larry Richards: I always say I have more relationships than most people for goodness sakes. I don’t have to please one women, I have to please like 300 or 400 women in my parish. I work with all women here I the place, trust me on this. But the reality is I always say relationship is relationship. And to be a good husband, wife, father as me as a spiritual Father, you’re a man in relationship. And why that’s again, I have lot of people coming me for marriage counseling and you’re thinking we’re *** [16:41] well, how can a priest do marriage counseling? Because what it is, is relationship counseling. And that’s the same thing when it comes to our God. It isn’t just going to the emotions, its being in relationship with God. That’s why throughout the book I use many of my own examples, my own story for my own life. Paul did the same thing when he wrote his letter. They talked about the struggles and different things, so that men can do this, because though not all men of course are married. And so, it’s for people that aren’t married too. And lot of men are celebets like myself by God’s grace, and so, it’s a book written for all men. And when I sat there and the way I wrote the book is I wrote it when I was on a retreat, then I came back to the parish and then I preached it for 10 weeks. And so, each week I preached the chapter to about 200 men, and then I asked them who are married and young and old and different things to give me things that I will submit that I was missing or give me insight. They’re the ones that came up with the questions at the end of each chapter. So it all came from them and if I was missing something, they would sit there and say Father could you talk about this or something. So, it’s really a book that not only I wrote, but 200 men wrote with me.
Chris Cash: And what kind of response are you getting from the people who are reading the book now?
Father Larry Richards: Well, by God’s grace, we sold over 10,000 books last month. And so, the â€“ and people are â€“ really there is really lot of life changing things that are happening there and that’s what’s been â€“ I’ve been unbelievably blessed. Because the guy will sit there and say Father I wasn’t given right, you know my wife got me this book and I didn’t want to read it. And so, I read it and wow it’s been unbelievable. I â€“ and it gives away â€“ thus gives you a new perspective on life. We can see things from God’s perspective instead of just your perspective and that can be life changing.
Chris Cash: Now, is this a book that women would get a lot out of reading as well?
Father Larry Richards: Well, yes, the first woman on Amazon.com, you know you can go to Amazon and have the â€“ you know reviews of the book and like half the reviews are by women such and says, I love this book. You know you can just sit there when I say gentlemen and there you can replace it with your name. And so, â€˜cause there is a challenge there and that makes them more feminine you know and what they’re called to be as women by God. Like I â€“ someone says once you write a book called Be a Woman Father, and I says â€˜cause I have no experience of that so I can’t do it. But it’s also a book that a – women could buy like for their husbands and for their sons and for their brothers. Especially, for Christmas, you go and say hey listen would you read this book for me? I got it for you. I love you please read this book because you love me. And once you decide â€“ no matter how you do it. Give in someone’s hands, so that they can be transformed.
Chris Cash: And if you’re listening to this show after Christmas, then keep in mind it could also be a really great Ash Wednesday present.
Father Larry Richards: There you go, it’ll be a great way to start that exactly you know. Here you want a penance, read this book.
Chris Cash: That’s right, if you make it through you, you will be changed.
Father Larry Richards: That’s exactly. You will be changed; you will be a truly transforming then.
Chris Cash: Well, I know you’ve got to go in here very shortly. Was there anything else do you wanted to share with our listeners before you had to go?
Father Larry Richards: I just think that in this year priest, you know I deal a lot with John *** [19:51] in the book and he says, “This is the glorious duty of man that you pray and that you love.” And I think ultimately that’s where we’re all called whether a man, whether a women. That the core of life is we become men and women of great prayer and men and women of great love. If you and I do that, then we become great saints, and in the end that’s only going to be the only thing that matters.
Chris Cash: Amen, to that. Well, Father Larry, I really, really appreciate you coming on this show and taking time out of your busy schedule. What â€“ you said this was number 18 interview this week, right?
Father Larry Richards: Yes, this week and so far. The last one for this week, more next week. So, it’s been a whole months of interviews and that’s okay.
Chris Cash: That’s right, but this will be one of the few that will actually stick around once the radio show is over. Soâ€¦
Father Larry Richards: God willing.
Chris Cash: Thank you so much for taking the time out of schedule to talk with us. Have a great day and God bless so.
Father Larry Richards: Thank you. Thank you, you too.
Transcript of Interview with Fr. Larry Richards about Be a Man! This interview and others like it can be found at http://www.catholicspotlight.com
Listen Now to the audio version of the show.
Be a Man! at The Catholic Company.