Over the past week one of my Household brothers from Steubenville has been posting old videos from our time there on youtube. It has been so cool to watch those. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. These moments captured on video have brought me laughter, joy, tears, and profound thanksgiving. To watch these videos brought me back to such a formative time in my life. My time in Steubenville, specifically with the Knights of the Holy Queen, has profoundly affected who I am. My brothers there have left a profound mark on my soul. These guys have seriously been and continue to be some of my best friends. We are separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles today but the brotherhood continues. We have an e-mail list that results in 30-40 e-mails sometimes throughout the day. Some of them are completely hilarious and stupid, some of them consist of vents and rants, and others are profound and draw me into deeper prayer. These guys continue to challenge me to grow and continue to be a source of joy and inspiration. They help me to laugh and love life so much.
For so many of my friends and family that didn't go to Steubenville they don't quite get or understand the bond that is formed between us. A lot of my friends ask how it is that I'm still so close to some of my friends from College. All I know is that Mary has made us brothers and Christ binds us in a way I can't quite explain. I know that if I fall these men will be the first to pick me up. I know that I will drop anything to be there for any one of them. 7 years out of college and I have literally kept in touch with some of these guys over the phone every week for the last seven years. Three of these men are going to be groomsmen in my wedding. Several others will be present to celebrate with me. All I know is that these men are truly my extended family. I would not be the man I am today without them.
The relationship I have with these guys is always a constant reminder that I cannot live the Christian life without help. We are created for relationship. To think that we can battle this world and the enemy on our own is to have lost already. We need community. We need people who will call us out on our failings and challenge us to be better. We need people who are there praying for us and encouraging us along the way. I know in my own life I have had some tough times and fallen hard. I don't know that I would have had the strength to get back up without the help of my brother Knights.
These men have taught me what it truly means to be a man. They have taught me the meaning of sacrifice. They have taught me how to treat women properly. They have taught me to fight for my soul with resilience, to truly battle and persevere until the last day. These men have taught me to be real and live Christianity in a truly human way. These men have taught me that there is a way to live my faith in a way that is attractive and joyful. Thank you brothers for showing me how to be a true man of God!