UST Men's Freedom Retreat: What Is A Man?

by Kuba Bursey, Sophomore at St. Thomas University

No one would argue that finding your identity is an important aspect of living one’s life. I find it almost amusing that I am trying to find myself as a man of God amidst one of the busiest times of my life – as a college student. I suffer from the same struggles as any other college student: trying to balance school work, class, student groups, and a social life. While none of these things are bad, they don’t leave much time for me to figure out what being a man is on my own.

I’ve come across many different descriptions and practices in how to become a real man. A man, by many people’s definition, means someone who has a jacked body and an attractive girlfriend. A manly man frequents the gym or the field and has a short or non-existent list of things he fears. This image of a man causes me to wonder: Why can’t I be this man? How do I get others to recognize me as the “man” when I walk around campus? I know I am not the only one struggling to figure out what it means to be a man.

Peter Del Castillo, an SPO Missionary at St. Thomas, addresses men during the Freedom Retreat.

Peter Del Castillo, an SPO Missionary at St. Thomas, addresses men during the Freedom Retreat.

Freedom

With providential timing, I was asked to go on a retreat with some other SPO men called the Freedom Retreat. 

A very generous friend provided a cabin on Lake Vermilion to house 20+ St. Thomas University male students for a weekend in early December. Not only was the retreat a great way to focus on what it means to be a man of God, but it was also a time to relax, refocus on God, pray with other men, and receive healing and affirmation from God. 

We spent time listening to older mentors share about what real men of God must be like. We split up into pairs ("fighting partners"), and dove deep into reflection about areas of sin and bondage in our lives. Whether it was from sexual impurity, pride, false identity, or acceptance of anything that isn’t of God in our lives, every man there felt freedom from one or many of these areas.

What a weekend! I experienced a new confidence in myself as a man, coming to a greater understanding that I am not defined by my physical strengths and weaknesses, nor whether or not I have a girlfriend. To put it simply, I discovered that I am God’s son; and it doesn’t matter what I have done, what other people think of me, or who I sometimes believe myself to be. I am God's son. Freedom.

Thank you to Barbasol for helping sponsor our weekly men's nights and Men's Freedom Retreat!

Thank you to Barbasol for helping sponsor our weekly men's nights and Men's Freedom Retreat!