The term, “Men for Others” is one used frequently at St. Paul’s High School here in Winnipeg. It is used to describe what a graduate of that institution must exhibit, someone who takes the interests of others before his own. This motto is displayed everywhere, and it is frequently used by the teachers to remind the young students of their true purpose. During my first few months at St. Paul’s I had a hard time understanding the deeper meaning of the phrase, but I soon realized that the term is to be discovered over a period of time, not just during the four years a student stays at St. Paul’s. It is to be discovered over a lifetime. Now, this phrase is not just meant for men or guys in general. If you were unaware St. Paul’s put the term, “men”, because it is an all-male school, but this phrase is meant for all people, regardless of sex. It is universal, and its message is as universal as the mission of the Church, to preach the word of God in every nation, through any age, and to be people for and of Christ.
We make many decisions throughout the day. The phrase, “men for others,” should be a constant reminder to choose that which makes us better people, and make us a people for others. For us to be, “men for others,” we must be selfless, full of heart, and remember that we are called to be more than what we are now. We are called to become saints, and to serve God. Easier said than done.
We are not perfect. We sometimes make choices that are not good for anyone, or God. However, the true character of a person is not if that person is born rich or poor, but only if they make choices for others, and not just for themselves. The phrase runs very deep into the Ignatian tradition. This idea of giving back is still very present in St. Paul’s. In fact students are introduced into Christian Service, which is meant to build the sense of “giving back,” in themselves, and reminds us to never forget to be committed to doing justice.
We may not be able to perform all our actions in the way we want, but we can perform in a way that brings glory to God. We can never say I did what I did because my friend did it too, or because I didn’t think about the ramifications, or I didn’t want to put God in front of me. But we must put others, and God first before ourselves. We must give back. For only then will we learn how to be true “men for others.”