I would imagine in this day and age that many of you have heard of “No Shave November” – that month out of the year when the men in your life don’t shave their facial hair. It is often seen as a competition among men of who can grow the most luscious beard in a month’s time. I was never great at growing a beard quickly, so I never participated in the annual event – that’s until I started growing a beard, which in the end attained me the woman that is sleeping next to me at this very moment. If you haven’t read my article, “I Grew a Beard and Now I am Getting Married” – frankly, where have you been?! (stated with humor/sarcasm) Mea culpa…I tend to digress when I talking about my wife and/or my beard.
As I mentioned above, there is this thing called “No Shave November”, however my new friends at the Catholic Balm Company have taken the idea and turned into something holy and virtuous (this is my first year doing the challenge). Let’s be honest – aren’t we always looking to grow in holiness and virtue? – or at least we should be. No need to wait for Lent to build your relationship with Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, you can do it this month through the Nazarite Challenge.
Before I get to the actual Nazarite Challenge, let’s first look at the Scriptures briefly to learn about the Nazarites. I bet that many of you are not aware that some rather famous figures in the Holy Scriptures are Nazarites. First, what is a Nazarite?
According to the Catholic Bible Dictionary, a Nazarite (from the Hebrew verb meaning “to separate” or “consecrate”) is “a man or woman who has taken a special vow of consecration to the Lord according to the terms prescribed in Numbers 6:1-21. Nazarites did not consume anything produced by the grapevine, including juice, or grape skins, and they avoided all contact with corpses (cf. Amos 2:11; 1 Macc 3:49-51; Acts 18:18, 21:23). The vow could be temporary or lifelong; after a temporary consecration expired, the person who made it was obligate to perform certain rituals and offer prescribed sacrifices.
Second, who are some of the Nazarites in the Bible? The four that are mentioned are – Samson (Judg 13:4-5); Samuel (1 Sam 1:11); John the Baptist (Luke 1:15); and Saint Paul (Acts 18:18).
Although the today’s Nazarite Challenge is different than the prescribes rules and rituals that we see the Sacred Scriptures, the Challenge has some similarities, one being that fact that men who were Nazarites did not cut their hair nor did they shave their beards. Another similarity is they all were strong in their commitment to their vow and that is something that we all must have if we want to grow deeper in holiness and virtue.
In the beginning, the Nazarite Challenge started with one simple purpose – to encourage men and challenge them to dedicated their life to the Lord. Over the years, there have been countless testimonies of lives changed, of marriages saved, and individuals coming back to the faith. In case you were wondering, this is not just for Men, but there is now a Women’s Track as well – my wife has already signed up and received her first email tonight.
Instead of me explaining the full details of the Nazarite Challenge, I want you to head on over to get over to the Nazarite Challenge Website, pick your preferred track, read through the commitments, and then sign up…to Get Your Nazarite On!
If Jesus Christ could knock Saul on his butt on the Road to Damascus and give him the grace to become Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles, then you can surely take on this challenge to grow in holiness and virtue.
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