A blog for Catholic men that seeks to encourage virtue, the pursuit of holiness and the art of true masculinity.
An Ode to the Glories of the Beard
August 21, 2015
Ah, who can properly extol the virtues of that great mark of the male sex, the glorious and ineffable beard! From the beginning of time it has sprung forth from the chins of men, proclaiming the dignity and uniqueness of our kind. Long has it adorned prophets, kings, and holy men of old. Long has it filled the hearts of growing boys with ardor and with aspiration.
Yet, despite its grandeur, history, and dignity, there are many who would deny men the honor of this great badge of male worth. Unkempt they call it; wild, they call it! Thus they would see us shorn of our hairy adornment. They would have us tamed by the razor in the name of decency and civilization.
Therefore, let us not be silent. Let us proclaim boldly the venerable beauty and grandeur of the beard! Let it be proven henceforth, by these quotes from the great saints and doctors of Holy Mother Church, that the beard is not only a mark of manhood—but an infallible sign of holiness and salvation!
The Beard Praised by Great Saints and Doctors
“We shall wear the beard after the example of Christ and our first saints, since it is something manly, natural, severe, despised and austere.” – The Capuchin Constitutions of 1536
“The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.” (Exposition on Psalm 133, 6)
Clement of Alexandria
“For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with a shaggy chest – a sign of strength and rule.”
“For an ample beard suffices for men. And if one, too, shave a part of his beard, it must not be made entirely bare, for this is a disgraceful sight. The shaving of the chin to the skin is reprehensible, approaching to plucking out the hair and smoothing. For instance, thus the Psalmist, delighted with the hair of the beard, says, ‘As the ointment that
descends on the beard, the beard of Aaron.’ Having celebrated the beauty of the beard by a repetition, he made the face to shine with the ointment of the Lord.”
“It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the Word), if it is to attract men, is the act of an effeminate person,— if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society.” (The Instructor, Book 3, Chapters 3, 11)
“[T]he nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength.” (On the Workmanship of God, Chapter 7)
St. John Chrysostom “Just think now what a disgrace it would be for a man having a flowing beard, and with staff in hand, and cope on shoulders, to go to school with children, and be set the same tasks with them: would it not be above measure ridiculous?” (Homily 10 on the Acts of the Apostles)
The Apostolic Constitutions
“Nor may men destroy the hair of their beards, and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the law says: You shall not mar your beards. For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men. But if you do these things to please men, in contradiction to the law, you will be abominable with God, who created you after His own image. If, therefore, you will be acceptable to God, abstain from all those things which He hates, and do none of those things that are unpleasing to Him.” (Apostolic Constitutions, Book 1, Section 2)
“You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” Leviticus 19:27
The Christian King, Alfred
“If a man shave off another’s beard let him make amends with twenty shillings.” (Laws of Wihtred)
Therefore let our opponents rest, let them cease their attacks upon the beard, the natural adornment of the male sex. Let all men of goodwill discard their razors, and with one accord let us henceforth celebrate the great wonder, the great power, the great splendor of the beard!
NOTE: For the overly sensitive and literal, this post is meant to be fun and lighthearted. A beard no more makes you a real man than does the proper anatomy. Don’t be offended, just play along!
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