What's up with Catholic guys and beards? So many Catholic guys I know have a beard going right now.
Tony: I don't think it's a new thing, I think the real question is kind of like, what's up with the lack of facial hair? That was really the change that happened at some point in the last couple hundred years – men stopped growing beards.
(Beards are) kind of a unique signifier of manliness. There's not a lot that men get to do that show off our masculinity in a way that's easy for us to do in our daily life. Like I have zero desire to go chop down a tree and cut it up into lumber, I'm not working in a coal mine. So there's a little bit of it that comes down to a desire to display our masculinity in a way that's appropriate for who we are today. Plus beards are just awesome and they look great.
Michael: I started mine because I was lazy and my wife somewhere along the road told me hey, you either need to grow it out all the way or you need to shave it. There was no larger plan in my mind.
Tony: There was always a larger plan in my mind. I always wanted my beard to be larger and larger.
Tell me about the different scents your balms have.
Tony: We have five different aromas, the original three were chrism, Franciscan, which is the unscented, natural ingredients, it's a nod to the simplicity of Francis and the Franciscan community and their close connection with God's creation.
The next one was Lectio, which was supposed to be evocative of the sweet smell of old books or old bibles, so it's got amber, vanilla, and sandalwood in it.
We've got Holy Smokes, which is the incense one, so that's frankincense, a little bit of myrrh and a touch of woodsmoke. I actually had somebody the other day who was wearing it on their beard and their pastor was like, did we get the good incense? But it was because the beard balm smelled better than the incense they normally buy.
We also did one that's kind of (a nod) to Chesterton that is called Orthodoxy, that is pipe tobacco and hops, it's a lighter scent but it smells really good.
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Who are your favorite bearded saints?
Michael: I'm a big John the Baptist fan, he's kind of a throwback. He was willing to be radical and out there, I think he's probably top on my list.
I'm also a big fan of Cyril and Methodius, I'm somebody who really values evangelization, and I think St. Cyril and Methodius are perfect examples of that mission.
Tony: It's hard to choose, but St. John Chrysostom, I knew he had a beard but his statement on fasting particularly is a modern concept that most Catholics understand very poorly. He has this (reflection) on fasting and not just fasting from food or meat but fasting from sin, really taking the time to remove sin from our life in an intentional way.
Padre Pio – amazing beard, amazing saint. Such a surprising saint I think for young people to hear about.
And then St. Max Kolbe is another one that I think is phenomenal, he grew his beard so that he could gain more respect in the culture that he was trying to minister to, and as soon as the Nazi's came to attack he knew his beard would offend them, but he knew his habit would offend them more, so he offered to sacrifice his beard because he wasn't going to sacrifice his commitment to God.