Since 2002, Justin Fatica with a company of a total of 42 Hard as Nails Missionaries has traveled to over 29 states and 5 countries, speaking at more than 1,000 events, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to youth and to others—awakening the world to the power of God’s love. The mission continues!
At middle schools and high schools (both public and Catholic), youth rallies, parish retreats, festivals, conferences, college campuses, and crusades, more than 1.2 million people have come face to face with Jesus Christ, been healed and encouraged and then launched upon a life of committed discipleship, following Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church.
Led by HN Founder and Executive Director Justin Fatica, the trained HAN missionaries travel to every corner of the country on the You’re Amazing bus, offering one-of-a-kind inspiring, life-changing events to those most in need of meeting Jesus Christ—especially those who are suffering and who have no one to accompany them in their suffering. Hard As Nails’ unique, exceptionally personal, pastoral, down-to-earth approach to living out the Catholic Faith has brought about thousands of on-the-spot conversions that have matured into lives of committed Christian discipleship.
Isn't it time the world knows the truth?
WE THINK IT IS
Now, more than ever, people need a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and the support of their church. The culture tells them they need to do something or have something to matter in this materialistic world. But in doing this, they eventually lose themselves in the struggle to find meaning in their life.
The sad truth is that most people think they are completely alone in their struggle and feel that no one cares enough to help them through their challenges.
Pretending that people are not struggling and that our community does not have the same struggles will not help others reach their full potential. We need to help everyone know that it is their struggles that reveals to them WHO THEY ARE: God’s kids. That is what makes them AMAZING!
THE 3 EVANGELICAL VIRTUES (The Core Virtues of Hard as Nails)
The evangelical virtue of courage is first for the evangelizer themself to enable them to face a personal challenge that holds them back from being who they are meant to be. Once they have had the courage to tackle that, they in turn become courageous—set free to evangelize even as they have been evangelized. Evangelical courage gives the evangelizer the the strength to face resistance or even hostility when proposing the Gospel to a world very much opposed to it. This evangelical virtue blesses the evangelizer with the endurance needed to face rejection and humiliation, and to persevere in the mission, despite forces of disintegration that may bear down on them. Evangelical courage moves the evangelizer to take risks and to go to the periphery—with a heart set on others and not on self.
The evangelical virtue of authenticity makes the evangelizer real—earnest, sincere, a person of genuine caring and concern. Unless a person is authentic with themself they can’t be authentic with others, because if they are not authentic with themself they don’t know who they are. The virtue of authenticity is crucial for breaking down once and for all the facades and the masks that people live behind, starting first with the evangelizer. The authentic evangelizer is not afraid of meeting people where they are—of addressing even the most controversial and uncomfortable issues and questions. As one Church document asserts, “Today’s young people are longing for an authentic Church…. We need to find attractive, coherent, and authentic models.”
The evangelical virtue of obedience moves the evangelizer to opt for a life of discipline reflected in all of their life choices. Obedience is the way that we overcome ourselves [our false self] in our heart” (St. Augustine). Gospel obedience is not so much about submission as it is about likeness (Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa)—becoming more and more conformed to Jesus Christ. Evangelical obedience is the deliberate Yes to the teachings of the Church. Evangelical obedience produces unity among the company of evangelizers, which others find irresistible. It blesses the evangelizer with peaceful self-control. Obedience makes one responsive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and sensitive to the needs of souls.
- Evangelization: Enabling people to experience the nearness of God in words and deeds expressed through the three evangelical virtues of courage, authenticity, and obedience.
- Service to Youth: Addressing the key struggles young people face today, and responding to them through accompaniment, empathetic listening, peer-to-peer personal witness, prayer, encouragement, and “aggressive tenderness”.
- Sensitivity to suffering: The person who sympathizes with pain is capable of touching life’s depths and of bringing hope to the brokenhearted. HN compassion connects those who are hurting with the redemptive meaning and value of suffering.
- Community: Christ reveals himself in our companionship. HN evangelizes and lives as a community so as to model to all that we are never completely ourselves until we belong to others. HN evangelization is ordered to making people true protagonists of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HARD AS NAILS?
Saying “Yes” to Jesus Christ on the cross is as hard as the nails that severed his flesh. Because one of the hardest things in life is to look at suffering and see something good in it.
And yet, every good thing in life flows directly from the nailing of Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary. As St. Paul proclaims, “Jesus canceled every debt by nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14). To be Hard as Nails is to be just as radical in facing the reality of our sins and in handing them over to God in repentance.
To be Hard as Nails is to love others in their suffering to the point that they begin to believe that they have a value beyond what they suffer, that their suffering has a holy purpose, and that it is possible to suffer well.
To be Hard as Nails is also to love others who make us suffer. As St. Paul testifies, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). To be Hard as Nails is to love others who don’t “deserve” it.
The Roman soldiers may have presumed that the nails they drove into the hands and feet of Jesus would be the ultimate agony, the decisive indignity exacted on the man they so hated. But it was precisely those nails that prompted Jesus to cry, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That forgiveness comes hard—hards as those nails. But it is what makes God’s forgiveness last. To be Hard as Nails is to refuse to be as hard as the nailers and those who egged them on with hearts hardened by pride, animosity, and derision.
The nails of Jesus Crucified are a blessing because it is those nails that create wounds in the body of Jesus—wounds that the Risen Christ retains in his glorified body. The wounds we see in the Resurrected Jesus give us the courage to face our own wounds. Grace always enters through a wound. By Christ’s wounds, we are healed. St. Gregory of Nyssa says, “God wounds the soul—the Son is this wound, and by this wound we are opened up.” Being Hard as Nails means saying to those who are wounded and broken, “I can help you; I can understand the pain.”
The world’s common response to suffering is to resist it. To be Hard as Nails means to be always reaching out our hand to receive the nail hammered into the hand of Christ, because the rejection and humiliation that come with suffering lead to the greatest glory.
Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., encourages us in what it means to be Hard as Nails: “Seeing Christ’s body nailed, consider the attachment of his will to God’s will. To be bound to God’s will in all things, in the attachment of your mind and attention to prayer and the duty in hand; the attachment of your affections to Christ our Lord.”
The mission of Hard as Nails is to the hardest of hearts. St. Peter Chrysologus imagines our Savior saying, “These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart.” To be Hard as Nails is to be on fire with this conviction.
Sacred Scripture prophecies of Christ: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). To be Hard as Nails is to be vulnerable and compassionate with suffering souls so that they can look both upon their own woundedness and upon Him who was pierced to set them free.