As members of a society that share common bonds, one could argue that as citizens of a particular country, we wrap ourselves in a common cloth… we share a common thread… A thread that has begun to unravel… And if you really want to get a grasp of the downward spiral we are headed in as a country, just pick up any one of the ‘celebrity’ or ‘fashion’, magazines that line the supermarket checkout shelves these days. The headlines often include words that temp our curiosities… headlines that promise the inside scoop of some ‘star’s’ misfortunes or their ultimate downfall. Most of these celebrity magazines focus on the bad and the sinful facts, often avoiding any of the good. Stories of suicides and scandal are all too common. Most times, the news is focused on a marriage that has fallen apart …the adultery and the lust… surrounded with all the ‘juicy‘ gossip and deceit. These publishers know what sells… they know exactly what kind of bait to use to separate the consumer from his money…
Other times the front covers are the stars themselves…uncovered…bare for all to see… And unfortunately, most of these magazines are well within the sight of young impressionable children… innocent little ones that have no business setting their eyes on such filth. Many of today’s fashion magazines contain little more than pornographic images, that steal their way into young developing minds. Most of these magazines contain little to no, appropriate articles that young ‘ladies‘ should be flipping through, let alone reading for any of the guidance or suggestions within. Many of these magazines are nothing more than an occasion of sin and should be avoided all together.
Even just within the past twenty or thirty years, what was once considered downright immoral and indecent, somehow passes the guidelines for publication these days. I remember a time when garbage like this was sold in dark corner stores in the seedy part of town. But even back then, you still had to go behind a curtain if you wanted to step into this dark world of debauchery… it wasn’t out in the open for all to see. But, we have changed. We have allowed ourselves to slide down that slippery slope. We have become desensitized to the images that are flaunted and shoved in our faces at every turn. We cannot recognize it for the sin that it is. And I am not even talking about the impact of the internet on our children.
As Christians, we have got to be on guard. We have got to be pro-active. Every moment of everyday. I am not kidding. Bad things happen. Even in good families. Sin will never bypass an opportunity to rear its ugly head… to sink it’s teeth into the innocent… We have got to realize the terrible impact this moral decline is having on our family, on our children. Even if we think we are being safe. Even if we think that we are being careful… it is never enough to rely only on our own power. We must rely on the power of God. The Holy Spirit is a powerful force against sin. That said, as parents…as protectors... we cannot be half-hearted, we have got to be all in against this sin of impurity. Unchecked, it will rob us of our children. Ultimately destroying the family unit… rotting it to it’s very core…. putting all involved in a grave danger of spending their eternity in hell. It is that serious.
Thankfully, we have a defense. God has given us a plan. He has given us what we need as we plod our way through these days on earth, surrounded by the trappings of sin. God in His infinite Wisdom has left for us Our Holy Mother Church. She is our guide, a firm and constant reminder of His Pure and Holy Light in this world gone mad. The Catholic Church is an Institution created by Him, that will help steer us in the right direction. As Catholics, not only do we have the Bible…The Very Word of God, but we have His teachings… in the Tradition of the Holy Mother Church… Those teachings that have been handed down from one generation to the next… An Apostolic line of teachings... And unlike the current fads and trends of the world… God’s teachings never go out of style. They are always current and right on cue. Regardless of what the secular world says. All we need to do is to look at the saints. Those models of holiness and purity, who lived their lives in such a way as to stay on course of the narrow path… the path that leads to God and Heaven.
Maria Goretti is one such saint that will help us guide our children in their holiness. The post I wrote last year tells her remarkable story can be found here. She knew that her purity was a gift to be treasured and she risked her life protecting it. Another young saint who understood the dangerous threat that temptations against purity do to the soul, a saint whom we should regularly invoke, especially for our sons, is Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
Remember, this is a battle that can be won, but only with constant prayers…. Yet, even then, some days it will seem that the battle is never going to end… and on other days it may feel like the whole world is crashing around you… fighting against you in your struggle to retain an atmosphere of purity in the home... It is during these times, we must keep our head down and keep praying…We mustn’t allow the world to convince us that we should just go with the flow… that it’s not that bad… ”That the times have changed,” and that “the Church should change with it.”
We mustn’t allow anyone to tell us that we should not be clinging to those ‘old fashioned value’s and these ideals of the Church… We need to stay strong and realize that our very life depends on it. Because it does. These ‘ideals’, these ‘laws’, they come from God, which is the only source of Light in this dark world … Even when it seems that darkness has forced it’s way in and won… Don’t give up…. even when it seems that the threat of sin has overtaken you and is holding you in it’s grasp…Smothering the Light of Christ right out of your very soul... or the soul of someone very close to you... just know, there is no sin, no temptation, that God cannot overcome... all you have to do is ask… and then…all you have to do is Trust. May God Bless you in your battle… May He bless us all.