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Ink Slingers Kerri

But Mom … everyone is doing it!!

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?

All of us, at one time or another, has said this (or something similar) to one of our parents. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably even heard it from your own kids. And when you do hear this from your kids you probably hear yourself saying the same thing to them as you heard from your own mom or dad:

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?

You don’t live at Everyone’s house, you live at our house.

We don’t do things in life because everyone does them, we do things because they are the right thing to do.

We’re not everyone, we’re our own family and we do things differently.

It is so easy as a kid to feel like everyone is doing something that you are not allowed to do. You start feeling a little like the outcast, like everyone around you is part of some special club, or you laugh at jokes and stories that don’t make any sense to you because you didn’t get to go to the movie everyone else saw, or see the TV show that everyone else watched, or go to the party that everyone else went to.

And then you became an adult!

Suddenly you could make your own decisions. No one could tell you that you couldn’t do something.

No one.

Or … maybe not.

Are there still things in our adult world that everyone is doing that we probably shouldn’t do? Do we still feel pressure from friends to do things that maybe don’t sit well with us? Does society tell us that there are things that are okay that our conscience tell us are not okay? Or maybe we know people who are doing things that we know to be against what our Church teaches, but … well … you can’t say anything because everyone does it.

I’m sure we can all think of things that fall into these categories in today’s society: pre-marital sex, cohabitation, practicing homosexuality, contraception, and probably many others.

Our society accepts these things as normal. But God does not. Just like any good parent, God wants what is best for us and sometimes that means something different than what the rest of society finds as acceptable.

We’re not everyone, we’re our own family and we do things differently.

As God’s children we must live in the world but not be of the world. Societal acceptance of sin doesn’t make it any less of a sin, it is still a sin. And yet, these “acceptable sins” in our society still affect our Catholic brethren just as much as anyone else in the world.

I remember my husband and I attending a pre-marriage class at our church during our engagement. It was held over a Friday evening and most of the day Saturday and attended by about 20 couples or so. On the first night the class leaders asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves and tell everyone how you got engaged. From the vast majority of the stories it was plain that most of the engaged couples in the room were already living together, and most likely not “living as brother and sister.” I remember being saddened by this as I listened to people’s stories but more saddened by the complete lack of knowledge that there was anything wrong with what they were doing. No one made any attempt to hide their sin.

And why should they feel that they are doing anything wrong? Doesn’t everyone live together before marriage? Isn’t cohabitation the norm? Maybe so, but like our parents said to us in the past:

We don’t do things in life because everyone does them, we do things because they are the right thing to do.

God says the same thing to us now. We will always be His children. And like a good parent He loves us even when we are led astray and wants to forgive us if we are willing to come back to Him, be honestly sorry for our sins, and ask for His forgiveness.

Rembrant's Prodigal Son

Forgiveness is possible. Actually, it is more than possible, it is there for us to have whenever we want it. Freely given. We just have to ask.

Are you in a situation that puts you in a position against God? Do you want to make things right with your Father in Heaven? If so, you can make amends, but you first must be willing to change your life and then go to confession to ask for God’s forgiveness.

Stand against the world, don’t give in to society’s peer pressure. We are Catholics, we are in the world, but not of the world.

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Ink Slingers Patty

Shame…what happened to it?

SHAME
Definitions:
1.) a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
b : the susceptibility to such emotion
2.) condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute : ignominy
3.) something that brings censure or reproach; also : something to be regretted.

He felt shame for his lies.
How could you be so rude? Have you no shame?
Her crimes brought shame upon her family.
He had to endure the shame of being fired.

I have heard and read as the emotion of shame has been belittled, mocked and derided as though no person should lower his or herself to the level of feeling guilt for their actions. When did this happen? Why is it that a person can take the life of an unborn child or be complicit in that act and yet deny they should feel the least amount of shame?

Why is it that very young teenagers on up to the elderly engage in sexual promiscuity and won’t even blush when their behavior comes to light? When did it become appropriate for men and women to expose so much of their bodies that the imagination is not needed in the least to fill in the (very small-as in minuscule) blanks? Pornography, masturbation and the open lusting over both sexes on television, movies and in print is accepted as ‘normal and healthy’? Students from high school on up to college don’t think twice about cheating on tests; employees steal from their employers and boast about it afterwards while employers have no qualms about cheating both their employees out of their just wages and the government out of taxes. As for the government…well, the government is the prime example of an organization with no shame and precious little moral compass but it is also a post for another time.

Within the last few months I have read about a toddler in China who ended up out in a street and was run over twice. She laid dying in the street as dozens walked past her, unmoved by the child’s suffering. In the last year I cried as I read about a sick doctor in Philadelphia who severed the spinal cords of dozens if not hundreds of infants born alive in his abortion mill. In that same year I have watched a wildly popular teen-aged musical sitcom popularize pre-marital sex, drunkenness with a huge dose of homosexual lifestyle promotion thrown in for good measure. The show was clever about it, gradually introducing these reprehensible behaviors in small doses until present when the immorality is full force ‘in your face’.

Our Lady of Fatima said the following:
‘More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.’

This is very easy to believe in our society. No vice is as promoted or exalted as the vice of impurity. Homosexuality, fornication, adultery…you can find all of these sins and more as the glorified centerpiece in sitcoms, movies and television show.

‘Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve God ought not to follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.’

Women are dressed in the scantiest of clothing and at the same time loudly condemn those who would objectify them when they are busy doing everything in their power to draw attention to their bodies. I certainly do hold ‘Hollywood’ responsible for slowly but surely desensitizing young and old to sexual sins. I am reminded of the story (albeit false) of the frog that is put into a pot of tepid water and never bothering to jump out as the water is heated to boiling with the frog eventually dying. That IS our society and that of so many others in the world. Morality, and ethics and a sense of right and wrong based on the ten commandments have been watered down bit by bit over the last four decades until the evidence of morality and a sense of right and wrong comes as a surprise when it is evident.

I worry for my children and your children in a society that has lost shame about issues such as killing, impurity and the respect and honor due to all life from conception to natural death. I worry about a society that doesn’t feel shame when it should and tries to force shame on those who are strong enough to point this out. I worry that any person who does not have a strong foundation in faith and morals will too easily swept away in an avalanche of socially acceptable sinful behavior.