Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Serious Question

St. Therese of Lisieux (right) with her sister Celine.
Just before Christmas I found myself in line at Walmart with some gift wrap.  Behind me was a woman with her two granddaughters.  I happened to notice that the girls were dressed nicely and so I said so.  The grandmother sorrowfully replied that it was because they had come from a funeral.  She said she was buying the girls each a toy to cheer them up.  The older girl had chosen a small pillow that was popular among her friends.  It was designed like a disgusting inanimate object that is also a smartphone emoji.  What a strange thing to pick out, I thought!  Then I noticed that the couple checking out before me were taking quite a long time.  They had a huge amount of cheap plastic toys and were now paying with a very shiny credit card.  I could hear them raving about how special they would make their child's Christmas!

This situation stayed in my mind because it represents many Americans.  We rush around buying trashy toys for our children just to stimulate a squeal or a smile.  I must admit that I have participated.  But isn't this at least a little bit sad?

Cheap, ugly toys are so popular!  The isles of Walmart are filled with scary monsters, strange beasts, blue haired dolls that look like strippers, plastic creatures with magic powers and even some plush TV characters known for their "tolerance".  There are also many worthless books, violent video games and lots of iPads, which according to science encourage children to be much too hyperactive.

Are we trying to educate our children or to distract them?

 Is it healthy to make life into a joke, especially when it is at the expense of everything sacred?

What happens when everything is mocked, everything is for pleasure and superficiality is encouraged?  What happens when spoiled, bad mannered, bratty and entitled children are rewarded?  Take a good look at the TV shows!

Is the purpose of life to laugh at nothing- a joke?
On the other hand, the Catholic seriousness is a great part of healthy development.  It fosters the child's innocence, ability to marvel, attraction to sacred objects and ideas, sacrifice, heroism and righteousness.  This child becomes calm because he is entertained by the true, the good and the beautiful.

Of course we do not constantly have to discuss the serious threats to the civilized world or admire classical art and brilliant intellectual works.  But then again, full term abortion was just legalized in the state of New York.  This does seem like an appropriate time to end the party.

What if we were to ask, "How is your soul doing today?"

It should not surprise us when today's child lifts his eyes with grave wonder that life is deeper than a joke.

Children need to be asked serious questions.

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