With all these morality issues confronting our kids—abortion without parental notification, LGBT pressures that push for “gender spectrum education” and for “transgendered children”, and the ‘hooking up” culture that detaches sex from any type of relationships whatsoever—our kids need some serious “armor.” Did you know it’s now “in/cool” for children to say they’re “bisexual”? And I just saw a young boy’s Facebook page with porn links all over it.
I am not an alarmist…on second thought maybe I am! Call it whatever seems appropriate. It is time for parents to pull out that Armor of Christ and help our kids learn to wear it. St. Paul tells us we need armor because we are in a deadly (soul killing) battle against the devil. (The good news is that he wrote about this battle nearly 2000 years ago. So the temptations and assaults of the devil are nothing new. However, St. Paul would be “beyond scandalized” by the kinds of things happening in our modern world.)
There was a time when our culture seemed to uphold and aspire to truth and virtue. Now our culture promotes relativism and pleasure. There are two important points to make when these discussions come up:
1) “Morality” is not something that can be put up for a vote. Morality is either “right” or “wrong.” If the majority says “killing babies is legal and therefore acceptable” that still doesn’t make abortion any less sinful/wrong.
2) There are those who say, “Live and let live”…there are those who consider themselves to be Catholic and yet find it acceptable to go along with abortion, same sex marriage and hooking up. But, those who watched Hitler do his thing without saying a word of protest, were bystander participants in evil. Dante who wrote the Divine Comedy (in the 14th century), said, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” We are called to be informed and once we are informed we must speak up.
The Armor we need:
St. Paul says we need to have our feet firmly planted…Reality and logic seem to be missing in the current debates about moral issues. The Lobby for Untruth has twisted our language so that people are confused and “bad” seems “good”. It is important to be educated and pay attention to the carefully articulated teachings of the Magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit. Obedience is necessary on the “narrow path”. If we were in the military we would obey our commander or face discharge. In the Church we have received moral directives which we are called to obey.
We need the “belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.” Our culture would like to do away with tradition. The past has been discarded as useless and irrelevant. But it is not. Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Read: the Fall of the Roman Empire and note the similarities between then and now.
The Lord has given us each Gifts of the Spirit which we are to use for His glory. Some are called to teach, some are to preach. Some are to care for the poor. All of these things can help bring about greater good. See Romans 12:6-8.
We need “the shield of faith.” Our Church teaches about the One who saves by dying, who has all the power of heaven available and yet allows His persecutors to torture and torment Him. It seems a paradox. Yet this witness allows us to find peace amid the conflicts that swirl around us, because we have our Savior beside us. His Mother is with us. We are surrounded by angelic realms. We see what non-believers cannot see—when we open the eyes of faith.
We need “the helmet of salvation.” Our minds may feel trapped. Sometimes we don’t have the right response, the quick comeback. But the helmet we put on is the guarantee of life everlasting. We have a “long view” on all of this.
Finally, we need “the sword of the Spirit.” All things are possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is not our words or actions that will make the difference. But when we put ourselves out there, to defend Truth and seek conversions, the Spirit is able to work on the hearts of those around us.
St. Teresa of Avila writes about a man who was a gambler. He lived an immoral, decadent life. On his deathbed he regretted the way he had lived but he refused to repent. He assumed he was beyond help. His confessor and the nuns argued with him and they prayed for him. It was probably not their words that finally reached the man.
But the Spirit of God opened his heart and the man gushed forth his sorrow and repentance. He died with a smile on his face.
That’s what it means to do battle against evil. Be informed. Be ready. Pray. Love.
Copyright 2013 Judith Costello