Saturday, May 4, 2013

Put Down the Controller, Pick up Catholicism

The television is dangerous. It is from the television that a great number of lies and impurities invade the minds of children, and let’s face it, even adults; myself included. I did not realize this until recently when I began to spend more of my free time reading. Now when I turn on the TV, its relentless use of promiscuity, profanity, and macabre violence practically slaps me in the face. As time goes on, more and more profanity, sex, and gore find its way onto the television.  It is difficult to be pure and virtuous while at the same time exposed to shows that go completely against purity. I would wager that the majority of television shows, if not explicitly going against the Catholic Faith, implicitly go against it through the actions or words of the people within the program. 

 This is particularly dangerous for children and teenagers whose minds and consciences are being formed in a crucial stage of their life. Instead of learning to emulate the Saints, they emulate their favorite fictional character whose morality is questionable; instead of seeking the reality of Truth found within the Catholic Church, they look to ‘reality television’ for truth. I am not saying all television is evil, but I do think many shows are spiritually harmful. I also think overall it entraps us in to watching for long periods of time, becoming spiritual sloths. I have definitely been guilty of that. Instead of a TV marathon, we could nurture our mind and soul in other ways. I propose that instead of watching the television, we pick up a book and read.

When I speak of books, I am talking specifically about authentically Catholic ones. We have a rich treasury of written works by holy men and women who lived the Faith to the fullest, whose lives were spent in such closeness with our Blessed Lord that it is eye opening and inspiring to read. For instance, I just finished reading Interior Castle by Saint Teresa of Avila. In it, she describes the soul as a Castle made of a solid crystal, within which are many Mansions. In the center of the Castle is the Mansion where the King of Kings resides, calling us to come closer to Him. She then explains that as we pray, we enter into the Castle, stepping away from the outer dark with all its vipers (sin), and begin a journey towards Him who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. It is both amazing to hear it described in such a way, as well as challenging to try and practice such constant prayer in life, totally dedicated to Jesus in everything.

This book and the life of St. Teresa of Avila are gems in the treasury of the Catholic Faith, but they are not the only ones. Within this treasury there are also a plethora of books written by other Saints and Doctors of the Church, teachings from the early Church Fathers, Papal documents, recorded sermons that challenged the culture and called people to strive for Sainthood, as well as nearly two thousand years of history that every Catholic needs to know about.

It may not be easy to do at first, but I guarantee reading authentic Catholic literature will edify you greatly. I have found that learning about the lives of Saints and holy people who lived the Faith in ages past has given me a strong anchor in life, taught me new ways of prayer and service, placing me closer to our Father in Heaven than I have ever been before. I think this is because instead of absorbing the information the TV is blasting at me with all its noise, I am actively and consciously seeking out the Truth in silence, assenting to the Lord of Lords not just with emotions, but with the will and intellect. I have a stack of books on my shelf, including works from St. Francis De Sales, St. Louis DeMontfort, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many others. There is no end to this treasury of literature in sight for me, and that is exciting!

Everything we do should be oriented towards Heaven, for giving glory to God, and for the salvation of souls. So let me ask you this, what is your living room oriented towards?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic article! The entertainment and media industries, accessing millions of homes through the television, have been probably the most influential way in which the enemies of the Church have caused Catholics to adopt a secular and agnostic worldview.

    The quicker we abandon these harmful influences and begin to reestablish a true Catholic culture within our homes and society the better.

    Beaumont Catholic