By Amanda Rose
Media has a profound influence on us, and so it is important to fill our minds with that which is good and holy and true. The Catechism offers important reminders of our life in Christ and our dignity as a human person, so we can have a true anchor in the midst of a chaotic society.
A visit to the pediatrician’s office left kind of traumatized this week. My fifteen year-old daughter kept telling me to “just let it go” when we were driving home. But I couldn’t, not until we had prayed for a little boy and his parents. I had witnessed this little child’s soul being destroyed by his own mother.
We entered the pediatrician’s waiting room and sat across from a man and woman with a bouncy young son about seven years old. He was rambunctious, talking non-stop, acting a bit silly because there was nothing for him to do, and neither parent was communicating with him in any active or positive way. The only attention he got was what he was working for through his rowdiness.
Dad was playing a game on his phone, never looking up, infrequently commenting on the number of points he had achieved in the game he was playing. The mother never stopped criticizing her little boy. If I said something positive, she would respond immediately to negate it. Not a single time did she say anything remotely kind or positive. Her tone of voice conveyed disdain. It was as though his very presence was an annoyance to her.
This is going to be one of the kids diagnosed as ADHD because he can’t stay in his seat in class, can’t focus, doesn’t respond to the teacher’s discipline. The medication will help his behavior, but it won’t teach him that he has dignity as a human person.
The divine image is present in every man. It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves (cf. chapter two). – Catechism of the Catholic Church Section 1702
You’ve probably seen parents talk to their children to mock and criticize rather than discipline and train. You’ve probably also seen spouses talk to each other with sarcasm and insults. If you had seen me when I was married, you would have heard me speak sarcastically about or to him.
It wasn’t something I noticed until it had been going on for years, only a couple years before our divorce. When I realized what I was doing, it shocked me. I didn’t intend to tear my husband down with my words and my attitude towards him. Why did it seem so normal?
That’s when I realized it was all the fault of the 30-minute television sit-com industry! I blame them entirely for my behavior. Yup, they made me do it! It wasn’t my fault!!! Yeah…if only I could lay the blame right down at the feet of these sit-coms and then…silently…sneak… away…
The human person participates in the light and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection “in seeking and loving what is true and good. – Catechism of the Catholic Church Section 1704
Oh yeah, that “free will” stuff. Guess I need to face up to the fact that I invited those funny couples into my home. They criticized each other, lied to each other, and mocked each other week after week while I laughed. I chose to be entertained by their unkindness, deception, and selfishness. If I hadn’t been hanging out with these friends and inviting them into my living room for visits so often, I might not have gone from being voted “Most Considerate” of my senior class to runner up for the “Most Sarcastic Catholic Wife” award. No, I wasn’t “seeking and loving what is good and true.”
Media has a profound influence on us, and so it is important to fill our minds with that which is good and holy and true. The Catechism explains our life in Christ and our dignity as a human person.
Endowed with “a spiritual and immortal” soul,5 the human person is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.”6 From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1703
If you’ve been through a divorce and are doing the hard work of healing and rebuilding your life in preparation for a new relationship, I encourage you to not make this dangerous mistake when you begin a new relationship. It’s so easy to take on qualities and characteristics of the people we’re around, even we’re around them virtually and not in real life. Going through the annulment process is a critical step to take in recognizing the mistakes we made so we can correct them and have a better chance at having a successful relationship.
We need to become more aware of the immortal souls that God has created in his own image. As we grow in our awareness of our own call to holiness, recognizing that we were created for eternal beatitude, we will become more aware of how our words and actions affect others. We want to be Christ in the world, not merely living our lives for laughs at the expense of others. We have to be vigilant and aware of our words and actions, careful that they say what we mean; and careful that they’re not just plain mean.
May Christ guide us in recognizing that he is our true good, that his Divine Image is in us, and may we choose to live a life worthy of his calling.