During Advent, we are looking at getting our house in order in preparation of the Nativity of our Lord. We began this discussion speaking on the importance of going to confession here, then we moved on to how to select a good confessor which you can read here. Today, we are going to talk about Holiness and how blogs and media in general can help us, or hurt us in our pursuit of sanctity.
As we are getting back to the basics here, let us remember that the point of frequent confession, frequent communion and much prayer is so that we can draw closer to God. It is easy to forget the purpose amidst the actions we take to attain to that end. The pursuit of God is what we are called to do and the way to that is through being set apart: Holiness.
If we think of our soul as a garden, a very special and tender garden, it will greatly aid us in our discussion on media and in blogs particularly. The analogy of the garden is used by scripture and Christ Himself, and many of the saints so it is an apt description of our souls. If the very purpose of our entire existence is to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next, then we need to truly understand what it means to know, love and serve him and how our actions either bring us towards this goal, or draw us away from it.
With this being the framework of our discussion, let us get into some particular details.
The idea of being set apart isn’t so foreign to use as we might imagine. We have many items that we set apart from common use within the church and home (Candles, Water, Salt, Crucifixes, Scapulars, Statues, Buildings, Altars, etc) and those items were made by specific actions from priest. Another example we can use is for those of who are married, our marriage sets us apart from the rest of the population in that we are “reserved” for each other. Religious servants of God (both male and female) take vows and set themselves apart and the list goes on and on.
In one way, we as Catholics share in this holiness in our Baptism as we have “put on Christ” and we have been made Holy. Saint Paul, in First Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 19 says, “Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?” As such, we have been set apart from the world and we have a duty to not only keep this holiness but to further it along by cooperating with the Spirit of God. We have received Baptismal grace and our obligation is to maintain that grace, work with it, so that we achieve the end for which we labor, namely, God Himself.
So what does all of this have to do with blogs? Well, we have received grace into our souls at our Baptism, we work with that grace by going to confession, receiving Holy Communion, and practicing our Faith. We go to great lengths to become holy yet we often allow things into our lives that promote a contrary nature to holiness. Media, more often than not, hurts our souls more than it helps it and blogs, in general, are not good for souls well being.
There, I said it. Blogs, in general hurt our souls. How so you may ask? That is easy enough to explain. Since you are reading this blog post, I can make a few assumptions.
First, you are seeking out traditional Catholicism.
Second, you are trying to learn more to deepen your faith on traditional Catholicism.
Three, you like to read about what is going on in the church.
Now, in both the first and the second instance, the reading of “SOME” blogs can actually help awaken our souls and, by the grace of God, give us understanding in areas in which we didn’t have light before.
But, the third instance, is where we get into trouble. Frankly, we, as humans, like to have others validate our beliefs. We like to read that “other people think the same way” and that “I’m right and they are wrong” and “look at what Pope Francis did this time” and “the world is coming to and end because of this prophecy matches up perfectly” and I can go on but I think the point has been made.
If our souls are a garden, the type of information we allow into that garden is going to have to be sifted. Junk in, junk out and if we are constantly sifting “junk” then how in the world are we going to have the time to be quiet, sit still, and allow our Beloved Gardener into our garden to do the work of pruning that is so necessary?
To grow in sanctity we have to be set apart and that includes shielding ourselves from a constant stream of media. How can our minds and our souls be set apart if we are constantly feeding it information that isn’t helping us? Tell me what good does it do to my soul to know the latest thing that Pope Francis said or did? Do I really need any further confirmation that things are bad in the church? All of this, is just distractions and as such, they are removing our focus from becoming holy. We are not able to hear the voice of Our Beloved when our minds are constantly filled with the world, the things of the world and even the problems within the church today.
We have been called to be holy in our Baptism. We are called to maintain our holiness now and to grow in holiness and we need to take this very seriously. During this advent, consider what you are allowing into your garden. Consider the books you read, the blogs you read, the movies you watch, the constant stream of text messages you receive, the non-stop emailing, and consider the effect it is having on your soul and consider too, if this is causing you to lose sight of simply being set apart for God and for His use alone.
We should be very thankful that the church has provided us with Advent so that we can think about these things and prepare our souls for the Nativity of Our Lord. As the Lord came forth from the Spotless, Pure and Immaculate Mary, let us call upon Our Blessed Mother to aid us in our pursuit of holiness.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen