Catholic Spirituality, Catholics Do What?, Culture of Death, Evangelization, motherhood, Parenting, Pornography, Sex, sin, Theology of the Body, toddlers

Porn proof kids and patron saints {part 3 in a series}

April 27, 2016

{Part 1}

{Part 2}

Lately I’ve been writing about — and hearing heart-wrenching accounts of —  people struggling with pornography addiction. It’s rampant in our culture in the West, and the deeper I dig into the statistics and the anecdotes, the more I’m realizing that it is very much a cross-cultural issue, and that even as the internet has transcended geographical boundaries in the best ways, it has been the vehicle for what I suspect history will look back upon as one of the most pernicious evils of our time.

And none of us are immune to it.

But it’s not hopeless.

And the very last thing we’re called to do, as parents, is throw our hands up in the air and resign ourselves to the sad inevitability of our kids and their friends becoming statistics.

So we take the practical steps. We talk to our kids early and often about what pornography is, the real cost of it, emotionally and spiritually and physicallyand we put physical and behavioral barriers in place to protect them and to safeguard the sanctity of our homes.

At the same time, we are called to be salt and light in a world grown dim and flavorless – and increasingly so, where sex is concerned. So we fill our little people’s hearts and minds with truth, goodness, and beauty, and we demonstrate for them what real love looks and feels and sounds like. And we send them out.

Christianity does not belong in a bubble. And neither do little Christian foot soldiers in training. So while do our best to make our home base a sanctuary of love and learning and growing in discipleship and virtue, we must also equip our kids to engage the outside world, bit by bit, bringing the Gospel to their friends and classmates by means of those organic, innocent child-to-child encounters that the very young are so ideally suited for.

Our kids are going to be exposed to evil in this life, but we needn’t resign ourselves to the inevitability their becoming enslaved to it.

By teaching them, using the language of Theology of the Body and the currency of virtue and the grace of the Sacraments, our kids can become little living icons of Christ in a dark and hurting world, and grow up to be the kind of men and women who change history.

St. John Paul II left a great gift to the world in his masterpiece, Theology of the Body. As his wisdom and holiness continues to be distilled into materials that kids and young adults and laypersons of every stripe can readily access, simply entrusting our kids to his heavenly protection is a powerful first step.

A famous story has been circulating on the internet for a couple years now, and it never fails to bring me to tears. Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist for the diocese of Rome, was speaking about the effectiveness of invoking different saints during exorcisms. During one encounter, he asked the demon point blank “why do you fear the name of John Paul II so much?” and it replied “Because he pulled so many young people from my hands.”

Mic drop.

Another heavy hitter in the battle for purity, I’ve no doubt: Mother Angelica.

Though she’s only been in heaven (hey, even the Pope thinks so!) a month or so, stories are already circulating about wealthy businessmen (as in, this exact scenario played out more than once!) trolling for porn in their hotel rooms and instead happening upon the oddly captivating image of an elderly nun, sometimes sporting an eye patch, telling them who they really were, and why they deserved to be fed more than garbage.

(Those encounters, by the way, ended up culminating with conversions to Catholicism and massive financial gifts to the ministry and operations of EWTN. Because God can use any of us.)

So we entrust ourselves, and our children, to the mercy of God and the powerful intercession of His saints, and we face the problem of pornography head on, because, in the immortal words of St. Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”

Take heart, moms and dads; So were you.

(This post originally appeared at Catholic Exchange)

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1 Comment

  • Reply jeanette April 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    St. Joseph is a good choice, too. If you pray the Litany of St. Joseph you will find he is named “Chaste guardian of the Virgin” “Joseph, most pure” and “Guardian of virgins”…so he is chaste and pure as well as a guardian to ALL virgins, not just Mary. Using a prayer like this with your children is a good way to go through each title and have them think about why Joseph has it and how it applies to us in our own life.

    Another good prayer to say together each day is “Prayer to St. Joseph, the Guardian”:
    O Blessed St. Joseph, faithful guardian and protector of virgins to whom God entrusted Jesus and Mary, I implore you by the love which you did bear them, to preserve me from every defilement of soul and body, that I may always serve the in holiness and purity of love. Amen.

    Such a prayer has words that will tell your children something. Virgin, for instance. A quaint word in our times, but a reality they should be living. Talk about why. The idea that our souls and bodies can be defiled and what does it really mean to be defiled. That they should be striving for holiness. And purity of love: what after all does it mean to love in purity. These are good conversation starters to have with your kids. Don’t just recite the prayer. Delve into it as a catechetical moment. Then they will pull up the meaning for themselves whenever they pray these words.

    Let them also realize that the words of a prayer like this one are meant to inspire them to virtue in imitation of the saint and to have recourse to that saint for that virtue, especially in moments of temptation. Help them realize that invoking any saint is a real help, not just some magical formula. They are asking for the real grace to do spiritual battle with that saint at their side.

    A sacramental, such as a medal or scapular, is also a helpful and tangible reminder. If they wear one not merely has a habit, but as something to touch and remember that help is available to them, they have yet one more thing to support them in their battles. Again, not like some magic charm, but as a visible sign of encouragement to follow Jesus. Example: here is a medal for you to wear. Never forget that this saint is as close to you right now as this medal is when you wear it. Never forget they are here to help you.

    Connecting kids to the reality of the supernatural help available through prayer will remind them that God does not leave us to fend for ourselves, but provides ample grace to help us, including the graces we receive through invoking saints. In fact, if we try to do things without God’s help, we will fail.

    Guardian angels are also important. Remind them to call for their help.

    The Holy Spirit can and should be invoked, too. Simple aspirations, such as “Come, Holy Spirit!” is easy enough to teach to your children so that they can understand that grace is just that close to them.

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