Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our Kids and a Culture Devoid of Love

Our Kids and a 
Culture Devoid of Love

          I was buying groceries the other day, and as I was in the frozen food section, I overheard a portion of a conversation two 20-something employees were having as they stocked the shelves:
          Employee 1: “She was wearing a ring, though, and I think it was one of those ‘purity rings.’”
          Employee 2: “Man, that sucks.  But you just have to ask.  The answer’s always ‘no’ until you ask.”
          Employee 1: “But I’m really bad at that and before you know it I’m stuck in the friend zone.”
          Employee 2: “Come on, dude, do you really think she’ll say no?”
          I resisted the urge to break in on their conversation (though perhaps I should have), said a prayer for the young lady in question, and moved on to the juice aisle.
          The conversation came back to my mind on the drive home, though.  I can’t judge the young man for not valuing purity (though at some level he must have known it is good).  I suspect he’s never been taught that value, and he lives in a culture that mocks it.  But it was clear that the young lady he was speaking of does value it.  He certainly knows enough to realize it is something important to her and a deeply held conviction of hers.
          His response to that knowledge?  How can I tempt her to abandon her principles so I can get what I want? 
Worse to me than the disregard for purity is the fact that these two young men didn’t know the first thing about love.  Love, which is based on sacrifice, which is defined by the desire for another’s good for the sake of the other, was completely foreign.  I doubt the young man would have claimed he and this girl were in love, and yet he was strategizing about how to tempt her into sinning.  Forget the regret and hurt it may cause her, as long as he gets what he wants.
Even now I am not judging him, though I know it sounds like I am.  Just as he has probably never been taught to value purity, he likely has never been taught anything about authentic love.  (Which, by the way, is why I had second thoughts about not breaking into the conversation.  Perhaps a simple charitable wake-up call would have at least made them think.)
This is the world in which we live, and which our youths are confronting.  As a parent, that scares me to death.  But it is up to us, as Christians, to teach love to our children, and to teach them purity.  Though my kids are six and under, I have even begun praying for their future spouses (if they are not called to the religious life).
Perhaps, if we form our children well, and pray like crazy, we will unleash a mob of holy warriors on our culture who will continue, with success, the work we are striving to do now.