The morality course continued. So far we have established: if you don’t know what to do – pause and gather data, seek expert advice, pray. Do not act with a doubtful conscience. Do not act if the action seems unreasonable, unsafe, illegal or immoral. Be as good as Pinocchio, give a little whistle. Opinions must be supported by facts. Understand the opinion, be able to explain it. Morality is objective, it is doing what is right because it is right, not what works best for me. Natural tendencies must be controlled and directed. Don’t act on impulse. Do not be a victim of an “off the rack” personality; develop an adult self.
Today’s question: The Church and school brainwash their audiences. Discuss openly with others.
If the Church has brainwashed you, what’s the evidence? After some time of Catholic education, receiving the sacraments, describe your personal relationship with Jesus and detail your knowledge of the Church, not just the parish church. After the many retreats you’ve been on, do you line up for Holy Communion daily, weekly, monthly, stop me when I’m close. Are you active in your parish community? Which is a priority: Scripture, the Sunday homily, monthly Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, educating yourself and your children in the faith, the Nordstrom sales, the nightly news on any channel, the sports/financial pages? Are you a compassionate Good Samaritan to your neighbor? Do you risk living the faith openly so that your neighbors, office workers, or school friends will know you are a Catholic? Beliefs are rules for action. “Live the Gospel, when necessary use words.” Our natural desires are to understand, to love, and to act on love. That’s Christianity’s great Commandment. Bring life to faith and faith to life.
If you have been brainwashed by school and formal education; are you aware and curious? Do you search for real data and are you honest with it? Is that really a pretty black cat with a long white stripe on its back or is it something else? School work ought to be directed toward getting an education, liberating the mind from ignorance and directing your natural tendencies toward The Good (Eudemonia). Wanting a diploma and not an education, students play the odds and beat the system. What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you claim.
Those who survive brainwashing are able to reason. They are equipped with tools necessary to answer tomorrow’s questions that haven’t been created yet. They will be leaders and not sheep.
In the end, there is no brainwashing like the brainwashing you don’t even know you are getting. Most likely it’s the brainwashing of the American Dream. Neither religious nor educational, it creates a craving need for what is not really even wanted. The American Dream has its revered saints and recognized shrines. It promises success beyond church and school. Whom do you choose to follow; Bill Gates, Taylor Swift, Captain America, Grumpy, or Jesus Christ? Does “I am the Lord your God, you shall not have false gods before you” haunt you? Do you worship at the shrines of South Coast Plaza, Angel Stadium, Honda Center or our church? Don’t forget the shrines of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Amazon.com. Who and what interferes with you keeping the Sabbath holy?
The Little Prince knows that adults ask all the wrong questions. What questions do you ask, what data do you gather, what conclusions do you make? How do you review your conscience? Who critiques your previously unquestioned certitudes? Allow space for God and His ways.
Media is a powerful tool – a good servant, a bad master. I ask you to join me in taking a risk. On January 13th, 14th 2019 I have invited Jean Twenge, PhD, a professor at California State University San Diego to give some lectures here at St. Juliana. Please take a moment and GOOGLE Jean Twenge, take time to read her recent book; iGen. The “i” stand for Internet Generation. She has a few YouTube videos and TED TALKS on line. Her researched specialty is our youth, how to understand and direct them. On January 13th her audience will be primarily the Confirmation classes, sponsors, and parents, yet all are invited. On January 14th her audience will be YOU and ANYONE YOU invite. Please cast a huge net. Invite your friends at any school – grammar, high school, or college – Catholic or not Catholic. I believe Prof. Twenge to be the best we can hear speak about our youth. Mark the date and invite your family and friends now. Learn how to understand “the kids” - she will be good for Grandparents too! Her other books include Generation Me, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, and The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. I’ve read all but the last one!