3D

We took the family to see Madagascar 3 in 3D the other day.  (A great family movie for all ages!) The nine of us filed into our seats and got settled while I helped the two youngest (ages 4 and 2) with their special glasses, which went over very well and they were oohing and aahing over the scenes jumping out at them.

Real D glasses

Real D glasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little while into the movie there was a particularly awesome 3D scene and I excitedly turned to the little girls to share their reaction because I just knew they must be almost overwhelmed with the awesomeness of something they don’t see everyday – or really ever!  But instead of childlike awe and wonder they were staring blankly at the screen – without their glasses on!  I couldn’t believe they were missing the experience.  What happened to the initial oohing and aahing?   Surely they just didn’t understand that if the glasses stayed on there would be more of that?  So in a screeching whisper I coaxed and cajoled until they put their glasses back on and sure enough their sweet little faces lit up again!  For about 5 minutes…  and then the glasses were off again.  I coaxed and cajoled again and glasses went on and so it went for the rest of the movie because I could not stand the fact that they were watching a dull and blurry screen when those little glasses so easily changed the whole game.  It made no sense really.  They saw and experienced how much better it was with the glasses on so why would they ever want to take them off?  But what could I do?  Forcing the glasses on would have been counterproductive, not to mention rude if crying and fighting ensued.  I was forced to watch the movie and simply accept the fact that I had done all I could to help my little girls experience the magic of a 3D movie, and failed.

This parenting moment reminds me an awful lot of the gift of free will God our Father gives His children.   He teaches and guides and coaxes and cajoles but ultimately we have the choice to follow and live in his will or not.  He gave us the gift of being able to freely choose for ourselves to accept Him or reject Him, that is, to live out our 3D life with or without our glasses on!  Of course He wants us to experience the fullness and beauty of our world, and creation itself was designed to elicit our awe and wonder, but if we won’t wear the glasses then we get the grainy and dull version.  How heartbreaking for God our Father to watch us partaking in life with less than He intended and less than we deserve.   He’s set us up Royally and at times we choose the pauper’s lot, hurting not only ourselves but also our ever-loving Father in Heaven.

Why would we do that??  I suppose it’s one thing if we don’t know any better, but even when we do  we often still reject God’s more excellent way.  Like my 4 and 2-year-old rejecting their glasses for no apparent reason, even after they had experienced the wonder of having them on.  It makes no sense!  Why not do it the way God has prescribed?  We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The answer lies partly in the cunning voice of our most ancient adversary.  The distractions and enticements that lead us away from the simple and obvious path of truth cause us to question the truths we’ve seen with our very own eyes.  The evil one deceives and conceals while obscuring our minds from counting the cost.  This is what Jesus warned against when He said,

 Mt. 7:13-14  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

There is one path that leads to Heaven and It’s a path of Love.  We were created to know God and as such to Love.  We are called to be like little children, not only to Love but to be Loved.  Jesus is saying, buyer beware, the wide and varied paths lead directly to the manipulator of all that is good, for the evil one creates nothing of his own.  And when his work is done he can count on our own pride to perpetuate the lie.   After all who wants to admit they’ve chosen unwisely or wrongly?

God our loving Father wants so much for us to put on our glasses and expose the lies for what they are but more importantly to see the Love He offers so vividly that it seems we can reach right out and grab it!

Lord we pray that you illuminate the narrow road and give us the grace to choose to be on a path straight to you! Amen.

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YO GABBA GABBA

I was sitting with my toddlers watching Yo Gabba Gabba recently and this quirky little jingle came on about listening.  It was cute and catchy and the message was that we should listen to the world around us.  I was ok with it all until the following visual filled the screen.  It was one of those moments that raises the hackles on the back of your neck.

Yes we want our kids to be good listeners. It’s a great virtue.  But what exactly is riding in on that big purple wave pouring into the highly impressionable and vulnerable mind of my child?  In teaching them to listen to the world around them what exactly are they hearing?  I was left feeling very unsettled as my imagination went crazy with the endless possibilities and combinations of pollution that could possibly be pouring in.

I know how hard I have to work at filtering out the trash.  I go to great lengths to avoid that which could lead me away from the true source of light and life and am very careful about the purple ‘wave’ pouring into my own mind.  It’s a conscious decision and effort on my part and it’s not always easy!  Our society surrounds us with opportunities to watch garbage on tv or listen to music that demeans women and portrays distorted ideas of sex,  or read slanderous gossip in magazines.  I think about being in high school and sneaking in the latest issue of Cosmo and absorbing all that well researched ‘truth’.   I shudder to think that the only Theology of the Body we really had was from a smut magazine loaded with lies and designed to lead impressionable youth directly into sin.

So what about my kids?  Not only are they not consciously and willfully looking to avoid that which will defile their innocent minds, at times they actually fight me on it.  They are often lured in by the attractive facade that always adorns that which is evil.  The evil one is very skilled at his work and especially where our children are concerned.  He doesn’t exactly advertise the true consequences awaiting our most vulnerable, but rather hides and lies and deceives.

John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

He is the Ruler of this world and cunning in his deception so he can lead as many souls astray as possible before he is thrown into the pit of fire forever.

John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.” 

 So we as followers of Christ are called to be in this world but not of this world

John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”


We are commanded to put on our armor and prepare for battle

 Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand   firm against the tactics of the devil.”

So that we might transform the world by being vessels of Christ’s light and salt of the earth!

Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? … You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden…  Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” 

As parents we are engaged in battle on behalf of our children, God’s children,  so we can raise up a faithful generation for Him.

What goes in will come out!

The good news is that God has already promised that we will win!  He has already conquered sin and death but the story must play out.  He has clothed us with power from on high and pours out His Grace in abundance.  Our advocate the Holy Spirit is always at work in our hearts and minds and lives, guiding us to all truth.

"The Body of Christ"

“The Body of Christ” (Photo credit: Susan WD)

Holy mother Church is steadfast and provides safe harbor from battle.   She has been lighting the way for us for over 2000 years and continues to be a beacon of light through the sacraments.

I will likely fail at sheltering my kids from all that is evil in this world but with God’s help, with our Blessed Mother’s Loving example and with perseverance and vigilance, I have Hope as a parent.

The voice of evil can be overcome and ultimately will be silenced.

Lord strengthen us as parents, that your voice might be the loudest in this noisy world! Amen

God’s-eye view

My kindergartener recently had a conversation with grandma that went something like this.
Grandma: Pretty soon you will know how to read Andrew, and then you can just pick up a book and read it!
Andrew: You mean I will just go into school one day and I will be able to read?
Grandma: Well you will have to work and learn how to do it but then you will know how to do it forever.
At this point he shrugged indifferently and ran off to play…

If only he could see what he’s missing from an adult perspective!!  How do you make a 6-year-old understand  that the whole world will start to blossom  once they do the relatively short work of learning to read?  At age 6 he simply has no idea what he’s missing and how his window to the world will expand exponentially!

God our Father must feel this way about his children all the time!  He sees not only the great potential we have of our own power but the limitless potential we have when we live through Him.   He knows the world will blossom in ways we simply can not imagine when we trust in His ways.  But to do this requires work, it requires obedience and prayer and humility and a desire to serve the will of our father more than our own. It requires perseverance in the face of self-doubt and worldly failure. Sometimes it requires a single-minded focus that is near impossible to come by in a world full of distractions. It requires patience so at odds with the attitude of instant gratification prevalent in American culture.
God is always ready and willing to teach us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)

I wanted to shout after Andrew and call him back and explain all the wonders awaiting him.  I wanted, somehow, to make him understand.  Even as I write this I’m at a loss.  The impact of knowing how to read is so undefinable.

The same thing can be said of our Loving God.  We can’t begin to define Him or understand all that he has in store for us.  Only through the steady and faithful building of a relationship with Him will our eyes be opened, will our minds be enlightened, will our hearts be filled.  Are we eager and excited to know Him or do we shrug indifferently and run off to carry out our own plans?

Lord, help us tune out the world so we can focus our attention on you, who makes the world blossom in our minds, our hearts and our souls!  Amen