Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Loss of Shame

There was a time in the not too distant past where individuals protected themselves from public acts of stupidity/pornography/lewdness because of shame. Since our increasingly secular society continues to push out God and morality it should come as no surprise as we witness a young person, in this case Miley Cyrus, take her once blossoming and promising career and ruin it. For the love of me I still don't understand what or why she is doing any of what she is doing. Worse still, I can't believe that the parents and friends that love and surround her aren't helping -- or at the very least publicly chastising her.
Miley Cyrus on the cover of Rolling Stone

Specifically, to get "technical" we are talking about the Ninth Commandment. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." The Catechism does a much better job of breaking this down and linking it to shame. Purity begets modesty. Sadly, those words are often linked with prudery and a repressive or overbearing parentage. I feel sorry for women most of all. In our present day society in order to stand out as a strong and independent woman you essentially have to "show the goods". Why on earth would any woman think this makes them "more" independent" or increase their personal power? Further this loss of morality seeps into their relationships. It's okay to flirt as long as I don't have sex. It's okay, no one knows so rumors can't start. It's a sad place to find oneself and it seems that young women in particular are the biggest victims.

We as Christians live in a time where it is assumed that shame is old fashioned and that they should learn to ignore feelings of shame in exchange for the good now. We are to embrace that "animal" in us and somehow reconcile that with that voice in our head that is screaming "No!" As Christians, and as Americans we need to rediscover this sense of shame in our works, vocation, interactions and entertainment. With our technology it's far to easy to send lewd pictures, and arrange secret rendezvous. It's almost like we've accepted that its not bad and won't be presented at our final judgement. How can one possibly reconcile this behavior? There is ALWAYS SOMEONE WATCHING! A teen may not get caught watching porn on their smartphone but He is there.

We all need to take stock. We need to realize that God is right there. We may be able to sneak or ignore this for the short term but why? Is the thrill of the moment really that important? Truly? We all need that deep relationship. It all starts with Christ. He's there as you watch your porn. He's there as you send that topless picture to your boyfriend. He's there as you arrange that secret meeting with your lover. He's just waiting for you to turn away from that sin. What will giving into that sin get or benefit you?

At some point we will reach an apex in this country of sin and lewd behavior; hopefully there are people that will reach that personally. Sooner rather than later. At some point, with all shame pushed to the side and everything is done for the "feeling" or "the moment", the victims will they realize that they pushed away true love from God, friends, family and spouses. The pain at that moment will be very, very bleak. I pray that those struggling with this particular broken commandment seek the help they need. Either by confiding in a friend, spouse, or during a heart-opening Reconciliation sacrament. When you feel shame, you are doing wrong. If you are hiding something, you are doing wrong. If you have to lie, it's already hurt yourself and others; you are doing wrong. Simply ask yourself, "If I took this moment of __________, and Jesus was standing right there would I continue? Would he want me to stop?" If we all took this as our filter, the world would be a much better place. We would be married and love deeper, we'd have a new level of trust, and we wouldn't feel helpless or hungry for a cheap thrill. As a father of a newborn daughter, watching Miley continue the downward spiral into oblivion it scares me. I hope that my daughter never has to learn the lesson of shame by destroying herself.

As bleak as it sounds, I'm hopeful for the future through Christ.

"Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen."