When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus summarized the ten commandments in two: "To love God with all your, heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then to love one's neighbor as oneself." ( Lk. 10:27). These two (2) give a summary of the whole of the commandments and the binding force is love. Contemplate the cross with the two dimensions! The "Vertical" first, loving God above all; then the "Horizontal" follows, the love of neighbor. The priorities must be straight! If not, IDOLATRY!
St. Thomas Aquinas asserts that the human heart is longing for God. Augustine reiterates the same with the classical words from his CONFESSIONS: "O Lord you have made our hearts for thee and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." The Psalmist expresses it poetically: "As the deer yearns for the running waters, so my soul yearns for you, my God." Therefore, if we do no fall in love with the true God, then we will fall in love with one of the false gods of the modern world. Just what is idolatry? Put simply, idolatry is when we place any person, place or thing above God. God deserves first place; He indeed is a jealous God, and when we place anyone, or anything before Him, idolatry! In a"godless" society, idols become par for the course! Why not name and identify the modern idols so that we can avoid them, renounce them in our own lives and persuade others to renounce them!
1. TELEVISION. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton-- the first American-born saint-- made a stark but all too true prophecy that a "Black box" would enter into the homes of many Americans and end up by destroying countless families. This "black box" is the television! Unfortunately, many parents spend more time in front of the television than being involved and engaged in the lives of their children. The "Thing/object" prevails in importance over the person--- the child, son or daughter!
2. COMPUTER. Can be used for incredibly noble and good purposes. Never have we had so much access to information as today, but never has there been so much confusion and immorality. Unfortunately, the number one site that is downloaded is PORN. This has become the addiction # 1 in USA, especially starting with male teens ranging from 13-19. Once this addiction has been established, then according to some experts, it is harder to conquer than addiction to Cocaine! It is gripping, enslaving, demeaning, and demonic! In other words, introducing porn to the home is living with the devil underneath the same roof!
3. DRUGS. In ever increasing numbers, teens and even children are being exposed to the "Drug-Culture" and like porn, are becoming slaves to it, which results in a degrading, dehumanizing lowering of the innate dignity of the human person. Instead of living to the heights of the christian life, many live a lowly animal existence, following only the basest of passions!
4. GAMBLING. In cities, the Gambling Casinos are packed at almost all hours of the day. People are frenetically scurrying to the casinos, to gamble away their lives. Never happy, win or lose, in the pursuit of money! The Beatles sang it with great gusto but with utmost truth: "Money can't buy me love!"
5. DRINK. The Holiday Season of Christmas, for many has been an open door to the vice of excessive drinking of alcohol, often resulting in drinking and driving which do not mix and fatal car accidents! One ends up, empty like the bottle that was drunk!
6. HORSES/ BETTING! Then there is the pursuit of betting on horses, dogs or even the roosters! Time, energy, effort, all directed to seeing animals running around a circular path! How crazy!
7. DRESS/THE MODE! Huge sums of money are spent on exotic clothing, and all too often immodest dress. These individuals parade their body as if they were god, with the desire that men look at them as the center of the whole universe! Our Lady of Fatima made the prophecy that many immodest fashions would enter into the world that would greatly displease God; and this was in the year 1917! What about today!
8. PLEASURE. HEDONISM. This is the "philosophy of pleasure". For many, that which matters most is enjoying life to the fullest; having pleasure at the center of life. Listen to these modern proverbs: "It is Miller time! You have to go for it! You have one life to live; take advantage of it! Eat drink and be merry for today you live and tomorrow you die! Just go for it! You deserve a break today..."
9 . MONEY/HAVING. Many base their life, importance and value on how much they have in the bank. Erik From responds poignantly to this philosophy: "If you are what you have and you lose what you have, then who are you?" The richest man in the world and the poorest will end up in the same place: 6 feet beneath the ground. Also, you never see a U HAUL van following a funeral car, have you????
10. SELF/EGO. It is no longer "Theology" but "Me-ology" Many have embraced the egotistic trinity of three important persons as the center of their lives: ME, MYSELF, AND, I!!!
Narcissus looked into the water and saw himself; he immediately fell in love with himself as the center of the universe. From this Greek myth we have the word "Narcissism"-- which simply means selfishness. A life that is not "Christocentric--- having Jesus Christ as the center, will obviously be "Egocentric"-- having, "Me, Myself, and I" in the center. Put bluntly, this philosophy is " My way or the highway!"
REMEDY! The only remedy to decapitate, dethrone, demolish the idol in your life is to fall in love with God, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That is to say to live out Lk. 10:27: "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD, YOUR GOD, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR BEING, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF....." Why not start today, right now, this very moment to renounce the idol(s) in your life and pledge your allegiance to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord's through the intercession of the Queen of Queens and Mother of God: Mary most Holy who is truly our life, our sweetness and our hope. A heart purified of idols, a heart filled with the love of God: this is my philosophy of life!