What happens when we’re used to doing or looking at something on a regular basis? We become comfortable with it, don’t we? Over time, we may no longer appreciate it as we did before. It’s typical to get bored with what we’re seeing or experiencing routinely, and it’s more common to seek out something we decide to be greater and more entertaining. During my formal academic studies in Rome, a Roman native told me that they had not seen Saint Peter’s Basilica (also known as the Vatican) for a year or longer. They no longer sought it out because this Roman had seen the Vatican so many times. It was no longer an extraordinary sight to them. They were more interested in seeing and experiencing new things, things they considered to be of even greater beauty than the Vatican.
This explains the experience of many adults. We’re always looking for something better. And our “throwaway culture” encourages this attitude! The pornography industry makes billions of dollars from this disposition. Pope Francis spoke to this in his recent address to the “Child Dignity in the Digital World” world congress, when the Holy Father stated: “We encounter extremely troubling things on the net, including the spread of ever more extreme pornography, since habitual use raises the threshold of stimulation…” Even when it comes to pornography, one gets bored and seeks something “better.” Pornography never satisfies and that’s why consumers dive deeper and deeper into harder and more explicit pornographic content. God’s greatest design, the human person, becomes no longer an extraordinary gift and a beautiful design, but something to be topped! The false beauty of the world, found in pornography, isn’t satisfying and causes people to want more because it’s not satisfying and thus are blinded to truth and beauty.
This give-me-more attitude isn’t everyone’s story though and if it’s currently your story it doesn’t have to be. Your story can include the blessing shared in today’s Gospel Reading. In today’s Gospel, we read about the opportunity to see as a blessing from God. We read of Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit and praising the Father for revealing the Father and Son to the childlike and hiding himself from the learned.
Why are the childlike blessed with the ability to truly see but not the learned? Consider this reflection by G.K. Chesterton:
“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (p. 61, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1994)
I hear the Gospel today saying, “Strive for the childlike approach to life. Receive the gift that is being offered. Take the opportunity to really see. Don’t go looking for something bigger and better, and remember this Advent, and always, there is nothing bigger, better or more satisfying than God!”
Today, we ask the Father to draw our hearts and make us more like children, basking in the beauty and gift of pure monotony so as to obtain a heart and mind not distracted by worldly affairs, but with minds and hearts open and available to God so that when He reveals Himself and his Son to us this Advent and Christmas, we will be able to see!
Discover a new way of seeing this Advent. Remove pornography from your life by reading Transformed by Beauty and having accountable relationships that come with signing-up for Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering Software.
Amanda Zurface is the Catholic Campaign Coordinator for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and BAs in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. Amanda has served in various roles within the Catholic Church both in the United States and internationally. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture, Diocesan, and Parish Implementation Guide: How to Strategically Implement the USCCB’s Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography and Transformed by Beauty. She resides in Zanesville, Ohio.