Happy New Year! We pray that 2023 is filled with many joyful blessings for you and your loved ones. Please join us Monday 01/09/23 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MST (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EST).
Opening Prayer: The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
The Illusion Of Easy Happiness
A recent article by Taylor Penley reported on members of Generation Z (born between the late 1990s and 2010 and also known as zoomers) reacting to the recent Dobbs Decision from the Supreme Court, which sent the issue of abortion and abortion restrictions back to the individual states. A young University of South Dakota junior, Lexi McKee-Hemenway, said, “I want to leave the country [after graduating].” I have a lot of mixed feelings: rage, fear, disappointment… Most of all, though, I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that this is the United States now …. It’s a really scary time to live here,” she said. She probably does not realize that every country in the world, except 2, has more restrictions on abortion than we do. We are not like Sudan and Afghanistan, but rather we are like Russia and China, with our current laws allowing abortion for any reason, up until birth.
Some respondents in the article indicated they would move to other states where abortion was accessible without restrictions. Though Generation Z seems to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and alcohol use and is more concerned with doing well in school and finding good jobs, they are also the first generation to grow up with the internet and digital technology from the time they were little. And they have never known a time when abortion wasn’t legal.
Pope St. John Paul II, speaking to young people, said: “You, dear young people, be brave and free! Do not let yourselves be taken in by the deceptive mirages of an easy happiness. Follow the way of Christ: he is demanding, certainly, but he alone can help you to savor the full meaning of life and enjoy peace of heart.”
It is probably true that almost no one would say that they want the right to kill their babies. They don’t usually speak of abortion that way, even when they call it a right and couch it in health care terms for the mother (certainly not the baby.). But they are saying they want the right to be sexually active without responsibility, responsibility to their partner, and the child they may conceive together. And they are deceived into believing they cannot be happy without this. Rights have become conflated with easy happiness even though for the last 50 years of “legalized” abortion, people have become less happy and more confused. They discover the hard way there is no such thing as free love. “Rights” do not guarantee happiness. And rights without responsibility do not elevate “free” sexual expression to any kind of fulfilling experience. This is a deception that, unfortunately, can lead in the opposite direction to bondages, brokenness, mental health issues, and even deeper unhappiness.
Generation Z can hardly be blamed for its resistance to religion and attachment to ideas that have been fed to them since they were children. They have been wounded by the lies they have been fed. Yet, God is at work with them in their struggles to find the truth. If you are able to view the reactions of a group of “zoomers” as they watch the series “The Chosen,” you see that they have grown up living all the effects of a broken culture that focuses on rights over gifts and responsibilities. Out of 9 in the group, hardly one comes from a stable family. Several have suffered abuse, some from Church elders, and a number have genuine identity and mental health issues and struggles. Yet the group was open, resilient, and so ready to let Jesus touch them where they had resisted before. Looking for the key to happiness and fulfillment and perhaps discovering for the first time that Jesus is the One who can and wants to give it to us is the breakthrough we all need to make.
Questions for silent reflection:
1. In the midst of your own suffering, do you believe that Jesus wants to make you happy? How do you reconcile that with the sufferings and crosses that come into your life?
2. “The Chosen” presents a portrayal of Christ that emphasizes His humanity while also depicting the miracles He worked in exercising His Divinity. The series has been wildly popular. Why do you think people today are finding healing in this kind of portrayal of Jesus?
3. Pope St. John Paul II once said that the youth of today do not need extra penances in their lives because they have a lot of moral and spiritual suffering already from the breakdown of family and the dehumanizing trends in the culture. What other kinds of suffering particularly mark the world we live in and how can we help each other through them?
4. One of the greatest sufferings in the world today is rejection, isolation and loneliness. What do you see as some of the roots to this and how can you witness in hope to God’s intentions for real relationships with and among us?