Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of Date, 2003
Parenthood demands tough love
Burning violent posters cleanses lives and homes
By FR. JACQUES JOHNSON
A few years ago, I replaced the pastor of my former parish and on my way to church from the rectory that Sunday, I saw a young man running my way, waving at me. He was a handsome young man with a great smile, but I did not recognize him. So he told me he was Charlie.
When he did my heart just filled with joy. Charlie was seven when I last saw him: He was now 18! And he seemed just as happy to see me as I was to see him. Relationships are such great blessings and their origins can be surprising as well as life giving.
It was nearly midnight many years before when I received a call from a mother who asked me to come, as her six-year-old boy could not sleep because he was afraid of something.
I left the rectory and drove to the house and asked the mother what was going on with the boy. She said that she did not know, only that he was afraid of something and would not go to bed.
Charlie was curled in the fetal position on a chair, crying softly. I took the little boy in my arms, talked to him and prayed for him, asking God to remove the fear from his heart. After a little while Charlie felt more comfortable and soon he was himself again.
The mother then asked that I bless her trailer. I took holy water and went around the trailer, blessing every room.
After I was finished the father asked me if I had felt anything strange while I went around the different rooms. "As a matter of fact in the first room I felt something that caused a shiver down my back," I said. "I wondered what it was."
So we all went into the room which belonged to a teenaged son. The ceiling and walls were covered with violent and repugnant "heavy metal" posters. Little Charlie came in with us and could not disguise his horror as he covered his eyes and started to whimper.
I told the parents that these were bordering the satanic and that Charlie's reaction was a confirmation that harbouring these could not be healthy for the family living there. "Just as holy pictures in our homes generate positive energies and blessings from God, so these violent unholy pictures produce the opposite," I said.
The father would not hear his son protesting the destruction of the posters. Without a word he just kept ripping away and burning. Soon the house was cleared of them. The parents asked that I pray for them again. Then I went home.
The next day I received a call from another family related to the first one, asking me to come and bless their home. When I arrived after lunch the parents and their five children were waiting.
The parents explained that they had heard about what had happened at their relatives' home the night before.
The father shared that his oldest son also had a collection of these violent posters in his room and that he had burned them all after they heard what had happened at their kin's house.
They asked for prayers and blessings. I obliged them willingly, telling them that I approved what they had done and why they did it.
Then I proceeded to bless their house, inviting the Lord to enter into their home and into their hearts and to be their Lord and protector.
These families have done well. And the Lord continues to find in them the open hearts of faithful servants. I could not but admire these parents who, once they understood the situation, proceeded immediately to bring order into their homes by cleansing them of the filth and inviting the Lord's presence, blessing and protection upon their families.
Christian parents who care for their children need to discern what is good and life-giving for their family and what is destructive.
This may apply not only to bad pictures but also to other choices we make in the area of music, magazines and films, choices that express our true values: things that are bad and destructive to the integrity and holiness of people, or things that promote what is good, healthy and holy for the young and not so young.
Parents need the courage of Charlie's mom and dad to take appropriate actions that will bring blessings, protecting their families from filth, sin, curses and spiritual death.
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