By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK
With the Nat Geo cover photo this month of a nine-year-old boy dressed in pink, hair dyed to match, whose parents have decided that they agree he is a girl, we witness the total eclipse of parenthood. The perpetual confusion and uncertainty of youth have now been canonized as gender ideology, among other things. Love has been distorted into a cruel parody of itself.
Don’t like your reproductive organs? Change them. Don’t like pain or dying? Kill yourself. Don’t want a baby growing rent-free in your womb? Abort it. Don’t feel attracted to the opposite sex? Redefine marriage. The adolescent rebellion against nature, and therefore also against God, is arriving at its end state: self-destruction.
Of course, we know that the true final destruction is in fact Hell and all the perversions which society now mindlessly and evilly embraces are merely a foretaste and promise of eternal separation from God. Societal embrace of the annihilation of humanity is a sacrilege because it is a rejection of God through destruction of His handiwork, His image in man and woman.
Adolescence is the state of complete absorption within one’s own needs. A baby cries when he’s tired, hungry, or needs his diaper changed. But the baby, when these basic needs have been met, even before he is self-aware, begins to smile and respond to his mother and the others around him. This is the humanity of the child which begins to blossom even from the beginning and which sets him apart from the other creatures on Earth. This humanity, which is aware of self and others and which reflects, is capable of more than using others.
God set man and woman apart from all creation as those who can choose to love. This is the growth of the child, to love and to be loved. The stage of adolescence is the sensitive period when a boy or girl begins to take responsibility for loving. If he or she has experienced being loved, then a young person can branch out from the family and mature properly as one who is prepared to give love for others as ends in themselves.
But very often today we see that parents themselves suffer from an arrested development as they project their needs upon their children. Roles are reversed as parents ask their children to do even that which is necessary for their safety. Telling someone to do something even to save his life is considered a terrible violation of freedom. Putting expectations upon people, in particular with regard to their identity, is considered terribly evil, even if it is to save them from the evil of losing their immortal soul.
Love cannot be our end if adolescence is our God. The God of Love calls us beyond adolescent self-absorption when He calls us to love. We are made for love, not only of ourselves but of God and others, Note that many who seek to “change” their gender or redefine marriage claim it for the reasons that the “heart wants what the heart wants,” as a famous pedophile once said to justify his crimes.
As we see with the example even of a baby, the need for others is part of our makeup and love must take it into account. Love, finally, though, means loving even those who cannot or will not love us in return. This is the radical truth about love that we touch and see and receive through the God-Man with us, Jesus Christ.
Love is a mature choice and not merely a felt or reciprocal response. Love is a commitment to give of self fully, without regard to circumstances or feelings, to the fullest capacity of which one is capable.
It is for this reason that the total eclipse of parenthood as seen in those who indulge the confusion of youth is a great betrayal. To leave a young person adrift and rudderless on the sea of life is not love. Love in fact means sometimes that we are willing to guide the young even with a “no” when necessary.
The destruction of marriage and commitment is just part of this great betrayal of our offspring, a conspiracy to obtain the illusion of freedom for ourselves through perpetual rejection of responsibility for the consequences of even our choices to love. What is abortion if not the annihilation of the most irreducible reminder of the truth about a love: another human being?
We celebrate once again the scandal of God’s love in this Christmas Season: He in divine love rejected complacency and went the ultimate distance in active commitment to make us one with Him again after sin. He sent His Only Son Jesus Christ to unite Himself to us in the mature gesture of authentic love which runs to meet the beloved.
God is love and we meet Him when someone risks his or her life to save another. We meet Him in the husband who undergoes a risky operation to donate an organ to his wife. We meet Him in the parent who moves Heaven and Earth, sacrificing all earthly wealth, seeking healing for a sick child.
Yes: The scandal of God who gives everything for the other without any guarantee of a return is very much alive and well. The wood of the crib at Christmas finds the wood of the cross.
We have even begun to see in a newly elected president an adult who publicly asks others what they want, as a more authentic approach to public service, and who wishes Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating it. Political correctness and ideology die in an environment where courage and integrity begin to deny them the toxic gas they need to survive.
God’s initiative is to give us what we need, which, of course, is love. But the One who gives Himself is divine. He cannot deny Himself by accepting our counterfeit substitutes for authentic love. Unlike many parents today, God insists on our good whether we like it or not. Sometimes we know He loves us because He says “no.” He remains the source and model of true parenthood which forms us in mature adult faith and calls us to the authentic love which saves.
A blessed New Year to all! Thank you for reading all year long. @MCITLFrAphorism