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You and I are living in a forward looking time. Adventure and progress are the themes of the day. Individuals and groups are breaking out of old forms and moving ahead into what they hope will be a bright new day.
Though we are sometimes frightened by this rapid change, we dare not sit in total condemnation of it. A lot of things needed to be changed for a long time and still more is in need of change. But in days such as these, we should also recognize that there is a danger of throwing overboard some valuable cargo that ought to be kept. So as a new season approaches, in the midst of changing times, we ought to think for a moment of some traditions that are worth holding on to.
The family, in the last decade or so, has been under concerted attack. Many have called it obsolete and given it up in favor of various other arrangements. Young people are living together without the benefit of the sacrament of marriage. The purpose for such an arrangement, we are told is to determine whether they are suited for each other before taking the step of matrimony. At the same time, some married couples are deciding that fidelity is old hat and needs to be cast away. They call themselves open-minded, progressive, modern thinkers.
One fallacy with all of this is that there is really nothing new about it. Across the centuries, human beings have experimented with every conceivable kind of sexual relationship. Nothing new can possibly be added. And out of this long history of experimentation has come the great tradition of the family. Two people love each other for life and provide a permanent home for the rearing of children and the enjoyment of grandchildren. No one has ever yet improved on that arrangement. It isn’t easy; no one has every suggested it would be. But it’s good and it works.
Another tradition that is worth keeping is our Catholic moral values system. I am not speaking now of petty rules and laws but of great moral principles. Things like courage, compassion, self-sacrifice, integrity, fidelity, and respect for others are not expendable.
When a person is possessed of high moral principles with deep roots in our faith, he or she does not have to decide every issue as he or she gets to it. Many of them are decided well in advance. Some things are beneath us; some things we simply cannot do because they are in violation of our Catholic moral values that should have become part of our very being.
You and I need that kind of tradition to draw upon. It is indeed risky business to fly through life by the seat of our pants, making every decision on the impulse of the moment. I, for one, would not trust myself to do that. I am grateful for some deep roots that enable me to decide some issues even before they come up. We are blessed to have at our disposal the benefit of a great moral tradition taught to us by Jesus Himself.
Let no one tell you that our Catholic tradition of family and moral values are dying out. Only the form will change. But the real things, the great moral principles, the high ideals of our faith, the deep faith we have in God’s Son, will outwear and outlast everything else. Hold on to these; carry them with you throughout the year, teach them to the children and grandchildren; they are worth the keeping.
Father Robert F. Grippo