Rationalization and justification. I see the peril in approaching life like this. It seems that we can rationalize and justify just about anything in this day and age. I have actually seen an abortion provider call the work they do sacred, you can read it here. It is my fear that many, many souls will rationalize and justify themselves straight to Hell.
When I think about or talk about the many sources that have helped me to develop my faith and reasoning I will most assuredly site Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Arinze, our pastor at St. Joan of Arc, Fr. Ted. I would also site various writers both traditional and new media, for instance G.K. Chesterton and American Papist, Thomas Peters. Catholic Answers of course is a source that is always available, 24/7 and their podcast of the radio show Catholic Answers live has really helped me to develop a deep understanding of the faith. But someone who doesn't get enough credit is my Mom.
As I think back on it, my mom is responsible for many aspects of my faith. With out question we went to Mass every Sunday. Don't even think about it, I was receiving the Sacraments while I was in her charge. We always prayed before meals and God was never anything to be ashamed of.
Teaching me that Satan was always there with slick packaging, may be the most important thing my mom ever taught me. Until this morning, I thought that I had come up with this independent of my upbringing. I don't remember much talk about the realities of evil around my house.
One of my soap box points is exactly this. The Evil One knows he cannot win. He knows he especially can't win of he shows us who he really is. So he spins it and makes it sound good.
I remember reading an interview with King Diamond, a self-proclaimed satanist and heavy metal artist. In that interview he said something to the affect that satanism wasn't about sacrificing goats or babies etc. It was about putting yourself first. About making sure you are taken care of.
Well, I remember relating this to my mom and saying something to the tune of "that doesn't seem that bad to me". My mom didn't go into the Theology of why selfishness is evil or anything like that that would have been over my 15 year old brain. She just simply relayed to me that Satan is evil. That Satan has made himself the sworn enemy of God. And that Satan wouldn't gain many followers if he showed them the realities of Hell. The only chance he has is to make you think that evil is good. He does this through rationalization and justification.
As I look back, I was at a cross roads that day. My mom could have let me go off on a path that would eventually lead to Hell if she would have been lazy and not wanted to take the time to correct me or if she would have rather not caused possible friction and argument or if she had been more concerned with affirming me in my error than in correcting that error.
So today I give thanks to God that my mom was there and I pray for the souls who read that same interview and didn't have my mom there to set them back on the straight and narrow path.