I woke up this morning with this song on my mind. I have not heard the song in ages and am not sure why it seemed to spring into my head and urge me to put thoughts on paper regarding the lyrics and message of this work. Many of us are granted great gifts from God. Gifts that we don’t give our Creator proper credit for. Our pride and ingratitude toward the successes that our Creator bestows upon us is truly remarkable.
I spent last evening studying the book of Joshua. God protected the Israelites in this book by pretty much wiping out all the people in the way that might and would lead them astray. He gave them the successes in battle they needed to live lives devoted to him. The final chapters of Joshua are stern warnings to not integrate with the godless. Don’t intermarry with the pagans; No good will come from that, only evil and destruction.
Joshua stresses this. God goes through enormous and fantastic feats to demonstrate and endow a pure and clean promised land for his people. So this song comes to mind, “Only the Good Die Young”. It is true, the good die young. In the sacrament of baptism we die to self, and are initiated into the Body of Christ, the Church. How many of us know and understand though, what this means. We really don’t ponder on the people that we will encounter as members of this Body. We superficially enter into the sacraments offered by the Church without being given the knowledge needed to then live the tasks associated with them. We get that “nice white dress and party on our confirmation”, and in essence that “brand new soul”, that is cleaned of sin in the sacrament and strengthens us with Spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirt and then charges us with the great commission of evangelization. An evangelization that won’t be easy, that if surmounted with the zeal necessary will result in suffering and rejection. If we are not offending our brothers and sisters living in sin and moral depravity, we are not executing our Heavenly tasks correctly. You see, sinning is much more fun. Most of us want to ”laugh with the sinners, and not cry with the Saints”. The cross is much too heavy for us, and the burden too great. That is, if we try to carry it all alone.
“Catholic girls start much too late”, the composer states. As we grow we are given the freedom to make our own choices, if we are not given or seek the information that we need, we will fall prey to the ambushes waiting for us along the journey. Our teachers must make us aware of these dangers. They are dangers that they don’t count on, and we then are ambushed by. If we enter into the Sacraments superficially without the great reverence and sanctity they are due, we waste them, and in the end do more harm to our souls if we hadn’t participated in them at all. The Sacraments are not excuses for parties, or fancy new clothes, but they are reasons for celebration. They should and must be our priority, and not cast aside when the promises and fun of this world start beckoning us. Our obligation to attend Mass and receive the very Grace and Life of the Creator should not be passed up because a soccer game is scheduled on Sunday morning, or because we party too much the night before and “need” to sleep in. The occasion to sin is reduced and our spiritual lives of joy and redemption elevated by these sacraments that we so carelessly disregard. The joy of a life lived for the Eternal One far surpasses any “happiness” this world can offer us.
So Virginia, arm yourself with the information that those around you refuse to give you, because they don’t count on the evil, or they don’t recognize it. As a kid, I listened to this song all the time. I listened and sang to the catchy lyrics, and even laughed at the message offered on the surface.
This morning, I reflect on the depths of the message, and how easily we are led astray, and how powerless we are without the graces we as Catholics are offered daily in the Sacraments and every other promise and devotion we have at our disposal. Only with these tools and weapons can we combat the evil that lurks in the shadows of our secular lives. These evils hide in tolerance and accusations of insensitivity to moral and pagan ways of living, and being. We cannot stay hidden in temples or behind stained glass windows. Those statues and instructions to pray are powerful practices and reminders that threaten those who like to laugh and live a little too hard. We must not let living among the evils of this life desensitize us to the only goal that we should and must focus on in this mortal life. How we spend eternity is our decision. God knows how difficult this journey is and what we are up against, he came and died to show us the way, a way the Catholic Church, our mother guides us toward.
Obey and trust God always. The successes we seek come only through Him and with Him and in Him.