DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     September 17-19, 1999     vol. 10, no. 177

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

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SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    INTRODUCTION
    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend Sister shrinks from the grotesque, deafening and all-consuming horror mentality sweeping this country from the micabre to satanic, America is caught up in the thrill of danger and the results have materialized in places like Columbine, drive by shootings across the country, day care facilities and the other night a church in Texas. Violence and evil permeate our society and Sister, frankly, is sick of it. She asks how can anyone stomach the trash that dares to scare our souls? She gives validity to the fact generations of America have not known pain or terror like so many of their brothers and sisters throughout the world from Kosovo to East Timor, from Rwanda to Northern Ireland, from China to Colombia. Americans have become spoiled and satan is trying to reap the spoils by dulling our sense of decency. This is the gist of her column this week, entitled Why love the monstrous?.

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www .heartofmaryministry. com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy @aol.com by e-mail.

WHY LOVE THE MONSTROUS?

        I donít take time to watch much television. I do make it a point to be abreast of the news and weather and watch a football game now and then, when one of my favorite teams may be playing. Itís rare I watch a movie from beginning to end, even the good olí timers.

        I found a channel recently that gives good home and gardening tips and itís taught me some interesting things, though I am not a consistent viewer. But as I surf those channels in which I have some interest or watch the commercials, I am affronted with previews of movies or TV programs that are going to be showing. I am increasingly noting that many programs deal with the monstrous, the scary, the horrendous, the hideous.

        Why are so many of these programs attractive to the public? How do they lift up the human spirit and give hope? Why do people love to be scared out of their wits? How can parents let their little children watch these horrific, bloody, ugly programs? What is so wonderful about them?

        I remember as a very young girl seeing a preview of a movie in which there was a terrible earthquake. In the movie the ground opened up, people fell into the crevices, and the ground closed again upon them. That scary experience, to my young and impressionable spirit, has remained with me. I can remember it as though I saw the movie preview today.

        I could not understand then and still do not understand today why people like to be scared out their minds. Donít they have nightmares? What is so wonderful about the monstrous? What is it about our modern society that people need the horrendous to be entertained?

        Could part of the reason be that most of us today havenít really lived through terrible societal times? I mean we in this country have not experienced war on our land, concentration camps, near starvation, being refugees. I wonder how many people in Kosovo or Bosnia would like to watch those monstrous movies? Theyíve LIVED horrible experiences, did not find them entertaining, nor, I would bet, ENJOY or be entertained by the horrific.

        I think sometimes we have things way too easy here. Not that I wish anything terrible to happen to anyone. Itís just that in our comfort zone and with our conveniences, we havenít lived through really scary times in real life, and scary experiences are not in our world of realism for most of us. It always happens to someone else. It couldnít happen to us. People can watch a scary film and leave the theater knowing it was a fictional experience.

        But our minds are sponges. Whatever goes into them, stays there. Are there people who cannot leave the ďfictionalĒ in the theater and keep it separate from their real living? Considering the growing number of shootings in schools, places where people gather, etc., it makes one wonder. What is real? What is fictional? Why are the gruesome and monstrous so attractive?

        Hell is a monstous place and itís not fictional. Those who go there are not in the least entertained.

        I want to watch programs that lift up my human spirit and give me hope.

        Lord, have mercy on us and help us! We are in such need to love what is good.

        Godís peace and love be with you, dear reader!

September 17-19, 1999       volume 10, no. 177
GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

DAILY CATHOLIC

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