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Lies in the Grocery Store

By Thomas Storck
Every time you or I go into a grocery store, we enter into a place of lies.


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Every time you or I go into a grocery store we enter into a place of lies. In fact, a place of numerous and insidious lies. Lies created and fostered by none other than Satan himself. What lies are these?

They are lies about human nature,lies about what man essentially is, and lies about how the two created sexes ought to interact with each other.


For these magazines—both their covers and articles—present a picture of man diametrically opposed to the picture of man that the teaching of the Gospel presents to us.


Where does one hear these lies? Are they whispered to us as we pick out our fruit or bread or beer? No, in fact they have nothing to do with the food we buy. Rather they appear on the cover of nearly every magazine that we must face as we wait in the check-out line to pay for our groceries. They are part of the pictures on the cover and the titles of the articles, pictures that show a fetching and immodestly dressed woman, and titles that ask if we've tried the newest sex positions or want to know the results of the latest sex survey.

Now, I'm sure that many Christians have long ago concluded that these magazine covers are a temptation to impure thoughts and thus we had better keep our eyes off them. And with this I entirely agree. But I wonder how many of us have noticed not only that they constitute temptations against chastity, but that they also constitute lies. For these magazines—both their covers and articles—present a picture of man diametrically opposed to the picture of man that the teaching of the Gospel presents to us.


We begin to see man as the magazine covers present him, and we drift further and further away from the Gospel.


The magazines tell us that constant sexual excitement is the most important part of life, that no one is chaste, that restraint is old-fashioned and silly, and anyone who observes chastity is a fool. It is true that the covers don't promote these ideas in so many words, but they do not need to. They simply offer us a picture of mankind in which such notions are implicit. And far more powerful than the temptations to unchastity that these magazine covers offer us, are the temptations to corrupt our thinking.

As long as we accept the Church's view of man and marriage and sex, then, even if, out of weakness, we do commit a sin of impurity, we will repent and seek a renewal of grace through the sacrament of penance. But if our thinking is corrupted, if we begin to believe the lies of the Devil, then we will no longer have any motivation or desire to seek a return to grace. The widespread pornography of our age not only corrupts our morals...it corrupts our minds. We begin to see man as the magazine covers present him, and we drift further and further away from the Gospel.

Now, of course, no lie is ever one hundred percent a lie. If it were, no one would believe it. God has created sex as something delightful, and there is nothing wrong in married couples delighting in this form of physical love with each other. But the Devil's lie comes in when we begin to believe that such physical loving is the most important thing there is, that we have a right to it, that if I think that I'm not getting the same quality or quantity of it that others are, then I am deprived and have a right to seek it wherever I can. These are hateful, hellish lies. And if we are not careful, we will—bit by bit—be influenced by them and begin to half-believe them ourselves.

So when we see these magazine covers—and billboards and movies and TV and so much else in our culture—let us remember that we are viewing not just an attempt to create impure thoughts in us, but a determined assault on our right thinking and on our faith. For in the long run, good morals depend on good thinking. And if we don't keep our thinking sound, we might even lose our faith. So when we come home from the grocery store, let's bring bread and vegetables and wine, but neither impure imaginations nor corrupt thinking. Then buying food for the body will not hamper our obtaining food for our souls.

© 2000 Thomas Storck




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