As a parent, one of the most irksome things that can happen is when the oldest kids break the rules and justify their actions in front of the younger ones. This sets a tone that rules are subjective and only matter before the “age of enlightenment” (also known as “the teenage years”). This is not a casual and subversive breaking of rules but a calculated and self-informed justification and manipulation of a standard to promote independence and break off the co-dependence within the family. It is not holy.
Within the family, this can look like taking food into the bedrooms or not riding a bike with a helmet on. Outside of the family, this can look like high school children being exposed to same-sex relationships and suicide (this is a Catholic school, mind you). “It’s so beautiful” and “suicide is not evil” have become the conversation of late, and even though the temptation is there to take this personally, “our battles are not against flesh and blood.” (Eph. 6:12)
There is also a temptation to try and man-handle these situations into submission, but there is a much easier way of dealing with the lies of the world: “What does the Church say?” Today and every day, the Church points to what Christ says, “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:19)
Let us focus on two words: Submit and Teach. One must submit to the words of God and move toward the original innocence that was lost in the garden of Eden when Eve did not submit to the law of God. One must teach objective truths and move towards the original innocence that was lost in the garden of Eden when Eve encouraged her husband to join her in her own subjectivity and pride.
Submission is not a new battle but it is the hardest battle, because it cries, “I am not my own. I belong to something bigger than just myself.” It means denying self for the sake of others. And who better to know this truth that the Son of God who denied his own divinity to bear the sins of the world.