By: Katie Shields That’s what my mom used to say to me. She was talking about TV, bad books, dodgy movies and music with not-so-hidden agendas. But once again, mom’s words have held true as I’ve grown older. I’m only 25, but I’ve lived enough to see that the closer I stay to Jesus in prayer, Eucharistic adoration and in particular the Eucharist, the more I am filled and overflow with His truth. If I listen to the world, the flesh, the devil, …rubbish in, rubbish out. It’s true on a small scale and it’s true on a bigger scale too. It’s true for tv and movies…and it’s true for our eternal souls. Because, in reality, everything you choose to accept in your mind and heart has an effect on your behaviour, and therefore your will and spirit. Twitter, instagram, facebook, youtube…it’s so easy for them to turn from fun into time wasting! Time that could be spent preparing our souls for heaven. These may sound instagram-familiar: “Lying on the beach, #goodforthesoul,” “my mama’s cooking is good for the soul,” “chocolate – good for the soul.” Um, well no, actually. Jesus Christ is good for the soul. He’s the best for the soul. He is the way, the truth and the life. Our souls can only be happy for all eternity through, with and in Him The actual spiritual nourishment and ‘soul food’ is prayer, scripture and the living bread of God; these things quite literally feed the soul, Christ comes to live in us and bring us to true life. With Him in us, we cannot die. During Advent we are called to “prepare a way for the Lord, make His paths straight.” (Isaiah 40:3 / Matthew 3:3) Now, more than ever, we practise Our God’s reminder, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Our minds are precious. They form associations, images and memories. These are tools that demons use to tempt and corrupt us. They can also be used, if we ask, by our own angels to guide and help us. Ask any psychologist about the power of suggestion. It’s a real thing. It’s how companies get you to buy stuff. It’s how hypnotists invade the mind. It’s how society tells us what’s “normal”, however opposed to God’s law “normal” may be. Controlling what we allow into our minds is how we can respond in obedience to Our God, and clear space inside ourselves for Him alone. It is how we can hand ourselves over to Him and love Him “with all [our] heart[s], with all [our] soul[s], with all [our] mind[s]…” (Mark 12:30) That’s when he can work inside us, form us and bless us . It’s part of the fight of being in the world, but “not of the world.” (John 17:16) When we die, we can only be prepared to enter His kingdom if we have already given Him reign over our interior whilst on earth. FYI, the best way to do that is through the perfect Christian example: Mary. Obviously, I’m not suggesting a ban on all tv, film and social media. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of recreation. In fact, we need it. God set the Sabbath aside for rest. But when recreation turns into distraction, obsession, or even idolatry…that’s a problem. The good news: there’s an off button. You can pull out your ear-phones. We are in total control of how much the outside world enters our homes, hearts and minds. I’d suggest, during Advent, to practise giving God first place in our inner hearts. We lift our hearts to Him and recognise that He is God Almighty, Father and provider, Saviour and King. Let Him in and He’ll make the most amazing changes. A small thing I do is to mute the adverts whenever they come on (so, every ten minutes…or five if you’re enjoying the movie…). “Christ be the vision in eyes that see me.” (Traditional hymn based on the prayer ‘St Patrick’s breastplate’.) Have you ever noticed how we sort of become like our best friends? The way we say things, our laugh, sometimes even the way we look. We take on the traits of the people whose company we keep. If we keep company with Christ and Our Blessed Mother, we will begin to reveal them to the rest of the world. Our lives will bear fruit. Our Lord reminds us of the our essential need of His word in His answer to Martha’s, “Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.” … “Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her.” (Luke 10:40-42) Jesus wasn’t scolding Martha for doing the duties God had given her. He was reminding her that it is important to FIRST sit at His feet. To listen to Him and drinking from the well of eternal life. We NEED Christ, we need His life. We need Him to teach our hearts how to be in heaven. For this, we need to give Him time. (Paraphrased based on a homily bt Ven Archbishop Fulton Sheen). From our time with Christ we draw strength to face our trials in the world. Ven Archbishop Fulton Sheen reminded us to, “Do [our] Holy hour.” St Peter, our first pope, was tempted to stay at the top of mountain during the Transfiguration. It was so beautiful. Why can’t we stay in the glory of the mountain top? But that’s not what God allowed then, nor does He allow it now. He calls us to Himself, draws us near, strengthens us with His Word…then sends us out, down into the world as His light, His hands, His feet… That Holy Hour is important. That time in prayer is when we work with God and He makes our burden lighter. Then it’s possible for us to make it through this life to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) About author: Katie Shields Hi, I’m Katie. Currently seeking two citizenships…Heaven and French. Engaged to a certain monsieur Lechevalier (hence the second), about to pick up the cross of marriage. My favourite things are talking, cooking, eating, writing, reading, culture and travel. I try to keep the people I love happy and hope to have a big family one day. I’m a spiritual child clinging to Our Blessed Mother’s hand.