My son turned sixteen last week which means two things: he can drive, and he suddenly cares about what he wears. While the driving part scares me, I am totally here for the shopping. However, as trips to the mall have increased so has my fashion trend awareness. Is it just me or is evil in fashion?
I was eager to scope out the new Urban Outfitters at our mall. Back in my college days, this store was fun, colorful, and affordable. As my son made a beeline for the men’s section at the back of the store, I headed for the rack filled with sweet little sundresses way too young for my post-menopausal body (hey, a girl can dream). Only I never made it to the sundresses, because what I saw stopped me dead in my tracks.
Now, before I continue, it will help to understand Urban Outfitters' philosophy. While they continue to remain fun and colorful, the store describes itself as “a lifestyle retailer dedicated to inspiring customers through a unique combination of product, creativity, and cultural understanding.” (You see where we are going now, don’t you?)
The first “lifestyle display” I encountered was the marijuana leaf merchandise. Is your teen heading to college in the fall? How about buying her a cute, happy-faced, marijuana leaf pillow? Got a fidgeting kid in school? The “leaf buddy squishy” toy might help. And don’t forget the “leaf buddy keychain,” perfect for your new driver. No worries that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder. No concern that people who use cannabis have about a 10% likelihood of becoming addicted. No big deal that the risk of developing marijuana use disorder is greater in people who start using marijuana during youth or adolescence. These cute, little pot leaf toys marketed to your children aren’t harmful; they are their buddy.
Clearly, being of sound mind is out of fashion, and the devil is wearing more than Prada.
Do you know what else is out of fashion? One Truth. Relying on the Lord. Confidence in His Word. You may be seeing evidence of this in your own parish. Heck, you may be seeing this in your family. How many of us have witnessed our children dropping religion and tradition for a newer, kinder, more accepting spirituality? I can’t be the only one raising my hand. Kids are being taught how to respond to their own inner wisdom through tarot cards, magic, ouija boards, crystals, and astrology guides—despite God’s warning against divination or seeking omens (Deuteronomy 18:9–12 and Leviticus 19:26). And I know what some of you are thinking. You think that I am overreacting. You think I need to relax. Crystals are pretty, horoscopes are fun, and these board games and card decks are all sitting on the same shelf as Monopoly and Clue. They are nothing more than benign games. But are they?
The Catechism states:
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2116)
When we seek to know the future or to manifest our dreams into existence, we are relying on something other than God. And this is dangerous. No matter how rock solid you think you are in your faith, once curiosity tempts you to crack that door open a little, you have just made a way for darkness to enter in. I know this can be hard to take seriously when you are innocently browsing through Anthropologie and spy that stack of beautifully designed tarot cards. I mean, it’s not like you are in a witchcraft store, right?
Right. But remember, Adam and Eve weren’t hanging out at a Wiccan festival. They were in a beautiful garden created by God. They were in paradise. This is how the enemy works. This is what the devil does. He shows up where we least expect it, and he disguises himself as light. He wears an Anthro dress and hands you that $60 volcano candle you have to have, and he promises to give you all the good things that God appears to be holding back from you. In other words, he hands you an apple and tricks you into taking a bite. If the enemy can trick us, how much more so our children?
The Bible tells us that Satan seeks to destroy us: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The spiritual realm is real, and we are not to take it lightly. I could share with you my personal experiences of spiritual warfare, temptation, and how I literally stood before the fire of hell, but honestly, do I have to? Just look around. Turn on the news. Scroll through Facebook. Get on Twitter. The world has gone mad. The darkness is everywhere.
But here is the good news. In his solemn charge to Timothy, Paul warns us:
For the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3–4)
Why is this good news? Because we have not only been warned, but we know how it ends. We know that no matter what happens here on earth, when we reject the way of the world and choose to listen to the Lord, He will stand by us and give us the strength we need to proclaim the Word fully. He will rescue us from every evil and save us for His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:17–18).
The battle is fierce, but so are we. Pray your rosary daily, receive Holy Communion as much as possible, put on the mind of Christ, and remain steady, my friend. God has the final Word.
Evil might be the new trend in fashion, but Jesus is Sovereign over everything and trends don’t last.
With you in the spiritual battle,