The Throwaway Culture


I was trying to print a document on my printer when it jammed. Whatever I did -- pull out the paper, open the back to check what caused the jam --- it wouldn't work. It would be more costly to bring it to a repair shop than to throw it away and buy a new one.

Even heavy appliances that are broken but are still repairable are more easily replaced than fixed with costly parts and expensive labor. We are now the throw-away society. We don't bother to fix broken things anymore.

Pope Francis aptly calls this present culture a throwaway culture of this consumer society. When something stops working, we discard it, even if we could fix it. The pope decried this prevailing mentality of the world economy where so many people are "discarded" today — the poor, the elderly, those who are helpless and unproductive.

This throwaway mentality affects even broken human relationships. It is better to keep them that way or ignore them rather than go through the effort of fixing or healing the brokenness. It is easier to just throw them away, or recluse one's self or build a wall around one's self to avoid further brokenness and instead find new relationships.

When Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God, He did not just throw them away from the paradise He originally gave them. Even with the offense the finite creatures ungratefully repaid the Infinite Creator with, He vowed to effect a reconciliation with them. Thus, the Infinite going down to the finite.

This reconciliation, made at the initiative of the Divine, happened in time.

"For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." John 3:16

God forgave our first parents. He continues to forgive and is willing to keep us, their descendants, in His good graces. When in our weakness we fall, even if it happens again and again, He mercifully forgives and makes sure we are confident we have been forgiven when we ask for forgiveness. That is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which His Son Jesus instituted.

And to stress the necessity of forgiveness, we are given the prayer which the Lord Himself taught us: "And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

God fixes broken things. God heals our brokenness . . . if we are willing to let Him. We must also be healers of brokenness. If we are, then we are partaking, even now, of the divine! And nothing is better than that!#

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