For Shakespeare the question was to be or not to be, for us us the question is to be popular or to be right. I start this article by giving you an example: Last Sunday Meryl Streep gave a speech at the Golden Globes award, which has been called extraordinary and inspirational by some, elitist and typical Hollywood by others. I prefer to be diplomatic and call it controversial. What did such a speech gain? Fame and praise for Streep, division and anger to others. Thus we come to the key question once more to be popular or to be right? Honestly I can tell you that as a Catholic the answer is obvious what is right, as a teenager who is tempted by fame like many others, the answer sometimes becomes what is popular.
So how can I arrive to the clear conclusion? As always is the case for me as Catholic, I ponder on Christ’s truly remarkable example. From the Gospels we find this episode whereby Christ is tempted by the devil to jump from the Temple so that the angels would keep him from hurting His feet. Christ would have become instantly famous, everyone would believed him straightaway, He could have taken such a short route, a film-like rag to riches success story. Christ’s response is a clear no. “Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”. But what would I do? Would I do something for the sake of fame say do like most celebrities, who have become the false gods of our time, do. Such as post certain risqué attention seeking images of myself. The temptation is real after all we are living in an age where we are expected to like, follow and share.
Let us examine clearly the example of posting certain risqué attention seeking images of oneself. Say I decide that I post such an image, what do I gain a more liked (if not the most liked) image of myself on my profile. What have I lost: first my true appreciation for my own body and image, I used my image, I have treated myself as an object for the consumption by others either for mere jealousy or worse for fake love. Thus as one can see very clearly the loss is already greater than the gain.
We have not directly mentioned God but we did refer to Him indirectly for it was He who created us in His own image. What does this mean?
“The dignity of the person is manifested in all its radiance when the person’s origin and destiny are considered: created by God in his image and likeness as well as redeemed by the most precious blood of Christ, the person is called to be a “child in the Son” and a living temple of the Spirit, destined for the eternal life of blessed communion with God. For this reason every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the Creator of the individual.” (From Christifideles Laici, n 37)
Amazed by such love and warmth I can only say that as a teenager, although tempted by fame, I can only respond in the only reasonable way possible. Choosing what is right is the answer to the trickiest question facing mankind today: to do what is popular or what is right?