Too Much Entertainment

By Marc Massery

Are you addicted to noise? Some of us are always streaming music, listening to podcasts, watching television, or browsing the internet. This is fine in moderation, but too much entertainment is not good for us.

In her Diary, St. Faustina writes:

The radio is always playing in the afternoon, so I feel the loss of silence. All morning long, there is ceaseless talk and noise. My God, I was looking forward to being in silence, happy that I should be talking only with the Lord. (837)

Now, St. Faustina wasn’t against entertainment and music. In fact, in her Diary, she writes more about her love of listening to music on the radio than about her dislike for it. She said:

Today, when I heard the hymn, “Good night, Holy Head of My Jesus,” on the radio, my spirit was suddenly drowned in God, and divine love flooded my soul. I dwelt for a moment with the heavenly Father. (994)

Like St. Faustina, we ought to cultivate a healthy love for music and when appropriate, enjoy entertainment. But we need to make enough room in our lives every day for silent recollection. 

In our modern world, it’s so easy to make an idol out of entertainment, with a plethora of it at our fingertips. Unfortunately, if we entertain ourselves too much, to the neglect of our spiritual and intellectual growth, we’ll be right where Satan wants us — too distracted to care about living and sharing the Gospel message.  

Author Neil Postman says in the eye-opening book Amusing Ourselves to Death: 

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.

As Pope St. John Paul II said, we live in a culture of death. This culture is far too willing to trade its own dignity for anything that will anesthetize us to the pain of living in a fallen world. Instead of accepting the suffering and discipline that striving for virtue requires, many of us choose instead to be apathetic, seeking only what will gratify us next. When we live from pleasure to pleasure, we degrade our own humanity and neglect our own God-given purpose.

Postman goes on to say:

Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us . . . But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

The antidote is turning to the Lord. The antidote is seeking out intellectual and spiritual nourishment. The antidote is cultivating a love for silent recollection. Satan wants nothing more than to imprison us in our own sinfulness. The subtler his attack, the more effective he often is. We must, therefore, be aware that his attacks can come in the form of enticing us to amuse ourselves too much. When we realize the danger of making an idol out of entertainment, when we cultivate a love for silent recollection instead, we’ll be more likely to hear the voice of the Lord. When we cherish our time alone with Him, as St. Faustina did, we’ll be more able to live out His will for us on earth.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Unsplash

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