A healthy balance of culture and tradition

En español

When discussing ecological issues, people often mention that many species, whether animals or plants, are threatened with extinction. The concern is also about the collateral damage to the ecosystem that extinctions cause.

Thus, a protectionist attitude has emerged, intending to save many species from extinction.

But extraordinarily little is said about the current threat of extinction of traditions, cultures and popular religious expressions.

Species respond to an ecological order that determines a healthy balance of the ecosystem. We must also find a healthy balance of culture and tradition.

Culture and tradition form the basis of a people’s history, identity and family unity. Their disappearance spells the destruction of society and therefore, the loss of its heritage and identity.

For example, the opportunities to be together as a family gradually disappear, with it, the special moments to talk, listen and share joys and tears. Those are precious moments that define the sense of belonging.

What has become of Sundays? What became of Thanksgiving?

Often, Sundays have become the day when we pit Jesus against sports and church offering baskets against commercial businesses that generously open their doors for us to spend on what they offer.

Thanksgiving has become a day or a weekend to demonstrate our ability to spend rather than our ability to love and share within the families. We have let money take precedence!

Family Sundays, like Thanksgiving, are vanishing, and with them, the unity between the members of each family and us humans. Little by little, we’ve let a world that measures everything by how much we have and how much we spend absorb our family time instead of focusing on what is truly valuable: what we share and those we love.

The eradication of family moments results in the destruction of our family history and our shared identity.

Just as the destruction of species in ecology creates disorder and chaos, the disappearance of culture and tradition destroys the identity of peoples. Such destruction plunges communities and countries into division and violence, letting the garbage of ideologies and false gods fill the void. Fear prevails in the void because there is no common identity, and the void, like an open field, becomes quickly overgrown with weeds and chaff. Weeds and chaff do not unite; they divide and cause ruin.

Eliminating traditions destroys that which unites, that which creates identity as a family, as a people, as a church, and as a country. Instead, we must seek to enrich our traditions in the present and purify them for the future.

When we destroy and neglect what unites us – our healthy traditions – we give way to an individualistic, selfish society without a sense of belonging, where each person considers himself master of the law. With the disappearance of the common good and of society, a world of anarchy emerges, where false ideologies try to give answers and a sense of belonging to our human desires, leaving people closed in, deaf to dialogue, and totally selfish in sharing.

X-rays show the disease in the body, not to discourage us, but for our healing. To preserve the integrity and dignity of our families, our Church, our society, and our country, we need an “x-ray” of the heart. In this way, we will recover our sense of belonging and be better able to practice the language of love in which God is the center. United in Christ we will discover the treasure of our traditions and learn to place them at the service of our neighbor for the enrichment and salvation of our families, our Church, our communities, and our country.