Too many Catholics do not understand the importance of connections, with fraternizing with like-minded people.
We are among pagans most of the day in this secular society, and we are meeting many lax and unorthodox, fallen away Catholics, even at church.
But, if we are living alone, or separated from a supporting family, or come from a non-Catholic family whose values and goals are antithetical to ours, we must still seek out friends to help us stay focused in these hard times.
Talking about the lives of others, including sports and movies stars, is just plain wrong.
One of my on line friends said that it was hard to keep away from gossip. I know this is true. It is very hard to steer conversations away from talking about people. And, frequently, gossip reveals unforgiveness, as the same stories and faults of others are revealed over and over again.
A friend of mine goes out to coffee and then complains to me of the gossip. I asked her why she had to be around these people. She could not give me an answer, as she does not want to stop going out. I would be concerned that the gathering is consistently an occasion of sin.
Twitter and other social networking forums can be occasions of sin. Think about that, please.
It is hard to correct people who do not take the hint that you do not want to hear about another person's sins.
But, if those people are peers, or younger, we must correct them, gently, firmly, if the hints are not taken.
And, if the problem persists, one may have to stop seeing the gossipers, as one is in an occasion of sin each time you all meet.
The same is true about complaining. What is hard to do is point out complaining to those who feel frustrated and who are harboring hurts.
To the young, I say do not be afraid to correct those older than yourselves.
To the old, I say it is your duty to correct gossipers and complainers, gently, but firmly.
If the patterns, the habits do not change, sometimes, we have to remove ourselves from the presence of those who refuse to change.
We do not need to put ourselves in the occasion of sin.
For those who have families which are steeped in gossip and complaining, pray a lot. These old family habits are very, very hard to break. As we cannot always correct aunts and uncles older than we are, we have to sometimes remove ourselves from the conversation.
Pray for healing for those who gossip and complain. But, do not put yourselves in compromising positions.
Surround yourselves with good, Catholic, charitable friends.
A sad article...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-83255/Men-likely-gossip-women--survey.html