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Dec 11, 2019 311 0 Kaitlyn Callahan
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BETTER THAN A HOROSCOPE

Have you ever glanced over at the horoscope column in a newspaper or magazine just for “fun” or out of curiosity? You may say things like, “I don’t take this seriously,” “I know a lot of people who do this,” or perhaps “I don’t really believe in astrology so it’s okay.” Or maybe you are really looking for guidance.

I have the same birthday as my dad. We are both considered “Aquarius.” I remember reading the Sunday newspaper and, ever so casually, checking our horoscope to see what our “fate” was that week. I would also buy those teen magazines and consider what the horoscopes were predicting about my love life and my friendships or if something totally embarrassing would happen to me at school. At one point, I even had a “daily horoscope” app on my phone.

When I was a sophomore in high school, one warm summer night my friends and I went to the beach. As we strutted confidently down the boardwalk with our carnival food, an attractive, flashing sign caught our eyes: “Fortune Teller.” My friends wanted to do the tarot card thing. I had heard that this was not the best idea but I did not know why so I did it anyway. I thought, “This is harmless.”

To cut a long story short, I walked out on that fortune teller. At one point, she remarked distastefully to me, “Are you religious? I can sense a very strong spirit surrounding you.” I immediately got up and said, “Well, that must be the Holy Spirit telling me to get out of here!” and I left.

Then What Happened?

All of this was B.C. In other words, “before conversion.” I had a faithfulness problem and a forgetfulness problem. In many ways, it was the beginning of a journey toward trusting God more fully. I was searching for Him and only just beginning to understand the Catholic faith. I did not know how ardently God was pursuing me and wanting me to entrust my heart fully to Him.

I had no real idea why consulting horoscopes or fortune tellers was wrong, I just thought it was another “rule” adults wanted to impose upon me to keep me from having fun. I did not realize that, at the core of the “rule,” was a radical invitation to love.

By engaging in these acts, I was putting my trust in someone other than God. All along, the first commandment had been warning me against these temptations. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2- 3). I did not know just how much freedom was offered to me until I entered into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, who frees me from all bondage.

Nowadays, it is all so normalized: horoscopes, fortune tellers, witchcraft, magic, superstitions, Ouija boards … the list goes on. The culture portrays these options as harmless, or even helpful. They are often seen as exciting or merely silly games. We can sometimes feel invincible, as I did, and think, “nothing really bad will happen to me, right?” Yet, it is the opposite. By engaging in these practices we close ourselves off to our good and loving God and open ourselves up to the evil one.

By doing this, we separate ourselves from the one who loves us unconditionally. Here is the Good News: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Throughout salvation history we see the Lord reminding His people to return home to Him but they returned to worshipping idols. Although He never let them off the hook, He remained patient and kept His promise to redeem them.

I came to discover that I really could put my full trust in an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Father. I did not have to grasp after anything else. I just had to be open to receiving His love on a daily basis.

Worshipping Gods That Cannot Save

One December, I had the incredible opportunity to do missions in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It is culturally Catholic but some people practice voodoo alongside Christianity. They do this because they are afraid and want to do whatever they can to ensure their own protection and welfare. They baptize their children to gods who cannot save and they worship them. This culture of fear is easily seen because it is so openly expressed. Before going to Haiti, we learned about this reality and something that our trip leader said about it has stuck with me ever since: “Don’t be afraid because you sometimes see evil in Haiti. Be afraid because you don’t perceive the evil that is here in America.”

In lots of little ways, we become too comfortable putting our trust in someone that is not our Heavenly Father. The devil is very insidious in this regard—for example, when we only turn to friends for advice and consolation but forget to speak with God in prayer. Or when we seek to quench our thirst for love in relationships that will never satisfy. Or we miss Mass regularly and let the world’s values take priority. Or we worship money, fame and success. Or we fail to include God in our plans for the future and try to predict every detail. Or we turn to sinful habits to fill up the emptiness within. Superstitious practices like consulting horoscopes are the most overt example of this.

These were just some of the ways I damaged my relationship with God. I had such little faith in Him! Sometimes I am still afraid of what my life will look like but every day I realize how worthwhile it is to put my all trust in Him.

Worthy of All Praise

After observing their altar to the unknown god, Saint Paul observed, “Men of Athens, I perceive in every way you are very religious” (Acts 17:22). Wait … what?! Yes, he calls them religious because we are naturally religious beings and have a natural instinct to worship the source of our being. Whether we know it or not, since we come from God and are going back to Him we are constantly looking for Him in all that we do. So Paul calls us to repentance, “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And He made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth … that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him. Yet, He is not far from each one of us. “‘In Him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed His offspring’” (Acts 17:22-28).

Trust in God

Any sinful habit or temptation is a sign that we are crying out for God. Paul proclaims that a relationship with Jesus is our truest hope. What does this mean for us? It means we need to spend more time dreaming big with Him and less time limiting His power in our lives by idolizing that which cannot save. Instead of falling into darkness, we should be falling to our knees in prayer. We can trust that God is eager to give an abundance of what is good for us whenever we ask. The Litany of Trust helps detach me from the false gods in my life and turns me toward the one who is worthy of all my praise, attention and hope.

In reality, my dreams are limited. When I am united with God, “nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). Praise be to the One who saved me from myself, knows me better than I do and never lets me settle for what I do not deserve.

Jesus is much better than a horoscope. I am praying for you!

Kaitlyn Callahan

Kaitlyn Callahan is a full-time missionary at Life Teen’s Camp Hidden Lake. The article was originally posted as a blog on LifeTeen.com

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