Some Freebies Just Aren’t Worth It

There’s an expression I’ve heard often: “If it’s for free, it’s for me!”

I like freebies too! Who wouldn’t? I’ve managed to score free candy bars, other grocery items (but candy bars are MUCH more fun than laundry detergent), a “looks new to me” used book at the library just for signing up for the summer reading club, a pint of premium ice cream, magazine subscriptions, and a gajillion samples for all kinds of products.

But freebies are not without their drawbacks.

For a while I’d take almost any magazine subscription that came my way, if it was free (well, nothing X-rated…) We were getting Field & Stream, Bicycling, Family Fun and Body & Soul. The first 2 basically got trashed, unread. WASTE OF RESOURCES here….the only ones getting rich are the Postal Service for delivering the copies each month.

Last week I was flipping through a back issue of Body & Soul (AKA Martha Stewart goes Buddhist). I have never seen such a slick, pretty monument to self-indulgence. There were a couple of interesting recipes and skin-care hints here and there, but mostly it’s about yoga and pampering yourself (and your pet).

What sent me over the edge was an article in the “Inner Growth” section called “Anger Transformed” by Jennifer Louden. Since the article is not available online I will quote the passage in question. It’s part of a sidebar headlined: “Paths to Peace.”
Finally, consider a practice my mother-in-law would endorse: the sacrament of confession. I confessed to my hairdresser, Cathy, how I was angry…

Obviously the writers and editors of this magazine have NO idea what a “sacrament” really is. I don’t have a beef with the author recommending the sacrament of confession as a strategy for dealing with anger, because through personal experience I have found that it works. My beef is that the author thinks that unloading her emotions on her hairdresser and getting some advice is equivalent to confession to, and absolution through, Christ by means of a priest.

According to Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

sacraments are “instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church,…efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses” (q. 224).

I didn’t see any mention of “hairdressers” in the Catechism.

Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s worth taking. In the case of Body & Soul, I’ll skip it in the future. I think my soul will be much safer that way.

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