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Question

Hello Father,

My name is F., I am a 13-year-old boy, I will soon turn 14.

I am a strong believer, and I wanted to ask a few questions.

1. I have a passion for video games and during the lockdown due to Covid-19, I connected online with my friends to play video games like Fortnite, an online shooter video game that has become famous recently, where you shoot at your opponents and whoever remains the last one alive wins the battle. At first, we spent about 2 hours in front of the screen every day, then I decreased the time by playing one hour a day every other day. (…).

I was wondering if it was a sin to play such video games or if it was possible, perhaps also by limiting the hours of play, to play these games.

2. Now I ask you some questions of a different nature. This summer, attending the Summer Oratory and going out with some friends once the Oratory was over, and also with my classmates, I witnessed some blasphemies or obscene words that day after day began to resonate in my head, accompanied with blasphemous thoughts or profane images about Holy matters like the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Saints; I try with all my heart to push away those bad thoughts when they come to my mind and I try to reject them as much as I can, because I absolutely don’t want them in my thoughts, by striving to think about something else.

Listening to some blasphemies from friends or relatives, I felt the need to atone for them, offering prayers of reparation and prayers of conversion for the person from whom I heard those blasphemous things.

I ask you this: since I am a boy who strongly believes, I read the Holy Scriptures; until recently, I did it every day, while lately I skipped a few days every now and then. I would like to resume reading every day and I hope to be able to find the time, given that schools are reopening!

As of today, I have been committed to trying to recite one Holy Rosary a day, and on Wednesday to recite the Holy Rosary to Saint Joseph.

I ask your forgiveness for this email being written with some errors and for being very long winded. I hope to receive an answer as soon as possible and I ask you to pray for me.

Thank you, Father, I send you a warm greeting. Pray for me.

F.


Answer from the priest

Dear F.

1. I begin from the second part of your email, replying about the blasphemies and obscene words that you are forced to hear when going out with your friends.

Unfortunately, these words wedge themselves into memory more than others because they touch our sensitivity more intimately.

After some time, you still remember these words spoken by your friends, but you no longer remember the contents of the discussions you had.

Not only do they remain in our memory, but they resonate within us even if we do not want to.

So far, on your part, there is no sin because there is no consent.

However, you see how easy it is for so many of your friends to slip and start talking in that way, driven by what they feel ringing inside their memory.

2. Instead, I am happy for you because not only do you not consent in any way to those words or intend to take up the way of speaking of your friends, but much more because you try to atone for them.

If we love the Lord and if we remain saddened because he is once again crucified in the hearts of many (cf. Heb 6:6), we feel the need for ourselves to make amends and to pray for the conversion of those children.

3. In the apparition of July 13, 1917, Our Lady in Fatima, after showing hell to the three little shepherds, told them: “You have seen how poor sinners end up. Many go down to hell because there is no one who prays and no one who sacrifices for them.”

Carlo Acutis, of whom you have certainly heard, after knowing about these words of Our Lady, with even more fervor began to recite the Holy Rosary every day.

Keep doing this too for the rest of your life.

Do not turn back from this intimate attitude, which is very pleasing to the Lord and draws to you many graces from Heaven.

4. I am also happy with your almost daily reading of the Holy Scriptures.

When you pick up those texts it is as if the Lord were leading you into the desert and speaking to your heart, as he said through the prophet Hosea: “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart” (Hos 2:16).

You do not even know when doing this how many are the heavenly blessings that descend on you at that moment, and through you on many others.

Keep doing so by listening every day to the most precious and brightest words you can hear, those of God.

5. I am also happy that you recite the Holy Rosary every day and that you dedicate it to St. Joseph on Wednesdays.

I have already told you about the Rosary in what I wrote above.

Now, however, I emphasize the preciousness of your devotion to St. Joseph.

I do this by reporting the experience of St. Teresa of Avila, doctor of the Church: “I clearly saw that his help was always greater than what I could have hoped for. I do not remember until now that I have ever prayed to him for a grace without having immediately obtained it. And it is a wonder to remember the great favours the Lord has granted me and the dangers for soul and body from which he delivered me through the intercession of this blessed Saint” (Vita, chap. 6,6).

6. Later in your life you will understand even more the preciousness of the practices we talked about, and you will also understand that it was not simply a matter of good will on your part, but of singular graces that the Lord wanted to grant you.

It is He who inspired you to do so. And it is He who moves you to open your heart to him to always fill it with his most sweet and enlightening presence.

So, keep it up.

7. Regarding your first question, the video games with your friends during lockdown and even those you play now are nothing wrong.

However, it is always necessary to limit oneself with regard to the time spent, so that the day is not all spent in that way, also making sure that one’s mind is not totally absorbed by them.

We must also devote ourselves primarily to our duties of study, prayer, and attention to the needs of the family.

I answer you today, 8 September 2021, the day dedicated to the Nativity of Mary.

May the grace that descended on the world with the appearance of Our Lady abundantly descend on you today as well.

I gladly pray for you, I bless you, and I wish you well.

Father Angelo