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Challenging the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge'

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Divination involves conjuring up the dead, or even worse, seeking recourse to Satan and his demons.

Father Matt

As you may have heard the "Charlie Charlie Challenge" has gone viral on social media, especially among our young people. Regardless of whether this is a marketing gimmick or a Mexican game from a number of years ago, one cannot deny that this "Challenge" involves participation in an occult practice called "divination." Divination involves conjuring up the dead, or even worse, seeking recourse to Satan and his demons (CCC 2116). Due to the potentially harmful consequences of participating in this occult practice, it's important for us to be equipped to speak the truth in love, especially to our young people.

The "Charlie Charlie Challenge" is easily accessible because it only involves two pencils and a piece of paper. Four quadrants are drawn on the piece of paper and the words "yes" and "no" are written in each one. The pencils are then placed, one on top of the other, in the shape of a cross. The game somewhat resembles the Ouija board, as players then call upon a spirit, "Charlie," and ask if "he" is there. Once "he" responds the words are changed and new questions are asked.

The following are some talking points to keep in mind when speaking with young people about this issue.

1. Affirm the desire for the supernatural. The human heart is fascinated by the supernatural and desires to know and understand those things which "eye has not seen and ear has not heard" (1 Cor 2:9). We can help our young people to acknowledge these desires and tell them what they are actually for -- HEAVEN. St. Augustine once said: "you have made us for yourself O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You." St. Augustine wants us to understand that God has hard-wired us for eternity. We have infinite longings to be known and loved, as well as for life, peace, joy, etc. and only God can satisfy them completely. Heaven is for real and our longing for the supernatural is proof that we are created for more than this world. Check out Marian Apparitions (Fatima, Lourdes, etc.), the lives of Mystics (St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Padre Pio, etc) and the Divine Mercy apparitions to gain a unique perspective of heaven and heaven's perspective of earth.

2. God is Love. One might be tempted to be suspicious of God; thinking that He is holding back on us, that He is against our freedom and really doesn't want us to be happy. Nothing could be further from the truth! Have your child look at his/her fingerprints. There are over 7 billion sets of fingerprints and hers are one of a kind. She is a unique, unrepeatable masterpiece that comes from the heart of God, who is a Master-Creator! God gave her life. God then sent His Son to die for her. God also has plans for her life ("I know the plans I have for you" Jer 29:11) and He has prepared a place for her for all eternity: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be" (John 14:3). God's plans for her and the way he interacts with her and the world can NEVER contradict LOVE!

3. Prayer is essential. In the Lord's prayer we say: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." In these words Jesus teaches us to seek and pray for God's will to be done, beginning with ourselves. Prayer is about growing in our friendship with the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and seeking to live in His will -- to be transformed in love. God is Love and He has loved us into being; could there be a better person to tell us about the meaning and purpose of our lives?

4. Seeking Charlie offends our Lord. When someone intentionally seeks to conjure up the dead, or even demons themselves, they begin to divinize, or attribute god-like qualities, to that which is NOT God. The Catechism teaches that this practice "contradicts the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone" (2116). It would be like a boy asking a young lady to go to prom with him, and then finding out weeks before that she has said "yes" to another guy and needs to cancel. Once we are in a covenant relationship with God through Baptism, seeking to wake up the dead or the demonic radically betrays our friendship with God. In the prom example, the girl in question would be going with another guy, however when a person seeks "Charlie" they are not seeking another "god" but rather seeking a being infinitely less than Almighty God. When we seek "Charlie" in this way, we seek an inferior being and attribute to him superior (god-like) qualities and treat him with the same awe, reverence and honor. To seek to awaken "Charlie" is a grave sin against the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me."

5. Who is this Charlie anyways? Can he really be trusted? We know this much, when playing this game we are not seeking God who is love -- who created you as a unique unrepeatable masterpiece, who died for you, who has plans for your life and has prepared a place for you for all eternity. WE can be sure that HE (the Blessed Trinity) is NOT speaking during this "Challenge." So if it's not the Lord who is speaking then who is it? Can "Charlie" really be trusted? Could the answer he provides be for our well-being and best interest? If it's not God then who is it? Asking if it's a "good spirit" or "bad spirit" is useless -- do you really think the devil is going to be honest for the first time in his life? Do you really want to entrust important decisions regarding your future to "Charlie" (ie. Boys/girls to date or marry, colleges to attend, jobs to work, whether to compromise or stand firm, etc)? If one opens this door, how can he/she be assured that when he closes it, "Charlie" will really go back to where he came from? Heaven is for real and so is Hell.

6. What to do if you took the "Charlie Charlie Challenge." Do not panic and do not be afraid-JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Cease taking the "Challenge" and watching videos of the "Challenge" on YouTube, etc. Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and confess what happened. Renounce Satan and all His empty works and promises (including "Charlie" and all occult practices). Pray the Apostles Creed. Tell Jesus you love Him, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Bless yourself with Holy Water. Like the Prodigal Son, God anxiously awaits your return to His loving embrace! Finally, share these facts with others and encourage them to pray and trust in God.

7. Pray 3 Hail Mary's every day asking the Blessed Mother to help you to know God's special plan for you. "Charlie," and "spirits" like him will try to portray God as an enemy to humanity (Dominum Et Vivificantem, 38). Our Lady, who brings forth the Beautiful Face of Mercy-Our Lord Jesus Christ, portrays God as the "Almighty One" who continues to do "GREAT THINGS" for us (Luke 1:49)!

- Director of the Office for the New Evangelization of Young Adults

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