For better or worse, there’s an impulse in our human nature that some of us are more susceptible to than others to obsess over celebrities that we love, whether they are famous musicians, actors, athletes, politicians, etc. Sometimes we temper this obsession into a healthy admiration, and sometimes we perhaps allow it to take over and turn into a not-so-healthy idolization. I’ve seen this first-hand in my little sisters’ obsession with Taylor Swift, or my older brothers’ obsession with a Notre Dame football player. I can admit that I sometimes catch myself caring a little too much about what’s going on in the life of a random celebrity whom I’ve never met. The fact that such a thing as a “celebrity” exists and that there are entire media sites and publications devoted to “pop culture” indicates that human beings have a tendency to idolize other human beings.

Of course, as Catholics we know that only God is deserving of our worship and that to worship other “idols” is disordered and places an impediment between us and God. Therefore, it’s a good habit to remind yourself often, if you find yourself particularly susceptible to idolizing a celebrity you admire, that God alone is worthy of our worship and that while we can admire a person for their qualities and virtues, we should never become obsessed with them to the point that they become like a false “idol” between us and God.

So long as we avoid this idolization, however, there is a real good and benefit that can come from having people we look up to and model our own lives after. And yes, this can even be a so-called “celebrity” whose talents or virtues we may particularly admire. But even better than famous athletes or musicians, we as Catholics have a plethora of admirable men and women to model our own lives after–the saints. And we do not need to judge for ourselves whether these holy men and women are worthy of our admiration and fitting exemplars for our lives since the Church has already done so by canonizing them and giving their lives to us for that very purpose. We can still have our favorite celebrities, but chances are their virtues and heroism will pale in comparison to that of the saints of our Catholic Faith.

If you’re like me and you’re guilty of spending way too much time following the lives of people whom our culture deems praiseworthy, consider instead using that time to “follow” or read about the lives of the people whom the Church deems praiseworthy–the holy men and women who so wholeheartedly devoted their lives to God that they now get to behold Him face-to-face for all eternity. Crack open The Confessions by St. Augustine or St. Therese of Lisieux’s The Story of a Soul. Or perhaps read Sigrid Undset’s biography of the great doctor of the Church, Catherine of Siena, or Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc, or Louis de Wohl’s biography of St. Thomas Aquinas, The Quiet Light. Instead of spending an hour scrolling through social media to catch up on all the ins and the outs of the lives of other people in our world, consider spending that hour reading the biography of a saint, someone who has helped to transform our world by conforming it to the image of Christ.