Archive for January, 2017

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How instrumental was your home life in making you who you are today? Were you loved, or unloved? Paid attention to, or ignored?

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. — Mother Teresa

We all know what happens to a seed that is planted but given no water, no sunshine. If the plant grows at all, it will be less than it might have been if cared for. The same goes for us when we are unloved or ignored in childhood. And if that happens, there are sad consequences to come for us.

We are unfilled, so we try to fill ourselves. We may ‘take it out’ on someone in adulthood. We may become mean and self-serving, grabbing for the love we ought to have experienced, but did not. And since, we learned in an environment of bad parenting, we may pass that inadequacy on to our own children without meaning to–because how can we teach what we don’t know?

And yet, we have the ability to rise above our sad experiences. We have the God-given power of choice.

If an unloved child experiences neglect or abuse, he/she surely knows that is what he DOES NOT want. He may look around for the love he missed, or she may gravitate toward anything that looks like love. After all, a tiny plant growing without sunlight strains toward even the tiniest portion of light.

The good news is that there is abundant light to be had. The light of Jesus Christ will be shared with us, if we lean toward it. And it is a light that heals. A light that is vital today.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TODAY’S FAMILY CANNOT BE OVERSTATED.

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church dedicates one of its first chapters to the institution of the family, described as “the vital cell of society,” explaining that due to its vital importance the family has priority over society and the state. “Every social model that intends to serve the good of man must not overlook the centrality and social responsibility of the family.” (No. 214, Compendium)

We have a huge responsibility as parents and grandparents to love our children, to establish in them values such as humility, kindness, honor, truth, respect and more.  Whatever we teach to the children in our families will help–or hurt– them individually, and also, help or hurt the whole of society.

Deep down, I believe everyone gets that.

Blind to the Illusion???

Posted: January 27, 2017 in World On The Edge

Seven Deadly sinsHave you heard of the Seven Deadly Sins? No, I don’t mean the movie, although it was a good depiction of all seven.

The capabilities of each of the seven deadly sins exists in each of us. Even the movie’s logline agrees: Seven Ways to Die.

Sometimes called Cardinal Sins, the Seven are: Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. They are nests for the evil in humanity.

Each of us has the capability to commit these sins, but not all of us do. What keeps us from it is that each human being also has higher capabilities. These are called the Seven Cardinal Virtues: Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, Humility. They are the goodness in humanity. The positive, not the negative in our human nature.

Too often, people seem to turn away from positive in their nature, as if they resent it. Take a look at Chastity, and its opposite, Lust.

Today, Chastity is probably the most resented virtue. Chastity is no longer seen as something good, something noble, something we should all pursue. Just the opposite, Chastity is now often portrayed as something harmful for human persons! They argue that chastity is detrimental to the psychological well-being of young men and women, because sexual desire is natural, so it’s ‘unnatural’ to restrict it in any way–i.e. No restrictions??!!

Our very culture appears to resent chastity, too. We see the resentment in many college classrooms, in many “sex ed” programs, and especially in the media. For example, when a Hollywood film or prime time sitcom portrays romantic relationships, how often is chastity held up as a moral ideal? How often is chastity presented as something good, something that makes us happy, something that a hero would choose?

Instead, lust is equated with love. How deceiving!

“The greatest deception in modern times has to be the illusion that lust is love. Lust is prevalent everywhere, at every level of society. It is the ‘sweet’ deception used to sell us everything from clothes, to cars, and even lifestyles. And we buy it.

Instead of truly loving, respecting and understanding another person, we buy into the very thing that violates another person.  And lust is truly a violation, especially of the family. There’s no quicker way to destroy a marriage and the innocent lives of children.

Being Held???

Posted: January 26, 2017 in World On The Edge

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There are so many striving, good people in our world – – people striving to do ‘the right thing’ for everyone they love. This is particularly true of parents who hear the calls of their children every waking hour.

Those calls remind them of the heavy responsibilities of parenting. And look around–today, it is truer than ever that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” The influence of parenting can never be overstated.

But those rocking the cradles become tired, and even distraught. They are in need of attention as much as their children.

Sometimes that need can be assuaged only with an embrace, by feeling the arms of someone trusted around them, and by knowing that the trusted person is listening, is commiserating with their troubles.

Other times, getting away from the situation for even a short length of time to take a physical breath helps to focus again. And then, there is the most necessary–the spiritual breath. Prayer.

In prayer, we not only ask, but are quiet enough to listen. To be held God’s arms in prayer returns us to the wonderful role of being a beloved child ourselves.

Take the time to be held by God, in the same way as you hold your children. Allow Him to do for you, as you do for them. Allow God to love you as if you were the only person in the world.

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. –Psalm 55:22

Answering the Better Call???

Posted: January 25, 2017 in World On The Edge

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The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom; soul and body together form one unique human nature. In each of our lives, we either shine our soul, or sully it, by our various decisions to accept truth, or lies; good, or evil.

Most of us don’t like to hear that we can choose between good and evil. Some of us don’t even recognize evil anymore. We put an acceptable face on evil because of today’s saccharine tolerance for ‘anything goes,’ and that the end justifies the means.

We allow ourselves to be blinded to the better call of our soul. But it is there regardless. And it is the crucible that determines our eternity.

The better call of our soul is to set aside our selfishness, and our conniving natures. The better call is to lift up the dignity of every person we meet as a child of God, from conception to death. The better call is to raise the image we have of ourselves, and others, from nobody to somebody who will one day inherit everything, including Love, itself.

And for that, we must prepare ourselves in the here and now.

We cannot control the whole world, but in our lives, there are certain people close to us in an environment we can control. Do we treat the people we are close to with respect and honesty? How will they remember us when we are gone?

There are also people we don’t know very well at all–fellow human beings–yet, we make-up, or accept, some caricature of them that is false. We may ridicule them, try to undermine them, or even attack them with more than words. Is that a better call?

Most of us know it would not be. We know when we are doing less than we ought to do, yet many still choose the lesser way.

Again, it is a choice. Do we answer the call of good, or the call of evil?

In either instance, Eternity depends upon the answer we choose.

 

Keep us, O God, from all pettiness
Let us be large in thought, in word and in deed.
Let us be done with faultfinding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretenses and meet each other
Face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment, and always be generous.
Let us always take time for all things, and make us grow calm, serene and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses, to be straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create differences,
That in the big things of life, we are one.
And, O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind.

Digging Two Graves???

Posted: January 24, 2017 in World On The Edge

file6231273266536After our new president’s election, some in our country have angrily protested, filling media, the streets, and others with their wrathful comments.

Wrath, also known as “rage,” is one of The Seven Deadly Sins. It may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Of course, we all get angry, but anger–when viciously acted out–can lead to serious consequences

Our own personal anger can manifest in different ways, including revenge.

People cheat, lie, steal, and kill, out of revenge.

Sometimes we take revenge on someone we say we love. We see many disturbing news stories about one jealous family member killing another he is supposed to love. Revenge is the instigator.

But–out of revenge– we can also destroy a person with gossip–nasty words to kill his or her reputation. And that, too, is serious stuff.

How and why does this happen?

True love never breeds Revenge. It breeds forgiveness.

Getting revenge, holding a grudge and refusing to forgive are all born of anger. These seemingly little acts of anger grow up to be big acts of anger which have the potential to hurt many, including ourselves.

An obsession with vengeance is about finding an object on which to pin all our anger and fear and rage. Revenge is the inability to understand that we can’t punish the natural world, and that Nature isn’t specifically malicious, just impersonally brutal at times.

Revenge can eat away at us until it becomes something separate from our own personality. We don’t think clearly, speak rationally or feel compassionately. We are not ourselves. In fact, we are destroying ourselves.

We may not have control over the things other people do which anger us, but we do have control over what we do when we feel angry.

When our “anger button” is pressed, our immediate reaction may be to strike out and “get back” at the person who hurt or offended us. A big challenge will be to take time out to cool down before we take any action. This step demands much self-discipline, self-control, prayer, and a strong desire to become a wholesome person.

When I’ve been so angry that I’m on the verge of revenge, I remember this old adage.

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” — Confucius

unbornBack in 1973, the state of Texas argued during the Roe v. Wade proceedings that “the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun responded, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

Now, the  2017 Alabama Supreme Court decision recognizing the unborn as persons deserving of legal protections could have significant implications in ending abortion in the U.S., say pro-life advocates.

On Jan. 11, 2017, the Alabama high court ruled that unborn children are protected by the state’s chemical-endangerment law.

The case involved two women who placed their unborn children at risk through the use of illegal drugs during pregnancy. One of the women acknowledged that she had smoked meth three days before her son was born prematurely. The child died 19 minutes later of “acute methamphetamine intoxication.”

Under Alabama law, it is a crime to chemically endanger a child by exposing him or her to a controlled substance. The women’s attorneys argued that the chemical-endangerment law does not apply to unborn children.

However, the court disagreed, observing that “the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection  is abortion, and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe.”

So what is personhood?

The notion of personhood is a philosophical concept, but it finds its inspiration and deepening in the revealed doctrines that man is made in the image of God (imago Dei), and that man is called to a supernatural destiny, or, as The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church puts it, “is constitutively related to God in the most profound manner.” (Compendium, No. 108)

The Alabama Supreme Court emphasized that in upholding legal protection for the unborn it was being consistent “with the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law.”

It also noted that its decision is in keeping with the state Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, which proclaims that “all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”–NCRegister

“Insidiously, when many moderns use the word “person,” they have a functional concept in mind, a notion that most have traced to John Locke’s definition of self in his Essay on Human Understanding as “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places.”

Such a functional conception of personhood is convenient when you want to dispose of men, women, or children under color of morality. This is the trick the Compendium calls re-dimensioning. The trick is simple: those who do not have all the functions you happen to think are important are written out of personhood. They are then outside the pale of protection, and they are fair game to the more powerful. All of a sudden, by a sort of nominal legerdemain or prestidigitation applied to the term person–Presto!–might becomes right.

Hence, fetuses, and those in a persistent vegetative state, as well as the mentally infirm are not persons under a functional dimension, though under an ontological dimension they clearly are. This is the sort of re-dimensioning of the concept of person against which the Compendium warns.” — (Catholic Online. http://www.catholic.org)

Again, from the mouth of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Today there is no ‘if.’  An unborn baby is a person. He, She, and yes, WE, always have been in God’s infinite reasoning. Now, Alabama, and a growing number of other states, are re-establishing that truth.

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I grew up in a time and place of manners and civility. By the time I was six, I had been taught on which side of the plate to set the fork, and that respect for the people around our table was required. Twice a year, at Easter and Christmas, I helped to polish the silver until it shined and wash the fine china until I could see my face in it. These were days of significance and celebration when guests were invited and honored.

I did not have to like those guests, but I was to treat them cordially. To treat them otherwise, my mother said, would be a blot on our house and our family, and I would only be hurting myself.

Tomorrow, we celebrate a day of great significance–the inauguration of our new president, voted into office by the people of America, not the politicians. Yet some of the politicians have decided to snub the people they serve by not attending. By their own incivility, they will be hurting themselves. And only themselves.

Because the train has left the station, Elvis has left the building, and Donald Trump is our next President.
Even a mindful six year-old can see that.

Those who don’t like it, don’t have to like it. But they ought, at least to respect the Office of the President of these United States. To do otherwise is a blot on America and a disrespectful snub to Americans.

So, grow up.