Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh, the humanity!

(HUNGER GAMES SPOILER ALERT. Skip to the  next paragraph.) During the tribute interviews leading up to the Quarter Quell, the audience in the Capitol is an emotional hot mess. The same spectators who have gleefully taken pleasure in 74 years of watching tributes murder one another are crying, fainting, and calling for change.

Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video, posted to YouTube March 5, 2012, has garnered more than 86 million views and a passionate, albeit rash and emotionally driven*, response from many people (especially teens and young adults). As the video points out, technology enables us to see and connect with people all over the world, in ways we never previously could, and allows us to come face to face with people who had been “invisible” to us. Many are shocked by and distraught about the plight of child soldiers in Africa and, although they don’t know how, want to do something to save them.

 Trayvon Martin is a seventeen-year-old boy who was recently shot and killed. The case was under investigation for awhile, because law enforcement that acts first and thinks later is usually more dangerous than it is protective. However, the case elicited an interesting cultural reaction: people began donning hooded sweatshirts to rally one another to consider Trayvon to be “one of their own” and see from the perspective of Trayvon’s family members. Bloggers and reporters insist that if our children are not safe, no one is.

So, what do the Hunger Games, Kony2012, and Trayvon Martin have in common?  When people recognize someone’s humanity, they do not tolerate his murder.

Some folks argue that a baby isn’t a person until implantation, or until after 120 days, or until he/she can survive outside of the mother, or even until some time after birth, but scientific advances are making it harder and harder to deny that life begins at conception. That is why ultrasound technology is such a key player in the pro-life movement. An ultrasound reveals not a clump of tissue, but a little human being. Upon seeing her baby and hearing his or her little, beating heart, a mother’s anxiety is often overshadowed by awe, respect, protectiveness, compassion, or love.

Abortion ends the lives of three to four thousand little kids every single day in the USA, and that will continue for as long as we tell ourselves that they are not people. 

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” – Mother Teresa
*I am fully in favor of rescuing child soldiers, but for reasons I do not wish to get into here, I don’t think Kony2012 can accomplish that.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This one's for you girls...

I've been asked so many times about what "guarding your heart" means, how you do this practically, especially if you're in a relationship that could lead to marriage, etc. etc.

And, although grad school and life just seems to have gotten in the way of me coherently gathering (and blogging...) my thoughts about this and many other things, it's a question that still catches my interest. Here's something to think about:

"Eventually I questioned the premise that 'to love' was equivalent to 'giving one's heart away.' . . . . We needn't be afraid. The flutterings of the heart that we experienced in that relationship that ended have taken away nothing. To give our hearts and our love to our husbands never meant to give him the sentiments that come with package but in the end are only incidental to True Love. Giving our hearts to our husbands means giving him a heart that is fully immersed in God's."

"Above all else guard your heart, for in it lies the wellspring of life." - Prov. 4:23

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sticks and Stones Build Churches

From the HHS Mandate to Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance, Catholics have a lot of reasons to be offended these days. I guess, even after 1982ish years of it, we still haven’t warmed up to being the community punch line. Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against us, but dang- it won’t be for lack of trying.
My twelve college roommates would attest to the fact that I’m pretty laid back, I have an overactive sense of humor, and it takes an awful lot to offend me. That changes, however, the moment you start talking about my Mama. Malicious comments or disrespectful jokes about Holy Mother Church just don’t tickle my funny bone. Too personal, you know?
If you’re an offended Catholic, be assured that I am right there with you. But please do me a favor: stop babbling about how these things would never fly if they were offensive to Muslims. Of course they wouldn’t—mocking someone’s religion is always out of bounds. Don’t waste another moment pointing to another kid on the playground and wondering why no one bullies him. Once you’ve gotten over that, bust out your Bible and catechism and make sure you know how to respond to people with bogus ideas about the Church and her teachings. We have their attention! Let’s use that!
In and through the Sacrament of Confirmation, you accepted as your own the mission of the Church and received the Sacramental grace to carry it out. That mission is basically this: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). You know the peace, joy, wonder, and awe that come from being in a relationship with Jesus. Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from revealing the beauty of Catholicism to others.
“Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17