Sunday Sermon

This past Sunday was the third of the month; in my parish, that means the deacon, rather than the priest, speaks the Homily. For anyone who doesn’t know, in a Catholic mass the Homily occurs after the three Bible readings. In the Homily, the priest or deacon tries to explain or add insight to what we had just heard. Usually, I don’t particularly like when the deacon at our church does the Homily. He’s not terrible, he just utilizes the same writing technique every time, which, as a writer, tends to get on my nerves.

However, this Sunday was different. Saturday night I randomly woke up and felt empty inside. “There is no God,” I thought to myself, not sure where this sentiment came from but believing it nonetheless. The next morning I didn’t feel as faithless, but could not fully trust in my religion, even though I still prayed and sung throughout the Mass.

As the deacon performed the Homily, my mind drifted between listening intently to what he had to say and wondering whether I should apply for that campus job. Fortunately, I tuned in to hear a beautiful comment  from our deacon.

“We seem to focus so much on who we think should be saved. Instead, let’s focus on strengthening our own faith.”

This is a really important idea for Catholics and other Christians to hear in a world where people march against gays and abortion or condemn the use of birth control. Sometimes we spend so much energy, resources and time attempting to persuade others to do “the right thing” when we could be improving our own religious dedication through prayer, service and love. I literally smiled in church, relieved to hear this statement after hearing our priests discuss the evils within our modern society every so often and how we must be the metaphorical light of the world.

Furthermore, this is an attitude someone of any race, gender, nationality, age, and yes, even religion, could adopt. Changing others is difficult, especially when dealing with a) those who do not wish to change, or b) opinions rather than fact. This does not mean abandoning our own beliefs and submitting to someone else’s views. Rather, we should concentrate on enhancing our way of life instead of attempting to change others, because no one can claim they live a perfect lifestyle.

This wasn’t the end of #quotableChurchmoments. During another part of the mass, a lector reads a list of intentions, or things we want to pray for. After each intention, we all say “Lord, hear our prayer”. This was one of the best intentions I have ever heard:

“We pray for all those who are searching for God, that they may be enlightened so that their natural goodness will shine through”. 

Anyone who has studied Classicalism and Romanticism knows most religious institutions, especially the Catholic church, follow many classical beliefs, including the idea people are born evil and must be taught to be good. Contrariwise, this prayer recognizes people are children of God and therefore naturally good creatures. Beautiful.

Though these experiences have not reinstated my faith to its full health, this Sunday sermon made me hopeful for alterations in the attitude of the world and hopeful for my own future. As I look forward to college with excitement, anxiety, and some fear, I know this will be a time of change and self evaluation, of figuring out who I am and what I want. Through my own natural goodness, I can strengthen my faith and achieve my full potential in whatever I’m supposed to do on this earth.

*Note-all comments are paraphrased.

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Pet Peeves

While I’m avoiding my English essay and Chemistry homework, I’ve decided to talk about a few things that make me want to punch people in the face.

Aren’t I a wonderful human being? I’m realizing I could probably think of a lot, but these are the main four (in no particular order) that really seem to not only crawl beneath my skin but create completely irrational anger within me.

1) When people do not know general geography.

Now, I’m not an expert in geography, and I don’t expect people to know where insignificant cities or countries are located; however, I do not understand why so many people act like they’ve never seen a map before. For example, while we were still in middle school, my best friend thought Spain was in Mexico.

My one friend just laughed when she said this, but I completely freaked out (it was somewhat uncalled for). I suppose I have to blame American schools systems (maybe not all of them, but many of the ones I am familiar with) for not spending more time studying geography. Granted, many things are more useful, important, and require high-level thinking rather than memorization, and who wants to memorize a map when they can look everything up on their phone?

Still, doesn’t anyone else think we should have some basic knowledge of where things are? I’d think that would be important. Wouldn’t it be offensive to someone from Spain to ask them what it’s like to live in Mexico? Either you offend them or they just think you’re an idiot.

2) People who do not respect the opinions of others.

I will admit that, on most subjects, I’ve grown to not be very opinionated, because I clearly see the pros and cons of each side. Besides, most things in life that people fight over are completely subjective, such as which music is best. However, I wish more people would be at least respectful when voicing their thoughts.

One sore subject between myself and another student whom I don’t see much of anymore is religion. He is an atheist and I’m Catholic, and when I told him this he decided that it was appropriate to bring it up EVERY single time I talked to him. I didn’t even try to fight it; I just smiled and nodded or tried to joke whenever he started ranting, but though I think I kept pretty cool on the surface, inside I was ready to smash my AP Biology book (which has to weigh at least 10 pounds) across his head.

Please just chill, okay? I don’t mind when people have different beliefs than me (in any subject, not just religion), and I know some people like to argue. But if the other person isn’t actually debating back, why do you feel the need to attack their beliefs?

3) Judging others.

This is a pretty common pet peeve, but everyone still does it. I know, I’ve done it before. However, I have a very specific version of this pet peeve. I abhor when people judge each other while in church.

(Time to be all Catholic on everyone…sort of).

When you are in church, you are essentially in God’s house. God does not want you to judge or hate others or stare maliciously at them while they file into your pew ten minutes late for Mass. You don’t know what’s going on in their life. Since I’ve been depressed, that old saying, that you should be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they are dealing with, has really sunk in. That person could have had to drag themselves out of bed, mustering some sort of motivation to get to Mass. They could have depression, social anxiety, or have just lost a loved one. You just don’t know.

4)  Perfect people.

Have you ever met someone who seems so ridiculously smart, athletic, talented, pretty, well-spoken and friendly that it cannot be real? Those people make me want to ram my head into a wall. Some people I can deal with, especially if they are unconditionally nice-then it’s okay for them to be perfect. But when I know that this girl or guy is mean and/or condescending, I can’t help but be irritated and angry.

Condescending. I love that word. I know some people like that, and I hate it. Especially when everyone else seems to love that person, and I can only ask myself why they do not see how absolutely condescending they are, like other people (usually me) are below them.

Considering what I just wrote for number 3, I am a complete hypocrite. I have been trying to control this burning anger at so-called “perfect people” because, in reality, neither they nor their lives are perfect.

Anyone else have pet peeves like mine? Maybe?