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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What I Do When I’m Bored

Facebook is probably the most obvious (and overused) tool to fight boredom, and honestly it hasn’t been that entertaining recently unless I have some friends on to talk to. That’s the main thing I use it for anymore, because my one friend doesn’t have a cell phone so that’s where we chat. However, one of the aspects of Facebook, Notes, is pretty entertaining to me, especially to do with friends when the’re bored too.

I figured I could do one on here too.

Are you an activist of any kind?

Nah, I just like ranting about different things every now and then, though I don’t really stick to anything in particular.

Did you see Paranormal Activity 3?

I haven’t seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies. Honestly demons and ghosts freak me out the most (next to aliens, ever since I watched The Fourth Kind).

Have you ever been so scared of a movie you had to leave the theater?

I don’t watch scary movies in a theater; I’d freak out too much and make a fool of myself.

Have you ever been to Canada?

My family went there a few years ago to Niagra Falls, which was absolutely stunning.

One place you want to visit before you die.

England, though I wouldnt’ mind going back to Germany and Austria and exploring different places.

Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone in school?

No, I’m very mellow in school, or really I just keep all my thoughts to myself and avoid confrontation, though I can get pretty angry at some people.

Does the song that gets on everybody’s nerves get on your nerves?

All of the pop ones do…Call Me Maybe…etc….

What is one thing you want for Christmas this year?

Probably just money; I don’t really need or want anything terribly. Maybe the Great Gatsby on DVD because you don’t understand how excited I am to see it. Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby McGuire are just perfect for their roles, in my opinion.

Did you like the Spice Girls when you were little?

I never even listened to them. If you pointed out one of them or made me listen to one of their songs I wouldn’t know who it was.  I lived under a rock for a good 13 or 14 years.

What internet browser do you use?

Google Chrome, though Firefox for some things that don’t run properly on Chrome.

Are you scared of elevators?

No-I find them kind of fun.

Have you ever seen a dead body in person?

Yes, I’ve been to a couple funerals.

Do you bake cookies all the time around Christmas?

I help my Mommy and Grammy bake.

Have you ever visited a college for a weekend?

No…in fact I should probably start visiting colleges…oh well.

Are you in college?

Nope, I’m a junior in high school.

Are you scared of public restrooms?

Scared isn’t the right word. More like repulsed by.

Do you still go trick or treating?

Yes, but this is the last year I’m going to do it. I guess I have to grow up eventually [insert teardrop here].

If you could save the country from poverty, would you?

It seems like there should be some kind of catch here, because honestly who wouldn’t unless there was a selfish reason not to?

Would you sacrifice your dreams, to help someone else reach theirs?

Probably not. I’m a very selfish person when it comes to reaching my goals.

Are you a peacekeeper, or antagonizer?

Eh I guess I can be both.

When you fight, are you usually right?

I don’t know. Fighting isn’t good, and it’s always over something stupid. I always think I’m right going into the fight haha.

Do you think before you act, in serious situations?

I usually run away from confrontation so that I do have the time to think.

Are you religious?

Very, though I love all sorts of religions. I’m technically Roman Catholic but I like going to my friend’s Evangelist church and Taoism intrigues me because it’s so chill.

Are pick-up lines pathetic?

If the person isn’t serious, it’s entertaining. My boyfriend used to use them on me just as a joke.

Have you ever experienced insomnia?

All the time, and it always seems to be the night before an important event.

What’s your favorite song to listen to when you’re just angry at the world?

Pain by Three Days Grace.

Would you ever wear Converse with a prom/formal dress?

Nah as much as I love being comfortable, I also love dressing up every now and then.

Are you a simple or complicated person?

Depends on how I’m feeling. I can go either way honestly.

Is there anything about you that not many people know?

Most of the people I know in real life don’t know about this blog.

Does it bother you when people spell/type incorrectly on purpose?

….wait, people do that???

I hope my life isn’t incredibly boring to you, but if it is….eh oh well. I’ll try to come up with some more ideas for better, new blogs. Congrats if you actually made it this far, and you should like this post to let me know that you actually read off it. Or follow me. That would be cool too.

The Root of Almost Any Debate

Lately there have been a lot of debate about, well, lots of things-gun control, gay marriage, etc. And in every single instance, I believe there is always one problem at the root of every situation.

Usually, in the media, we only hear from extreme liberals and extreme conservatives, or, as my history teacher put it, “the crazies from this end and the crazies from the other end”. We could probably blame this on the media wanting the best story bla bla bla. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Pretty much everyone knows how these extremes can sometimes be idiotic. For example, I watched a vlog on Utube yesterday (MrRepzion..you should look him up, some of his videos are very insightful), and took particular notice of the two religious-ish ones that I watched. One of course had to do with some lady calling gays “not human”. Now, I’m fairly certain that 99% of the population doesn’t believe that. Whether or not they believe in gay marriage, they aren’t as idiotic to say something like that. However, because this woman was Christian people tag her beliefs to the beliefs of all Christians.

I can relate for a fact that every Christian I have talked to about this issue has homosexual friends or relatives, and are perfectly fine with it. In fact, many of them are fine with the idea of gay marriage. Honestly, aren’t there so many other things we could be worrying about, like I don’t know (like seriously I don’t know) but I’m sure there are better things out there to worry about! Er how about that economy?

In all seriousness, people need to realize this game that the media plays and that a lot of what we see is the crazies and not the people in the middle who actually have rational thinking. Lately I’ve been getting sort of pissed with all these issues, not because I’m hating on the people and their opinions, because I truly believe that every is entitled to an opinion. However, I’m just getting pissed because Christians are unjustly being labeled for certain things, like any other group could be labeled. Obviously not all of us think, “Oh yeah, I’m Christian so I think all atheists and gays are going to hell.” No, it’s not like that.

And I’m sure not everyone gives us those labels. It probably is just, once again, the crazies that are making us ALL out to be terrible, zealous, unfeeling, unrational people. Though I have witnessed others speaking about Christians as such in my school and other places, and it takes a lot of self-control to not let it get me riled up. So let’s all just be happy, love each other, and blame the media =D

Thank you for listening to my little rant there.

Homophobia-or not

Lately, the “controversy” of today’s world that seems to be bothering me the most is the “gay marriage” thing. Is it right? Who has a say on whether people should be allowed to do it anyway?

I feel so completely divided on this topic-on any given moment of any given day, I could be on either side. Most people (from either side) would say that this is ridiculous and that either a) gay marriage is obviously perfectly fine, or b) gay marriage is essentially a sin. But I can’t help how I feel-the problem is I can’t seem to decipher what exactly is right.

On one hand, I have many gay friends, including a gay aunt (and I truly love both my aunt and her partner, who are like parents to me), and in my high school, pretty much all of the teenagers and most of the teachers support gay rights, including marriage. I don’t see much harm in it, when I’m on the liberal side of me. It’s two people who love each other-that’s essentially what marriage is. Churches of course can keep their beliefs and don’t have to perfect same-sex ceremonies, but civil marriages-not entirely bad.  People are born that way, it’s not like they can just change. Besides, God made everyone in his image.

On the conflict of religious belief, I think that God believes that everyone should love each other (even when I’m vouching against gay marriage, I believe that you should treat everyone equally-I mean, God IS the one who is supposed to be handing out judgment). I just abhor how some people bash Catholics and Christians, like we’re a pit of pedophiles and gay haters. We’re not. In fact, most of the Catholics I know are either neutral or for gay marriage. It’s like the hippies of the 70’s who made it seem like everyone hated soldiers, because they were so outspoken and the media focused on them. People just seem to focus on the few Catholics and Christians that protest against gay marriage and disregard the calmer, kinder, less outspoken ones. No, just because I’m Catholic doesn’t mean that I believe all atheists and homosexuals are going to hell.

Then, on the other hand, I can’t help but think of my religion. You shouldn’t be a “cafeteria Christian”, picking and choosing what you want to believe; God states in the Bible (Old Testament, I do believe, which sometimes shows God in a very unloving way) that homosexuality is a sin. Even though God made all people in his image, there are still lots of evil-doers out there; they were just influenced by the devil. Again, I understand that for some this is a weak argument, but for me, it’s very real. To me sometimes, it’s almost like it’s against human nature. Sure, people are born that way, it’s a very sure thing. But sometimes it….it just feels that way. Marriage is supposed to be a sacred union between a man and woman, bonded forever, with the intent of purity and to raise children in the holy faith. And I believe this.

And a part of me understands homophobes, or at least the ones that don’t openly hate gays. Like my dad. He’s homophobic, but he treats gays just the same. He’s just a little “eh” about associating with gays and awkward about it. But, in the 80’s, when AIDS began, it was mostly linked to gays (the outbreak began in the gay community, and scientists have linked the beginnings to a single gay man). This disease, which took hundreds of lives within the first few months, scared lots of people, and when people aren’t entirely sure of what they are dealing with, it can bring chilling results and an attitude that most people wouldn’t normally bear. It’s like when you’re driving or walking in a bad neighborhood, keeping a captious eye out for trouble and suspecting every person who walks by you. It’s not that everyone is a thug whose going to be walking by-it’s just the fear of it that causes you to be prejudiced.

As with anything religious, the stakes are very high. Anyone who is wrong about this, well, as my history teacher said, no one can come back and tell you “Oh, you should have been a little more Jewish” or “there really is one true God who came to us through Muhammad”. No one is going to tell you, right before you die, if there isn’t a God or that you shouldn’t have been a supporter of abortion and gay rights because that was wrong. And this is exactly what makes me so hesitant to be so devoted to the cause. With the Catholics that tell me that the Bible and the way of God is always right comes this fear. It’s not so much the fear of being condemned in the afterlife-or maybe it is. It probably is. I just need to know that I am right, and finding the correct response in a sea of opinions is nearly impossible; choosing the right path, considering that they are opinions and technically no one could be completely correct.

These are just the opinions of an insignificant girl in high school. And since I’ve pretty much taken both sides, I could be attacked from either side. You can’t really tell me my opinions are wrong of course. Like so much in this life, it’s an opinion, though many people will deal with these things as if they are cold hard fact. That’s what can make the environment burdened with so much animosity.