For those of you looking for the political section, I suggest you hit the back arrow on your browser and search for another one. I decided dedicate this section of my blog to what I view as the critical issue of faith. I didn’t post it as a blog post because if you’re uninterested you shouldn’t be reading it, but it was a conversation I wanted to have. I’ve notice in many places in the blogosphere how people really view the Catholic Church as something negative and corrupt and I felt compelled to address this issue by sharing my faith story here on the blog – this is an exclusive for the blog and will not be discussed on the radio show – but nevertheless I wanted to get it out there.
Ever since 2006, when I lost a friend who took his own life, I’ve been sincerely hoping to be able to make it through a year again without any kind of death in my life. This is the fourth year in a row that this has failed. In 2007, I had a friend who died in a drowning accident. In 2008, I had three friends involved in a fatal car crash. The two who died instantly, I didn’t have a strong connection with, but the one who miraculously survived was a top friend of mine and of the two who died. In 2009, the mother of my best friend passed away. I don’t recall being exposed to much death before 2006, and the recent accretion of it on my mind has really been hard on my emotions. In a way it has really made me much more of a religious person at heart, but there’s always the second guessing going on inside me asking to what end is this doing any good?
To start off, my word of advice for this wise, and perhaps maybe the not so wise is that the most important thing in life you can encounter is faith. Things in life can become very difficult. At a young age, I have been exposed to what it means for families to be torn apart and for things to never be the same again – not so much in my family personally but among many good friends of mine. The worst for me, was going through the trauma of a friend’s suicide in high school. For a while after that, I had a really hard time accepting it. The healing process for people is complex but is often alleviated when faith can be used as something to turn to. I can tell the difference in people’s grief between those who believe God can help them and those who don’t. It’s so clear, people think they can hide it but they have it written all over their face. I’ve been able to tell at funerals. I’ve been to some very painful ones that were so intense I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it through, if you’ve had that experience too you know very well that it’s obvious.
At the same time, I’ve been to one that although the whole story behind the death was very tragic, but the atmosphere at it was so hope filled that a census worker that walked into the reception was stunned that it was a funeral. It was for the mother of my best friend, who passed away not too long ago. It wasn’t joyful because it was irreverent in any way – in fact it was a very orthodox service performed as a fully Latin Requiem Catholic Mass. It was this day that really gave me the feeling that I was in the right place as a member of the Catholic Church. Although the institution itself has taken a tremendous amount of heat from a number of different directions, I feel that it just has to be accepted that no physical institution is infallible – but the faith behind it was in the right place.
This really became clear to me during a sermon on the power of love and how we are really expected to carry it with us for everyone we encounter in our lives. Jesus left us with a commandment so profound that, although it may have simplified things in terms of being able to remember it literally, it must may be the most difficult of any in the Bible to follow. It goes beyond just loving one another as you would yourself. We are actually called to have the same love for everyone else in the world today that Jesus had for us. This means that we are called to see the world in his eyes and in many ways put aside the petty human emotions that often interfere with our ability to see the goodness in others today. As I listened to this, it really occurred to me how much the world has perverted morals as we know them today. Love has become almost a generic term for a number of material thing that don’t even remotely resemble what it was that we are called to fulfill.
In the big moral fight within our country today, we really need to be thinking in terms of the eternal ends for ourselves and ask the question, how much will this measure up on the scale of important in the end? The United States, as profoundly incredible and good it is, remains finite. It will eventually come to an end along with every other civilization on this planet. People really need to think about in the end when everything is stripped down to the core foundation of being, what will we be left with. Have we built the proper moral foundation today, or are we too afraid to do so? I guess my main point in all of this is that as a person, If you reject the idea of an afterlife – then you have painted a picture mentally of a box with no hope when any times of hardship hit. It just becomes inevitable at that point because it exacerbates any feelings of emptiness people may feel when trying to cope.
In a world where we get caught up so much in the political aspects of life – it is too often that we forget why we are here. I hear conservatives come out and talk about how we need to belief in America – or belief in the Constitution. It sounds like a great rallying cry, and I’m all for refocusing this nation back on constitutional principle. In light of the fact, however, that everything in this world is finite including our planet, we need to make sure we have our priorities aligned property. At the same time I’m not asking people to march in step with my particular beliefs or ideology, but you need to understand there is more to it than just this country. It needs to become a way of life in people – to sit back and take time out of the day to reflect.
Feel free to comment, I’d love to hear from you