Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Is Racism Really Prevalent in America and How Should We Respond?

Is racism really dominant in America? For the most part, no. In fact, according to many polls, America is listed as the least racist country. Does it exist? Yes.

Interestingly enough, in a poll done by Ramussen Reports, "Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way." (2013, Lifestyle, n.p) In a poll done to exploit the most racist countries in the world, America was not listed. (n.a, 2016, n.p). Of course, we cannot turn our eyes from the issue; we can't say it doesn't exist, when it still does. Bullying exists and always will. People are judged all of the time on their appearance, whether they are fat, skinny, pretty, or ugly. Now, how do we address the situation. Well, in my opinion, what we should do is teach our children that somebody's skin color, hair color, eye color, or weight means nothing in itself; it is the soul that matters, and we should not be mean or judgmental only based on somebody's outward appearance, something they cannot change which does not define them.

If we stop bullying people because of what they look like, then the world is a happier place not just for blacks but people who are not "pretty" enough or "thin" enough compared to the models on the magazines. We need to look at the core and address that issue, not just help the blacks, for instance, but ignore the other races that have less of an issue; we need to teach kids that what someone looks like doesn't matter period and not focus purely on "race" so to speak. I don't' see how teaching that is counterproductive toward racism since it would seem to me that that would help much more than going on about how us privileged whites don't get it, because it's not like we haven't suffered some form of bullying based on our looks which can be compared to a racist attack in so far as it's emotionally damaging and more or less not too different except "racism" is toward a group and there's a form of "power" involved from the race that is formed up of more individuals (Irving, 2016, n.p), but, still, our race is human and to pinpoint that there are more whites in the government doesn't mean anything necessarily since it wasn't (we would hope) the color of their skin that got them there but their qualifications and probably who they knew. Also, to make whites feel like they don't understand and don't get it and don't suffer is not going to help because we all suffer and it's empathy that pushes the other to react, not a finger pointing at them. It is better to say, "didn't it hurt your feelings when Molly made fun of your curly hair? Well, so-and-so is made fun of because of their skin..." that works much better than "You don't know what it's like to be so-and-so because you're privileged and have never suffered any form of racism." That is only going to make whoever you're speaking to get defensive or offended since you know nothing of their life and you are seemingly making an assumption (that they're privileged) based on their skin color, something they have no control over and, for all you know, maybe, individually, they are the furthest from being privileged.

This all being said, we should reflect on the positive, that as the years progress, racism becomes less and less of an issue and America with its immense diversity is comparatively probably one of the least racist countries since, when your neighbor is black/asian/Spanish, and you have formed a relationship of some kind with them, it is much harder to see skin color as anything more than an exterior appearance that does not make a person who they are.



Found in an article written by Kyle Becker here



Links to sites mentioned: 


http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/july_2013/more_americans_view_blacks_as_racist_than_whites_hispanics

2016. n.a. Website found at: https://businesstech.co.za/news/lifestyle/116644/the-most-racist-countries-in-the-world/

Irving. 2016. http://www.debbyirving.com/qa/are-prejudice-bigotryand-racism-the-same-thing/

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Guest Post: A Parable by Thomas Naegele

This is a guest post from Tom Naegele. You can check out his blog by clicking his name. I was very much moved by this post of his below the picture. We will not be happy until God is the center of our lives. Until then, those seemingly pointless tasks of sweeping the floor and cleaning the dishes will seem very insignificant, but if we make God the center at all times and do those tasks for love of Him, well, then, how great will they become then?
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There once lived a tiny seed who wished to become a great and beautiful tree. He spent many years trying everything in his power to germinate, sprout, and grow. He worked tirelessly at it every single day of his life, but it was seemingly all to no avail.
Finally, after many years of persevering in hard work, the seed was at last able to bury himself in a bit of soil and begin the germination process. But alas, our poor seed could make it no further. The soil he had found was in a cold and dark environment, and he received none of the essential sunlight and water. Consequently, this poor, miserable seed simply withered away back into the nothingness from which he came. He never achieved his goal of becoming a great and beautiful tree.
Such is the sad story of many a life today.
We set lofty goals for our lives, we work diligently and tirelessly towards those goals, and yet we often fail miserably. Why? It is because we so often attempt to do everything ourselves. We obsess over the idea of becoming something, so we madly seek out soil–any soil–in which we can begin the germination process. We sacrifice everything to have a little success, but we ignore the essential elements of growth.
Sunlight and water are necessary for any life to grow beyond the germination process. Sunlight is the presence of God in our souls, and water is His graces pouring down from Heaven. If we ever wish for any real success in our lives, we must have these two vital elements.
It is possible to find a little, temporary success without the element of God in our lives, but it will only be a fleeting moment. Very soon we will wilt, and we will die. We will go back to the nothingness from which we came. We will have wasted our lives without ever accomplishing anything of value.
But if we would only welcome the ever-burning sun of God into our lives, and then open our souls to receiving His infinite graces, what success we will encounter! What great and beautiful examples of life we shall become. Do this today, dear readers. We must stop trying to become something on our own. We must turn to Him, the source of all life, and ask for His help.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Survival of the Fittest


Society tries to brainwash us into believing that things such as abortion and euthanasia are not only empowering but also merciful and if we disagree then we are not only ignorant but cruel. How dare us impose on “women’s rights”; how dare us discredit her life or tell her what do with “her body”. How dare us prolong the suffering of these poor people who are already dying.  

Well, if euthanasia is okay, then so is suicide. And if abortion is okay, then so is murder. Come on, Society, stop pretending that one is okay and one isn’t; either you cross the line or you don’t. You can’t have your feet in two places at once. You can’t say murder is wrong and abortion isn’t. You can’t say suicide is cowardly but euthanasia is freeing.

Today many have the mentality of beasts; it is all about survival of the fittest for them. And yet, many aren’t even aware that that is what is going on, but it is. Even if we were to accept euthanasia as merciful, it could easily be abused. Abuse is everywhere, especially in the medical field, and who is to say this poor woman whose husband wants her dead since he doesn’t want to care for her anymore, isn’t going to be given euthanasia solely due to her guardian’s decision and not her own? So many people in this world think they have a right to say who lives or dies whether it be a baby or somebody who is sick. Most turn their eyes from that harsh reality and go on still claiming that euthanasia and abortion are good choices, but when it's them, will they still say their guardian has a right to kill them?


Our society is not kind or empowering when it imposes its verdict of death on those who are weak and small, who may not yet have a voice of their own. We are meant to love. We are meant to treasure life, to be a voice to the voiceless, a crutch to the crippled, and a friend to the brokenhearted.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Obscure and Powerful Philomena


Saint Philomena: The Obscure Princess Martyr

Philomena: the obscure little martyr saint of the Catholic Church. Hardly anything is veritably known about her. Sure, there have been some private revelations concerning her life, but those aren’t dogma, and even with those private visions granted to the saints as testimony, still little is known of this young saint. Perhaps, that is why it has taken me so long to really take her close to my heart as I have as of late. I knew little of her. She wasn’t a St. Therese having written her own autobiography, delving deep into her life. When I moved to Oregon for a job position and my roommates vouched the reason they got the house with furniture was due to a novena to St. Philomena, I didn’t take it too seriously. I mean, it was remarkable, sure, that they prayed to her for a house near the church with furniture, and then ended getting the one across the street fully furnished. But, still, even if I wasn’t about to discredit Philomena, I still didn’t feel inclined to pray to her, didn’t think she’d hear me, didn’t feel that connection you sometimes do toward certain saints.

When I finally turned to Philomena, it was during a little crisis of my own. I am not going to go into that crisis. I am just going to say, she seemed to hear me. After that, I began to pray to her quite often. I even got a little second class relic of hers. She hasn’t cured me of any incurable diseases necessarily, but I suddenly am beginning to realize how powerful and kind she is. Even the tiniest little requests, she seems to hear and grant quickly.


These images were found on her tomb. If you switch the order, you will get: Pax Tecum Filumena, which is equivalent to "Peace be with you, Philomena" in English. Top two images found at: National Centre for St. Philomena in Australia

Saint John Vianney, the miracle-working priest who is so well-known, was very attached to Philomena. He once said, "My children, Saint Philomena has great power with God, and she has, moreover, a kind heart; let us pray to her with confidence. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom have rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us." She proved her kindness toward him many times. One time, when he was approaching death, he asked God for some more time since he felt he had empty hands. At the moment, a Mass was being said for him in honor of Philomena, and he was cured. (2016, Melvin, n.p.)

Image found at: Saint Philomena Facebook Page
Not only was the well-known Saint John Vianney a big supporter of our little saint, but so was venerable Pauline Jaricot. Pauline was very ill and noticeably so when she made her trip in 1835. The Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI himself came out to see this sickly woman to console her. She asked him if she came back well from her trip to Mugnano, where Philomena’s shrine was, if he’d deign to proceed the final inquiry in Saint Philomena’s Cause. “Yes, my daughter,” he answered, “for that would be a miracle of the first class.” He then turned to one of the superiors of the Sacred Heart nuns and commented on how ill Pauline seemed to him, saying, “We shall never see her again.” (2016, Melvin, n.p.)

When Pauline arrived in Mugnano, her health seemed to worsen. She went near the Saint’s shrine to receive Holy Communion, and ended up fainting. The crowd thought death had taken her, but when they attempted to carry her out, she regained consciousness well enough to signal those around her to bring her back to the relics. They did so, and tears fell from her face and color returned again to her cheeks. Pauline was cured.


When Pauline returned to the pope in good health, he told her he would build a chapel in Philomena’s honor. This healing of Pauline’s helped pave the way in getting the obscure martyr better known and recognized.   

There are countless stories like the above not only told by "ordinary folk" like you and me, but venerables, blesseds, and saints of the Catholic Church. If you doubt Philomena, give her a "go" and ask for her prayers. You will soon see how amazing this little saint is. 

References: 

Melvin (2016) The Cure of Ars and Saint Philomena. http://www.thelivingrosary.com/vianney.asp


Saint Philomena: Virgin, Martyr and Wonderworker https://www.facebook.com/SaintPhilomenaVirginMartyrWonderworker/?fref=ts


Melvin (2016) The Match That Lit the Fire. http://www.philomena.org/foundress.asp

N.A.(2011) Discovery of the Holy Relics of St. Philomena. Website: http://philomena-australia.org/index_files/Page712.htm