Categories
Faith Formation Ink Slingers Leticia Parenting Respect Life Vocations

Where is the Cry to Ban Porn?

There are now two dead girls and one who is forever changed because they were gang raped by boys who then posted pictures and videos of those rapes online. Where is the outrage that politicians are giving to the gun debate?  Oh, right, porn isn’t on their agenda. It’s not even on their radar. Well, it’s on mine. And I’ll tell you why.

I was sexually abused as a small child. Most people know that about me. However, the part I rarely talk about are all the boys and men who followed, who took advantage of me because of that experience, using me for their own enjoyment.

I was used by man after man. Boys talked me into doing things that, had the Internet existed and our exploits gone public (as they so often do now), I would have been horrified for the world to see. It was bad enough that most  people in my town knew through gossip.

The reason I hate talking about the promiscuity that followed my sexual abuse is because I know I share the responsibility for that behavior. Yes, boys used me and talked me into things I didn’t want to do, but most of the time, I chose to let them.  Only once was I actually force into sex and even then, it wasn’t so much fighting an assault, but acquiescing to the man so it would be over as soon as possible.

So I know what these girls are going through. Yet there’s a huge difference in what happened to girls in my generation and what is happening to the girls of this one.  We didn’t have the Internet, cell phones with cameras, or even cell phones at all. I’m not sure we’d be alive today if we’d had. But there is one important similarity between the women of my generation and the girls today: both are plagued by fatherless homes and easy access to porn. The “boys will be boys” mentality probably plays as big a role today, too, in the acceptance of casual sex.

Whenever it’s suggested we need to examine our attitudes toward sex and porn, people balk at the idea because in our “me first!” culture, this could change how we have “fun.” We don’t want to think porn is wrong and contributes to sex being so abused in our culture. Because maybe then we’d have to face our own porn use…our own contribution to this problem.

Many kids (including mine) have seen their parents engaged in non-marital, intimate relationships. Go to a club on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll see two crowds: the college kids and the “single mothers” who are there for “Ladies’ Night.” Sometimes the women are the same young age, but for the mothers at least, the fact that they are at a club means the kids are home with a babysitter. Nothing is wrong with Mom having fun with her friends once in a while. But when your kids see that Mom’s (or even Dad’s) life revolves around having romantic relationship after romantic relationship, that becomes normal for them. Children learn through example, after all. 

And while Mom is out clubbing, where is Dad? Not at home…not even in the family, most of the time. It’s fairly normal today for kids to be raised in fatherless households. I’d go further and say many kids really grow up parent-less, not just fatherless. Even when children are fortunate enough to live with two parents, the parents are often either glued to their phone or computer, working all the time, or chauffeuring the kids to a thousand activities. Being a parent is much more than that.

I didn’t always know this. I was a self-centered mom for most of my kids’ lives (and may still be, considering I just told my son, “I’ll talk to you about anything you want when I’m done writing my post!”). Parenting is about talking to kids and teaching/guiding them on how to make good decisions, holding them accountable when they make bad ones, and applauding them when they make good ones. Nowadays a lot of parents think that it means defending their kids against anyone who wants to hold them accountable for anything.

But even more damaging than kids receiving no guidance and not being held accountable for poor choices is the easy access to porn. Porn is a contributing factor in most sexual assaults, because kids today have 24/7 access to hardcore, violent porn. When my husband was a teen who wanted to look at porn, there was a whole set of hoops to jump through: getting someone to buy the magazine for him, the embarrassment in ASKING someone to buy it for him, and then finding a place to look at it. Today, there’s no shame at all attached to looking at porn, much less any difficulty in accessing it.

Before my conversion, I watched porn, all kinds of porn, and the stuff I’ve seen that kids can access for free on iPods shocked the hell out of me. Teens with raging hormones and access to that kind of violent porn will act out at some point. Many people–even those who watch porn regularly–don’t realize that rape is the most common plot in porn movies.

But most adults in our culture glorify or at least ignore the dangers of porn. At worst, it’s “No big deal for consenting adults.” But we’re forgetting our children learn to behave by watching the behavior of adults. If Dad “checks out” Kim  Kardashian, then teen boys are going to think it’s okay to do the same. If they find porn on their parents’ computers or phones, they’re going to Google how to get more on their iPods and own phones. Before long, they will want to live out these titillating scenes. And it doesn’t take much convincing for a group of boys to think it’s okay to imitate what they see in porn by raping a drunk girl.

Porn is everywhere, even in the grocery store aisle, folks. I opened a copy of Cosmo the other day for the first time in forever and holy moly…there were articles about sex clubs, orgies, girl-on-girl sex, and masturbation. The whole thing from cover to cover was sex, sex, and more sex. My 11-year old could buy that magazine.

Why do we wonder what is behind the epidemic of rape in our society? Isn’t it obvious?

As adults, we are the only ones who can help our children. Do we have what it takes to look at our lives and make the changes needed for the sake of our kids? I hope so, because if we don’t, there will be a lot worse things happening to our kids in the future. I wish our nation’s president was nearly as concerned with our youth’s access to porn as he is with their access to guns. As long as we’re banning things that harm our children, where is the cry to ban porn?

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Lent Leticia Liturgical Year Spiritual Growth

Time to Walk the Walk

From the moment I watched Pope Benedict leave the Vatican for the last time and speak for the last time as Pope, I had a feeling something big was about to happen. My opinions about popes has been a conversion in and of itself. Having been a Baptist most of my childhood, I had Protestant views of the papacy, but there was something about Pope John Paul II’s face that really made it hard to believe that he was the anti-Christ. As he grew older and suffered more and more I loved him and yet I still thought it was crazy that people would believe he was actually running the show. When he died I was one of those people who watched the conclave only in passing on the secular news outlets.

Then there was Pope Benedict. I did not think that I would ever really care for him. Like ever. But then I saw him in Rome. He won my heart. The thing about Pope Benedict is that in person he looks nothing like his pictures. In person the fact that he is an introvert is very clear. But what else is clear is that he is a kind and gentle soul. I don’t really know how to explain it, but from the moment I laid eyes on him, I loved him. I read his writings and loved him even more. I cried the whole time I watched him leave the Vatican. I long to see his face and to know what he is doing now. And I hope he knows how much we all love and miss him. I really do miss him.

And now Pope Francis. *sigh* What is there to say that hasn’t already been said in a million blog posts? He’s his own Pope. And I like it. My inner rebel is cheering him on, getting involved in liturgy wars that I have no clue about, talking when I shouldn’t, and making rash judgments against people I love and consider friends. (All of which, I just wrote a blog post about and I said not to do that. I need to take my own advice sometimes.) But all of that came to a screeching halt when I read the news that he will being celebrating Mass on Holy Thursday in a juvenile detention center. That was the beginning of my conversation with God today. He did not hold back either.

I’ve been to jail. Not just once, but 12 times. The longest I’ve been in jail is 16 days. It was in the Amarillo City Jail, which is old school. There are no TVs, no outside, no nothing. Just sleep, books, cards, and crappy food. The thing that sucks the most about being in jail is you feel that everyone else is going on with life on the outside and they aren’t even thinking of you. It’s as if you’re dead but nobody is mourning you and there is nothing you can do about it except wait. You wait until you get out so you can do better next time, but really you know that you will always hold a grudge against them for living life and against yourself for being the loser who got locked up in the first place. And the cycle continues … it’s like a circle of hell. You know that you put yourself there, but you make excuses. Everyone is out to get you. Life is out to get you. The people who are supposed to care about you don’t, because if they did, they would get you out. The thoughts of self-loathing in jail are intense. From where I sit now I know exactly where the voice of those thoughts comes from: the accuser. His voice is loud in jail: telling you how terrible you are, how much of a failure you are, how everyone is a liar, how they don’t love you, how you are worthless, how you have a right to hate everything, and on and on. You start to adjust to it and start making friends and trying to make the most of your time. And then comes Sunday. The church people come in and stand there and preach at you about how you’re a sinner. I would always just pretend to be asleep with a towel over my face but under the towel I was crying. Because I knew what I was, I didn’t need anyone else telling me, I had that voice in my mind that wouldn’t shut up from telling me. What I needed to hear was about Jesus and how Merciful God is.

Today, I cried thinking of what it would be like to be in prison and have the Pope say Mass and wash the feet of prisoners in there. Currently I have two cousins in prison, my oldest son’s uncle is in state jail, and my kids’ father is in jail. All of them are there because of bad choices they made. Regardless, I know all of them are loved by God. Who is going to tell them that while they sit in there with that voice accusing them of being nothing and unloved? The evil one is there no matter what. Who is going to take Jesus to them? Many people have opinions about what Pope Francis is doing. Some of those opinions are rooted in selfishness of wanting the papacy to be run their way to make them feel better. (Anytime people center their opinions based on their feelings it’s rooted in something that is not virtuous.) But as someone who has been in jail and knows what goes through the mind of someone in there, I think what he is doing is showing the rest of us, by his example, that the time for talk is over. It is time to walk the walk.

That is what Holy Week is all about, isn’t it? Jesus walked the walk. He spent three years talking, on Holy Thursday He instituted the Eucharist and the Priesthood, and the following day he walked the walk carrying His cross all the way up until He was crucified on it. What scares me is that this is what Pope Francis is all about. He is all about the Cross and I am all about talking about it. I’m not about carrying it and letting anyone hang me on it. But isn’t that the point of Lent? To die to self? Some of us need to die to our feelings, some need to die to self by not making rash judgments of others, and some of us need to die to self by giving up the talk and start walking the walk.

I would suggest that we all follow our Pope’s example this Holy Week and practice some Corporal works of Mercy:
feeding the hungry
giving drink to the thirsty
clothing the naked
offering hospitality to the homeless
caring for the sick
visiting the imprisoned
burying the dead 

May God use us to take Christ to those who need him the most.

Categories
Ink Slingers Leticia

Sometimes I Want to Walk Away: When the Spiritual Honeymoon Wears Off

When I came into the Church at Easter Vigil three years ago there were a few things that nobody told me. Well, one thing that people did tell me that I did not listen to was that the high I had at the time would wear off. It’s called the honeymoon phase, and like all relationships it happens. Even in our relationship with Christ. I did not believe people because I am the most prideful human being that has ever lived. And the love that God was showering me with at that point in my life gave me the delusion that I was special. That somehow I was never going to feel that emptiness that comes when God starts preparing us for battle. (That is what He is preparing us for; battle against the evil inside of us, in the world, in the Church, and in our everyday life.) I thought that the little moment of sadness or the times that I didn’t get chills when receiving the Eucharist were those “dark nights of the soul” that everyone was talking about. Now, three years later, I realize that is laughable. But nobody really told me what to prepare for. I’m not sure why we don’t talk about it; whether it’s because we don’t want people to run away or if it’s because we don’t really want to bare our souls like that.

The only thing that makes me feel safe is baring mine. So, here are a few things that I wish people had told me when I became Catholic.

1. The Catholic Church is like a family

I read a post by Simcha Fisher the other day where she said, “Come on in, it’s terrible”, and that about sums it up. The last 3 years of my life have been full of seeing the most appalling acts made by some of the most decent Catholics. We act like 2 year olds sometimes. We call each other out, we type in ALL CAPS in online debates with one another, we disagree about everything, even things that by the very name Catholic we should agree on. We don’t see anything the same as anyone else, we love different kinds of music and all come from different personal experiences that makes us take all kinds of stupid things wrong and personal. And thanks to Facebook, we do it in public sometimes. Who am I kidding? We do it in public all.the.time. But we still love each other. The second that some secular media outlet attacks all things Catholic you can bet your horse that we will all swarm their Facebook page or Twitter to tell them how the cow eats the cabbage. (I’ve been talking to my husband about this post so I have a lot of Texan sayings in my head.) So, don’t be shocked or heartbroken or offended when you are admonished for anything and everything you do. Be prepared for it and cling to Christ when someone in our family hurts your feelings, but get up and move on. We don’t have time for pity parties right now. The Apostles had this problem, it’s not new, so dust off and focus on God’s Will for your life. It’s not a popularity contest.

2. You will be admonished for everything you do by someone

No matter what you do, if you have enough Catholic friends someone in that circle will judge you. They will judge you on your choice of music, speech, clothes, shoes, hairstyle, when you go to Mass, or any number of other things. Why? Because that is how the evil one gets us to let ourselves off the hook, we judge others. So, chances are that someone somewhere will be judging you. Forgive them and remember that feeling so you don’t turn around and do it to someone else. It’s just so much easier to point a finger at someone else than it is to turn the spotlight on our own short comings. We all do it. And don’t make the mistake that I’ve made over and over again and end up judging them for judging others. That is a mirror in a mirror and it takes a long time to get out of it. It took me countless confessions and a lot of heartache to finally get out of mine. Sparky is a sneaky guy and he can con you into thinking that wrong is right in the name of truth and justice. Don’t fall for it.

3. Sparky aka the devil is real

There is a fine, and I mean a supa fine, line between knowing this and thinking that everything is the devil’s fault. Legions of demons do not have the power to take away our free will. Our choices are ours to make (which makes the whole motto of the pro-choice movement so extremely frustrating since they seem to think that their freedom to make choices comes from the Government, but I digress). So no matter what, we choose. And we will be held accountable for those choices. But what Sparky can and does do is tempt us. He uses scripture, papal documents, newspaper articles, Facebook, Twitter, our mood, our surroundings, and everything he knows about us to do it. We have to acknowledge this in order to avoid those temptations and to ask for God’s Mercy when we fail and fall for Sparky’s tricks. Also, he is no chump. When Sparky attacks us it can make our nightmares look like fairy tales. His attacks can make us feel more alone than we have ever felt in our life. There have been times when I beg God to let me be anything but Catholic. My RCIA director said once that he had at times felt like his soul was being ripped apart and away from God. I have felt the same. What you have to hold on to is that God allows all things for our good. Even what we consider the ugly parts, because He knows that all real relationships mature. At the beginning he babies us because we need that kind of treatment, then as we grow he allows us to grow and that means letting us go sometimes. Not “let us go” as in He leaves us, He never leaves us, but He does let go of our bike. You know how when you learn to ride a bike and an adult or someone holds onto your seat while you are learning and then suddenly you realize that they have let the seat go and you are riding it? Yeah, when you realize that is usually right before you fall and cut your forehead on the pavement. That’s the same thing with God, he lets go of our seat and we usually fall and crack our head on the pavement. And it hurts like hell. But we learned how to ride that bike! (I think that I’m still holding a grudge against someone for letting go of my bike when I was 5.)

4. People will hate you

You know the saying “Haters gonna hate”? Yeah, being Catholic will really bring that one to life. People will say the most offensive things to you, to your face. Don’t even get me started on online conversations. It seems that it is okay to say the vilest things as long as it’s against Catholics. And everyone is doing it. Protestant, Progressives, Pro-choicers, Atheists, Protestant progressive pro-choice atheists (don’t think they exist? Just read a few comment boxes, and you’ll see that they do), and any other group of people that you can imagine. (The progressive and uber Catholics will hate you too, but that falls under #2.) Jesus told us Himself that following Him would not be popular, the part that I think maybe He could have elaborated on is how many of those people who hate us will claim to be on our side at one point or another. I think that God allows it to teach us that the only person that we should be relying on is Him. Everyone else will let us down at some point or another. It’s devastating when it happens, but I always have to keep my eyes on the Cross and realize that He knows better than anyone that friends will betray us. Judas sold Him out, Peter denied him, all the rest of them ran like cowards except John. John stayed, but what did he have that the others didn’t seem to have? He had a love for the Blessed Mother. So take that example and love her as much as John did. Hold on to *her* and keep your eyes on Jesus when people hate on you.

5. No matter what, be who God made you

And sometimes that means listening to Justin Timberlake on Pandora and dancing like its 1999. I love music. I love Hip Hop music to be exact. All of it: from Lil Wayne, R. Kelly to Justin Timberlake and TPain. It is part of who I am. I love the soul in music like Keisha Cole and Mary J. Blige and the love in music by Usher, Tank and Marques Houston. I have changed the fact that I listen to the edited version of most of these artists’ albums now, but other than that I still listen to music that moves me. My point is that we are all different, with different tastes and different gifts. We are not all going to like the same music, books or have the same interests. I may be wrong in my taste of music, and maybe one day God will call me to leave it behind and listen to some Georgian Chant, I don’t know, but for now, it is what I listen to when I want to feel my heart beat with the love I have being alive. Just be who you are and let God tell you what to work on and which way to go. Don’t base your decisions on what others think of you. This is very hard for me and usually ends up with me being at the point of #4 where many people dislike me. It is not easy for me to feel like people don’t like me. I want people to like me, to get me, and to understand me, but that is not always possible. The fact is that no matter where you are most of the people around you don’t like you. It keeps me humble. I don’t like it, but it does keep me humble. One thing that does make me feel better is that the best saints were outcasts who were disliked by a lot of people. But I will tell you this: the only thing worse than having people not like you is being someone you aren’t and not liking yourself because of it. I’ve done that; it’s not worth it.

6. I don’t like this number and don’t want to end on it, soooo yeah.

7. No matter what, God loves you

It will be hard. It will be a fight and there will be times when you feel like you don’t belong in this Church. That is a given. Don’t give up though. Seek God’s Will in everything, because behind everything is His will for you. He allows everything to teach us something. Our job is to figure it out. A priest just told me to remember that this is a marathon not a 10 yard dash. I need to remember that because I often burn myself out by wanting to do everything at once. I exhaust myself and that is the perfect opening for Sparky to attack me. I am not Catholic because everyone is so sweet and nice here. I’m not Catholic because it’s a cool club to belong to. I’m Catholic because Jesus is here. This is His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and who am I to turn from that because it’s a little hard sometimes? When I feel like doing that I just go and read John Chapter 6 and hear the Apostle’s words “Where shall we go Lord? You have the words of everlasting life.” The greatest advice I can give anyone is that when it seems too hard to stay and easy to leave is to read that line over and over.

There is so much that I can add to this list. The ups and downs of the last four years since I began RCIA have been the highest high and the lowest low. I have stared at my wall and wondered why people are so cruel and then I remember what they did to Jesus. Nothing that I endure compares to the Passion of my Lord. He is all that I love. He is all that matters to me, so out of love for Him, I will love others, even when they fail. He loves me when I fail.

I saw a Facebook group called “The Catholic Church Sucks”, and I can honestly say that “yeah, we do.” Because we are human and fallen, but none of that changes what the Truth is. The Truth is that Jesus knew that. He ordained Judas knowing what Judas was going to do. He made Peter our first Pope, knowing that Peter was going to deny Him. And He knew that we would fail Him and each other. He died for us anyway. He calls us anyway. He holds out His hand to us to walk with us and to help us be better than ourselves. Thank God for that.

Categories
Ink Slingers Leticia

He Is That Into You

So right before my life in Amarillo crashed and burned 5 1/2 years ago I read this book called “He’s Just not that Into You” and it really was a good book but I didn’t really get how to change. Now as I sit here watching the movie I realize that I’ve changed all those things about me that attracted the kind of men who wanted to use me and ended being  married to a man who loves me. I found all the answers in the writings of the Saints of the Catholic Church, especially Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. It’s so sad that so many people are walking around seeking love while rejecting God, or accept the little god who doesn’t expect anything but you to believe he exists, but not the God who IS Love who wants us to make the changes with His help that makes us perfect as He in Heaven is perfect. That is what Jesus told us. I don’t know why He made such a dramatic entrance in my life, but I do know that it took me giving Him everything in my life. I had to give up control.

382144_10200114233006468_2105317500_n

Control comes from fear. Every place in our life that we insist on controlling is because we fear something. Birth control; we fear babies, and really if you really get down to the root problem of people who use it the fear is of self-sacrifice. Just pay attention to the words that we say: We can’t afford another baby. Babies are expensive. Yada yada yada. All of it comes down to “We don’t want to live in a small 3 bedroom house with 7 kids and crappy cars. Sometimes we can really justify it by saying that we are considering the “best” for the kids we bring into the world, but do our kids need the “best”? Or do they just need the essentials and isn’t it true that Jesus told us that if we have faith that God will provide all those things?  Kids don’t “need” game systems, or cable or even dance lessons. Plenty of people since the beginning of time have all survived not having those things. And while I’m at it, I’ll say that this is where the “contraceptive mentality” comes from. So, when I’m not rolling my eyes at the things that pro-aborts and pro-contraception people are saying, I’m rolling my eyes at the NFPers who hate the words “contraceptive mentality”  are saying. I’ve heard the word “Providentialist” thrown around like some insult. If by “Providentialist” you mean that some people think that God is smarter than them and more capable than them to provide what they need, then I don’t really see that as a bad thing. In fact, I think that He calls us all to that kind of faith. I have nothing but respect for people who use NFP, but I also have respect for people who don’t. I do not think one set is better than the other. We are all in the same boat of trying to live our faith as best we can, and we ALL have issues that need conversion. Conversion is a life long process.

There are so many other areas where we control out of fear. Gun control, health control, and many others. Yes, we should do our best to have a civil society and to be healthy, but when we care more about all of that than God, then we have put it in a place that it does not belong. It is a balance of what we do and what we accept that God does. That is the key to the Christian life, and it is not easy.

There is a great temptation to use others also. Or to throw others under a bus when it means that we will suffer. Fear of suffering. That is another great fear isn’t it? The talk about the fiscal cliff where everyone is trying to throw those they consider “rich” under the bus so that the rest of us don’t suffer. The Utilitarian philosophy is running rampant all around us. How can we use others to make us happy which means no suffering? That is what people think happiness is; not suffering. That isn’t the example that Jesus gave us. He suffered so that we could LIVE. Eternity with Him in Heaven is really happiness.

Back to my point about this movie. It’s stupid. The idea that men only get married because they are forced to, is such BS. Maybe in the secular world that is true, but if it is it is because people don’t really understand what marriage is anymore. Love has no place in marriage anymore, that is why people can “go their separate ways”  when things don’t work out. And the reason is because we want to control our happiness. So when the butterflies go away, because they always do in a relationship that is maturing, we think we aren’t “happy” and we can’t have that. Happy highs, that is what everyone is after in the secular world. If we aren’t “happy” then we have to MAKE ourselves “happy”.  Nobody ever stops to ask “What is happiness?”.  All the people who I know that have asked that question and have truly sought the truth about the answer to that question has ended up at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. Because Jesus is that into us.

In the end, that is the key to happiness: Jesus. Jesus is the key to everything. He came down from Heaven and became a Baby in the womb of Mary, and born in a manger for you. Why? Because He loves you. He created you. He wants to be in a relationship with you. He died to saved you. But He will never impose Himself on you. He will always wait for an invitation. I handed Him my life and I have never looked back. (Well I have a few times when I thought maybe I wasn’t really happy and had to take back my life to be happy, but that didn’t work and I turned back to Him. That is another blog post. LOL) Jesus is my Beloved, He is my friend, and my God. And because of that; I am finally happy.

flat,550x550,075,f

Categories
Current Events Faith Formation Ink Slingers Leticia Prayer Spiritual Growth Uncategorized

Face Evil with Love

Like many other people I watched the events in Newtown unfold on the news and social media last Friday. At first I heard there was a school shooting but that a teacher was shot in the foot and was being treated. While that was sad, I thought that was the end of the story. Hours later the rest of it came out and the news that 20 children and 8 adults were dead hit me like a kick in the gut.

In 1992 I was in the hallway of my high school coming in from a pep rally when a fight broke out. A student at the end of the hallway lifted up a gun and began shooting. I saw him, saw his gun; I heard the shots and the screams from the other kids running away from him. All I could do was stand there in shock. I had been around guns my whole life living in a small town in South Texas where hunting is what people do. But never had I seen anyone try to shoot someone else. My boyfriend at the time saved my life by throwing me into a locker. When the shots stopped I went into a classroom close by and watched some of my friends run out after the guy. I remember looking out the window praying that nobody was dead. Luckily for us, nobody was. Thank God. There were a few injured people, but nothing like the events that happened years later at Columbine or like what happened on Friday.

The evening after our school shooting there was a parent meeting at the school about what had happened, and that is when my life of activism started. I made my first speech that night. The school was proposing to put up a fence around the school since my school was known to be in the “bad side of town”, and other things. My argument was that the issue wasn’t guns, gangs, or security. The issue in my 15 year old opinion was broken homes. People growing up not feeling the love of a family, because in my side of town there were hardly any kids that didn’t come from a broken home of some kind. My first reaction was not to be angry, but to think about why someone would do something like this and how can we help them.

I have always wanted to help people. I have no idea why, but it’s true. When I was little I wanted to be a lawyer to help people. Then a nurse, then I became a mother at 16 and I wanted to help other teen moms. I am pretty sure my first marriage was an act of wanting to help my ex-husband. He felt nobody was on his side, so to show him that I was on his side, I married him. What is that thing inside us that makes us want to help others? It is God.  We are made in His Image and so we can’t help but want to help the broken, the lost, the mentally ill, the homeless, and the abandoned child. It is part of who we are as humans. We might be able to ignore it most of the time, but when something like the shootings in Newtown happen we all just want to help, we want to love.

Yesterday at Mass our priest said that we are called by God to face evil with love. He talked about the example of martyrs who went to their death singing and praising God for His Goodness in the face of evil. Jesus prayed for His killers as He died a slow and painful death on the Cross. Why? Because He knows Who Love is. He gave us an example of how to suffer: that is to pray for those who are persecuting us. I fail to do that. I fail to face evil with love. I face evil with anger, hate and soapboxes.

For example my first thought about the man who killed those children on Friday was not a very holy thought. Then I started seeing people saying they hope he burns in hell, or that there is a special place in hell for him and other things. That is not love. God is more than capable of judging his soul and the souls of all those who died in that school. It is not our job to do it.  Many people, good Catholics and other Christians are all saying 26 people died on Friday. They are not counting the shooter in that number or in their prayers. Most people aren’t even counting his mother in that number, and she was also a victim. Adam Lanza was a human, he was a life, he was a child of God, Jesus died for him too and it is our duty to pray for the repose of his soul as well as for the souls of everyone else lost that day and every day.

Another place where I fail to face evil with love is when I see President Obama on TV. Even as he is doing his job as the leader of this country I have snarky comment after snarky comment going through my head. I fail to see that I can, and do, disagree with his ideology, politics, policies and pro-choice ideas without forgetting that he is a human being. Love the sinner; hate the sin does include President Obama.

As we move on from this tragedy and pray for all of those affected by it let us try to keep in mind that we need to face evil with Love. The Love of Jesus; the Love that put Himself on a Cross to die so that we may live.

Let us honor the memory of those children and those adults by being kind to those around us, even the ones who we don’t agree with. Because in the end we will not be judged on how many debates we won on Facebook, but on how we loved our neighbor.