Category Archives: education
I have noticed that when the subject of faith, morals, and truth comes up, many resort to using emotionalism. Christians and non-Christians alike can fall into this method of communication and at times, it can be somewhat be manipulative and lack a solid foundation of reason. It is something I have been guilty of, and as the years have passed I have been working on correcting, though it isn’t easy.
Many will use emotions to justify choices or their moral preferences because it is simply easier to be subject to emotion than to reason. Do we do the same when we are trying to have important conversations with people about the faith? Do we resort to emotion first rather than providing sound information rooted in logic and reason?
I have found in my experience that what may make me feel one way may make someone else feel completely different. This is because our emotions are completely subjective. Emotions are unique to us, and are rooted in our personality. Although emotions can help us in sharing an experience, or perhaps help others relate with what we are saying, emotionalism cannot stand up on its own in a rational dialogue with someone.
When we use emotionalism to try and convey a truth, we may find ourselves frustrated when people do not understand us. We may feel so passionately about something, and then when we seek to explain why, our explanations will inevitably fall short. An emotional response or the way something may or may not make a person feel is not a valid consideration when approaching the truth. I am not saying that we shouldn’t share our experiences, nor am I saying they are completely invalid. I am, however, saying that it should not end there.
Throughout history there have been countless men and women who have had an experience of God in their lives. These encounters with the Lord have helped aid them in their spiritual life and the impact that their experience had has even lead many people to the Church. These people, however, who were effective witnesses in the world, were able to not simply point to an experience but to a reality. St. Peter in his epistle reminds us to “always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).
Let us always seek the truth that goes beyond emotion and to convey that to the world “with gentleness and reverence.”
And He said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. – Luke 12:15
I’m sure that many of us could easily admit that our culture is materialistic. From the time we were children, whether we know it or not, we learned selfish tendencies, and in more than just materialistic ways. We have been taught to look after ourselves first, and while this can be important to keep ourselves healthy (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), unfortunately we often slip into habits of greed and selfishness, sometimes without even realizing it.
The way we interact with people may be selfish. Do we wish to surround ourselves with people that will make us feel good all the time? Do we want to only be surrounded by people that fit a certain criteria? If we surround ourselves with people that must make us feel good all time and never be truly honest or challenge us to grow to be better people, then we are simply being proud. Relationships should be rooted in love, and a desire to lead each other to holiness. If we only have friends because they make us feel good, or they satisfy a need for entertainment, then it should not surprise us if eventually those relationships wither and die.
Although there is beauty in friendship, and there can certainly be good fruits from many of our relationships, the goal should not be our own satisfaction. We certainly need care and love, and it is definitely necessary at times to ask in humility for respect and love from those that claim to love us, but the end result should aim to help the other grow closer to Christ.
Do we often think about others first? When we do things for people, do feel like we need to always be thanked, praised, or paid back? If we are truly acting out of love, then we should not feel the need for all or any of those things. Love does not require a payback, a thank you, or recognition from other people. Of course we should do what we can to thank those who are loving towards us, but when we are bitter when we are not noticed for being loving, then that loving action instantly becomes twisted with our pride. When we love, maybe we should just love expecting nothing at all. We should see the love we give as a reward in itself.
Let temporal things be in the use, eternal things in the desire.” ― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
I am not saying it is not a worthy pursuit to be happy. What I can say, however, is that holiness ultimately trumps an earthly happiness. What should take priority above all things, even our own happiness, is being holy, and seeking to have a good relationship with Christ. There are things in life that require sacrifice. There are things in life that will hurt, and that hurt may go on for a long time. There are things in life that maybe we didn’t plan or even want, but have been given to us to help us to grow strong, and to grow in love.
If when we were children and we were taught in schools to do what made us happy rather than to always do what is right, imagine the chaos our world would be in. If we were taught growing up to love, to do the right thing, even if it meant not getting what we wanted, and to be selfless, we would live in a world where things would be much different. If we each sought actual holiness instead of happiness, I think in turn we will also find happiness. Happiness does not always lead to holiness, but holiness will lead to a joy far greater in heaven.
During this lenten season, we are called to reflect on our relationship with Christ and prepare ourselves for Easter. The Church calls us to fast, to pray, and to give alms. We should hold ourselves accountable for sins of selfishness and greed that may be in the way of having a better relationship with God, and with the people that surround us in our homes, workplaces, and in society in general. Let us seek to live our lives that are holy above all else, that seek simplicity and truth, and that help us to be humble. The things we accumulate in this world will not come with us when we die. If we wish to accumulate something in life, it should be acts of love, and a desire to love selflessly above all else. This is what will yield good fruit, if not in this world, then in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
It takes a lot of things to have a faith-filled, joyful, and growing parish community. It takes a lot of work from the priest(s), the secretarial team, and the whole congregation, especially the volunteers that give their time and talent to ministries such as music and youth group. I have been reflecting often on things I have observed in many parishes that really demonstrate how different they can be from each other. This post is not a guide on how to have a perfect parish, but rather a reflection on qualities that can help keep the fire alive and burning brightly for the love of Christ and His Church. Read the rest of this entry
The battle against the Culture of Death continues here in North America, but in a particular way, here in Canada. As we speak, government officials, activists, and supporters of this culture are trying to force physicians to prescribe birth control, and refer patients for abortion or sterilization as requested. It oppresses those with pro-life values in the field of medicine, regardless of religion. It forces the hand of doctors to either submit to the current trends of so-called “modern day medicine” or give up their careers as life saving doctors that hundreds of people rely on.
Despite what is commonly believed and promoted in our culture, the aforementioned family planning methods are not something that assist in the overall well being of the patient. Ironically, these medical treatments do not heal anything, and in many cases, negatively impact the patient. The birth control pill, for example, has been linked to various cancers. Doctors who refuse to prescribe these medical treatments are doing so to aid the patient, not to impose their religious opinion on them. Essentially, there is an attempt being made to force doctors to do that which they feel is immoral for the sake of the immediate convenience of the patient.
There are many compassionate people who become doctors to save lives, help people stay healthy, and recover from illness. If doctors in Canada are forced to act against what they medically and morally believe to be unethical, many will quit their jobs, so as to avoid compromising their values. If this were to happen, would people say, for example “there goes Dr. Smith. She used to practice medicine in this town, but because she was going to be forced to prescribe the pill, she gave up her job. It’s too bad. If she had just submitted to the wishes of her patients, she would still be practicing medicine.” Becoming a doctor should not require making decisions that are morally wrong and that negatively impact the patient. It is true that there are many people in the medical profession that will deliberately skirt around what they know to be morally right in favor of doing something that will benefit their wallets. If the decision to force doctors to agree to such things against their will is what will force them out of work regardless of the work they do, then what does that say about our society as a whole?
I asked a young woman who going to school to become a doctor about her feelings on the whole situation. She said:
I’m definitely worried. You pour in so much effort into getting into medical school, then even more into getting through medical school. I am hoping to be a family doctor, partly because I’ve heard that is the type of doctor Canada is most in need of. If they change the conscience protection rules for doctors I’ll have to either practice medicine in the US or practice a specialty I don’t really want to practice but which won’t as likely require prescribing birth control. It’s frustrating and seems to be not in Canada’s best interest, since they are in need of doctors and since I hope the type of doctors Canada wants are ones who follow their consciences. History has had so many examples of doctors willing to check their consciences at the door so they can pick up their cheques from the government and those doctors are remembered as the darkest and most evil people to have practiced medicine. It is frustrating that the College of Physicians is even thinking of going in this direction, and if they do I will be forced out of practicing family medicine in Canada.
The reality is that this bill will hurt everyone! If these changes are made, doctors who still want to keep their practice will either submit, quit, or leave the country. We need to consider, how many doctors will we lose this way, especially when we are already losing doctors to other countries that will pay them a higher wage? If every doctor left their practice because of the demands of society to rob them of their freedom of conscience, our country would have less doctors, and we all know we need our valued physicians, especially family doctors.
We live in a country that claims to allow freedom of religion, but this freedom is in danger of being lost. A physician should be free to make clear to their patients, prior to their admittance, the services they will not provide due to moral and ethical reasons. They should also not be forced to make a referral to another doctor for these services, for the same reasons. In our society, we are told that we can speak freely, love freely, and do as we please, but as soon as we speak the truth, we are told to keep it to ourselves. These double standards need to stop. As Catholics, we need to pray for and encourage these establishments with pro-life and Christian doctors, technicians, pharmacists, nurses, etc. to stand strong during this challenging time. We pray that they will be able to continue to follow their conscience in order that they can practice medicine in a way that truly upholds the dignity of the human person.
Immaculate heart of Mary, Pray for us
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Please stay tuned for the second installment on this topic of freedom of conscience by Julie, coming this Friday.
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