Archive for April, 2011

A Cause For a Better World

There are many causes in the world today that we can become involved with if we desire to help contribute to a better world.

While many of them are important, I believe that there is one cause which is the most important cause and which we can all be involved with, right from our own homes. Every day, without ceasing.

  • That is the cause of promoting, understanding, and embracing the inherent sanctity of human life.

I am not referring to pro-life causes, although they are immensely important and I highly support them. What I am referring to runs even deeper than this, for it lays at the root of such atrocities and all the injustices committed in the world today.

I will explain.

A hungry child eats what can be found in the streets. Would this exist if every human being had a radical belief in the sacredness of life?

Suffering Humanity

When we look at the world around us, it would be hard to deny that humanity is struggling. Billions of years on this planet and we still cannot get it right – the hungry continue to go hungry, the homeless remain shivering at night, the unborn endlessly face threat of extinction, wars rage, people fight, and humanity continues its long drama through time on the spinning globe that we call earth.

Given the endless inability for human beings to live in peace with themselves, their neighbors, the world at large, and the environment that sustains them, I think it would be fair to say that there is something inside of humanity that is malfunctioning. In Catholicism we call it “original sin,” and we look back with nostalgia to the peace and joy that Adam and Eve shared before the fall.

Regardless of what we call it, however, this “malfunction” inside each human person causes our view of life and everything around us to be slightly inaccurate, to say the very least.

We struggle with the questions of:

  • who we are
  • where we are going
  • is there a God
  • is there not a God
  • what religion is right
  • what political system is correct
  • how do we handle our nosey mother-in-law
  • what do we do when we feel like punching the jerk who cut us off in line and then flipped us off

The list is long and varied. But always in the end it comes down to the fact that human beings do not have all the answers all the time.

We are human. We make mistakes. We fall down. We get back up. We try again. We fall down again. Some of us hide our falls better than others so some of us look down on others, a failure in itself towards humanity and ourselves.

As life passes, we pick up wounds, scars, hurts and fears. We build walls, gather ammunition, learn what moves keep us out of trouble and what moves put us into trouble. We side step, duck, and maneuver our way through this thing called life the best that we can. Hopefully, if life is kind, we live to a  nice old age and our scars fade with time, leaving us generally more ok than not.

This is life. Messy and unpredictable.

Shattered Understandings

With our inherent “malfunction” that every human being shares, it is more than easy for the vast majority of people living on the planet to forget and even deny that life is sacred.

Childhood passes quickly, more so for some than others, and the realities that confront us drain every vestige of purity until many become jaded, bitter, or at the very least can only see life as a random episode of atoms colliding through the universe until death comes to claim them.

With such a viewpoint, is it any wonder that our world continues to be filled to overflowing with suffering, wars, enemies, little cruelties and big cruelties, all perpetuated by human kind? How can we understand the travesty of human suffering, of cruelty of every kind, if we cannot view any trespass upon human life, however slight, as a violation of something we hold most sacred to our hearts?

Yet we know how to behave towards the sacred if needed. For example, enter any devout place of worship, particularly a Jewish synagogue where the Torah is kept above the altar, or a Catholic Church where the Eucharist is preserved, and watch how the truly faithful behave. If they really believe in their religion, thy will show great reverence. Anyone who attempts to violate would be dealt with harshly. The sacred is seen, recognized, and treasured.

But how do we treat ourselves, and how do we behave towards others? Do we treat ourselves with great value, and approach others with humility and respect? I think we all know the answer to that question, and it shows how we view or own lives and the lives of others.

Humanity continues to struggle and suffer because humanity has not yet fully comprehended the sacredness of human life.

This is why the cause of promoting the sacredness of human life could not be more important.

An Urgent Cause

It could not be more urgent to help ourselves and every human being come to the realization that each human life, even their own, is inherently and deeply sacred.

  • If we understood this, truly understood it, then our next step would be to seek out and destroy any element within our own selves that seeks to violate this sacredness.

In Catholicism, we call this sin and refer to the struggle to purify ourselves of it.

But regardless of the terminology used, if one day people recognized, “my body, my life, my soul, my mind – everything is more sacred than I can begin to comprehend and I need to do all I can to annihilate anything within me that would violate this sacredness,” we would be on the right track towards such a purification of the human condition.

This is the only hope for humanity. With such a revelation, and such a determination, what would happen to greed, lust, anger, war, poverty, homelessness, hatred, anger, etc.? It would be radically driven out. We would learn to treasure our own lives as well as the person next to us, regardless of if we like them or not. We would learn to love them for the sacred treasure that they contain – life.

Would this stop the suffering related to sickness, cold, terrible natural disasters, etc.? Probably not. But a humanity so convinced of the sacredness of life and the desire to shun anything that would violate such sacredness, could pass through the greatest trials without permitting any anger, resentment, or bitterness to seep in.

It would be a humanity that had reached the level of a Saint Francis, for example, or a Christ. One that could continue to love and repulse every negative emotion, thought, or action even through the greatest of trials. One that could love through suffering and come out the other end completely unscathed.

Perfect Joy Throughout Humanity – The Aim and Goal

But this is not the humanity that most are seeking. Most people today want the humanity of comforts, pleasures, and perfection all around them. They want to rule out any unpleasantness that could come their way.

Unfortunately, they are contributing to a world of even greater suffering and barely recognize it, for they are promoting a world where joy depends on what happens to us, and not who we are and how we view our lives.

I will leave them with the revelation of perfect joy as disclosed by Saint Francis of Assisi, for while they can take their pills, inject their Botox, and grow their bank accounts until the grave comes calling, perfect joy can only be found within, when all that seeks to violate the sacredness of human life is purged.

This is perfect joy, as revealed by Saint Francis of Assisi:

If…we shall arrive…all drenched with rain and trembling with cold, all covered with mud and exhausted from hunger; if, when we knock at the convent-gate, the porter should come angrily and ask us who we are; if, after we have told him, “We are two of the brethren”, he should answer angrily, “What ye say is not the truth; ye are but two impostors going about to deceive the world, and take away the alms of the poor; begone I say”; if then he refuse to open to us, and leave us outside, exposed to the snow and rain, suffering from cold and hunger till nightfall – then, if we accept such injustice, such cruelty and such contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, believing with humility and charity that the porter really knows us, and that it is God who maketh him to speak thus against us, write down, O Brother Leo, that this is perfect joy.

And if we knock again, and the porter come out in anger to drive us away with oaths and blows, as if we were vile impostors, saying, “Begone, miserable robbers! to the hospital, for here you shall neither eat nor sleep!” – and if we accept all this with patience, with joy, and with charity, O Brother Leo, write that this indeed is perfect joy.

And if, urged by cold and hunger, we knock again, calling to the porter and entreating him with many tears to open to us and give us shelter, for the love of God, and if he come out more angry than before, exclaiming, “These are but importunate rascals, I will deal with them as they deserve”; and taking a knotted stick, he seize us by the hood, throwing us on the ground, rolling us in the snow, and shall beat and wound us with the knots in the stick – if we bear all these injuries with patience and joy, thinking of the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, which we would share out of love for him, write, O Brother Leo, that here, finally, is perfect joy.”


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