Religiophobia ?

Have you noticed how some attitudes and behaviours ending in ‘ism’ are being strongly challenged these days ?

Racism, sexism, classism, and ageism are obvious evils in any society.

Even people with no faith in God are in agreement that such ‘isms’ cause much human suffering.

God has additional ‘isms’ that he finds offensive, including materialism, hedonism, atheism, and secularism.

A word ending in ‘ism’ describes a pattern of thinking.

We are all aware too, that discrimination exists on the basis of religion, and such bias, globally, is growing.

While there is currently no word ending in ‘ism’ to describe prejudice on the basis of religious faith, the closest word we have to describe this condition is ‘religiophobia’.

Have you ever experienced religious discrimination ?

I have. As a Catholic Christian, I have definitely encountered prejudice and bias.

I have also witnessed the discrimination faced by a physician friend, a colleague of my husband, whose faith involves wearing a turban.

Religious freedom is our right in North America, and one that we should not take for granted.

May God give us the grace to identify religiophobia for the societal ill that it is, and may we speak up whenever we encounter it.

May He allow us to work together, to maintain the dignity of all people. God asks us to love our neighbour as ourself.

Anti-Aging ?

Do you agree that the term ‘anti-aging’ should no longer be used?

This term implies that aging is something shameful, and should be hidden, denied, and feared !

Some organizations are definitely in agreement, including the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) , which suggested banning the term ‘anti-aging’, in 2018, in the United Kingdom.

‘Allure Magazine’, an American publication, banned the use of this phrase in 2017.

We need to stop using this term, so that young people will stop being afraid of growing older.

In God’s plan, physical strength belongs to the young, but spiritual strength belongs to the old, if they have spent their younger years following God.

Of course, this is not always the case, since some young people, who love and obey God already show amazing spiritual maturity.

I enjoy reading the wise thoughts of readers of all ages on WordPress.

Let us thank God for the gift of each day.

Life, in obedience to God, is a blessing, at any age.

The Rock

Who can resist the look of a hungry pet ?

Scott, our ‘pet’ Seagull, has come to visit us every Spring and Summer morning since 2017. He is always up before me, waiting on the back rocks with great patience, as he anticipates a morning treat. This morning, June 29, looking at the rocks, I am reminded that today is the day of special remembrance, or, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Numerous images of rocks appear throughout the Bible.

David, in the Psalms, reminds us often, that the Lord is our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer.

Through tumultuous times, and in every season of testing, our faith stands, solid as a rock.

We will not fear, neither will we be disturbed by turmoil in the world. As we stay focused on Christ, the rock of our salvation, he continues to grant us the peace that passes all understanding.

Today I’ve been meditating on Matthew 16, where the disciple ‘Simon’ recognizes Christ as the Messiah.

At this point, Jesus changes his name to ‘Petros’ (Peter), meaning rock, and announces that he will build his Church on this rock.

Jesus says that nothing will prevail against his church, for she, with all her imperfections, is his Bride.

These are turbulent times, but we have full confidence that, as the Lord promised to Peter, the church, the Body of Christ will endure.

We, members of the church, the Body of Christ, continue to strengthen and encourage each other, having learned, through experience, that the Lord is always faithful to his promises.

Scott’s faithful patience this morning was rewarded with bits of cod fish, leftovers from last night’s dinner, prepared by my husband, R.J, who is an excellent chef.

No Witnesses

Do you notice how we feel less stressed when we are out in nature?

God placed our first parents in a garden.

Pink flowers, commonly called ‘Sea Thrift’, are now blooming in my garden. They are also called: ‘Mary’s Cushion’, or ‘Our Lady’s Cushion’.

According to Christian Legend, these flowers bloomed during the treacherous journey that Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus undertook when they were fleeing the rage of wicked King Herod, on their flight to Egypt.

The legend tells that these plants grew to provide a soft resting place, or cushion, for Mary and her divine Son.

This is plausible, since these hardy flowers also grow in the Middle East. They thrive in poor soil conditions, and are salt resistant.

However, there were no witnesses to authenticate whether this actually happened. We can imagine though, how God supernaturally blessed and protected the Holy Family when they were migrants on their way to Egypt. We walk by faith, and not by sight.

I enjoy spending time in this area of the garden. I pray for families, and also for migrants. Currently 65 million migrants are fleeing their countries due to war , poverty, and persecution.

God has a special care for all those who need to flee their homelands.

The statue, called : ‘Love’s Bond’, is by Timothy Schmalz.

Late All The Time

Do you know anyone who is late all the time ?

Chronic lateness is a form of Passive-Aggressive behaviour.

A person who demonstrates continual tardy behaviour is telling you that their time is more valuable than yours.

A priest who arrived at our church from another country, ten years ago, was late for every Mass.

For the first five minutes of waiting, we would sit in respectable silence, but then we would start to talk and laugh.

Some people would place bets on how late he would be this time !

And then, there came the time that he did not return at all.

We were given no explanation about where he went, or why he left so suddenly.

His Excellency, the Bishop, felt that we had no need, or right, to know. We were only the laity (people who pay the church’s bills).

May God give us the grace to speak up when something is not right.

May he also, through his kindness, give us the courage to speak the truth and not cover it up.

And, may we pray for the grace to be punctual.

Pictured is our little church, perched overlooking the mighty North Atlantic. It was built in 1842.

Only the Strongest

My neighbours laughed at me!

When we moved here, and I told them I was planning a seaside flower garden, they chuckled and told me that flowers do not survive so close to the sea. The air is too salty, they said.

However, after researching types of flowers, I learned which ones do survive, and even thrive here. Often they are plants with thick waxy leaves. Only the strongest flowering plants will endure the salt spray.

Pictured are Rieger Begonias.

In traditional Catholic thought, these flowers symbolize the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I now spend much time outside, praying, and tending my seaside garden.

It is a Mary garden. No, Catholics of course do not ‘worship’ Mary, but they do honour her, as the woman from Christ drew his humanity.

Here are the words of a famous Protestant Christian that you may be familiar with, concerning Mary:

‘She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honour her enough’.

These are the words of Martin Luther, given at his 1531 Christmas Sermon. He retained his devotion to Mary throughout his whole life.

Paying Attention

Have you ever passed something in your community without paying much attention to it ?

I had passed this strange winged lion statue near my house many times without having much interest in it.

Then, several years ago in Venice, Italy, I saw another statue just like this one ! So I checked out what it meant.

This is a symbol of St. Mark, the Evangelist. His tomb is at the San Marco Basilica in Venice, and he is considered to be the patron saint (protector) of this city.

In 1497, the explorer John Cabot set sail from Venice, and landed in our little community ! Although he was Italian, (Giovanni Caboto) , he was working under the commission of Henry VII, and thus he claimed this part of North America for England.

However, he did not ‘discover’ North America, since there were already indigenous populations living here long before the arrival of European settlers. There is a lobby in our town asking people to stop using the term ‘discovered’, since it is disrespectful to the native people of Newfoundland.

Some local residents are rightly insisting that June 24, 1497 be no longer called ‘Discovery Day’.

Using this term is just a grim reminder of how harshly aboriginal populations were treated by the ‘discoverers’.

May God give us the grace to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and may he grant us the wisdom and courage to speak up against all forms of oppression.

Kids

Do you agree that calling children ‘kids’ is disrespectful to them?

This slang expression crept into our vocabulary in the 1950s, and is now regularly used to refer to young people.

The use of this term is a reminder of the disrespect that has been shown to children throughout history.

During Biblical times, children were considered little more than possessions of their fathers by the Romans.

Jesus elevated the status of children by choosing to enter the world as a baby; he choose to experience childhood. When mothers brought their children to see him, he welcomed them, and he explained that one needs to accept God’s Kingdom as a little child, in order to enter it. The message of Christianity is not complicated.

(Mark 10: 13-16)

In the mid 19th Century , western society began to take responsibility to protect children from abuse, and child protection agencies were founded.

Child labour, and child marriage still occur in some parts of the world, and our efforts to protect and cherish children are ongoing.

Children need and deserve our prayers, our help, and our support.

May God grant us the grace to respect all children. We can do this by not referring to them as ‘kids’

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Old Days

Do you agree that prejudice can sometimes be subtle, or sneaky ?

Here in rural NL, folks display ageist attitudes when they talk about the weather !

On days that are less than perfect, one will hear comments like:

‘It’s a miserable old day’, or, ‘It’s a nasty old day’, or ‘It’s a foggy old day’. (you get the idea)

All less than perfect days are called ‘old’.

However, we also have many beautiful days, but the age of these days is not mentioned. They are just ‘nice days’.

Yesterday was one of those nice days. The ocean was as calm as a pond, and the evening sky was dramatic.

May we ask God for the grace to be able to identify, and speak up against every form of bias or discrimination.

We are all in agreement that prejudice, in any form, is unacceptable to God.

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Orthorexia ?

Even healthy eating can become problematic.

Orthorexia is a term coined by American physician Dr. Stephen Bratman in the 1990s. It describes an unhealthy fixation with eating only ‘healthy’ foods. It is not to be confused with anorexia, an eating disorder focused on severe caloric restriction.

‘Orthos’ is the Greek word for right.

The condition begins as individuals focus on improving their diets for the sake of their well-being. This, of course is an excellent goal.

It becomes problematic, however; when people become obsessed with eating only ‘pure’ foods. People will avoid foods suspected of containing pesticides and additives, or other ingredients such as salt, fat, and refined sugar.

Often, people with orthorexia will eliminate certain food groups completely, thinking that they are not ‘pure’ enough.

Orthorexia is linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In some cases, people can develop nutritional deficiencies , weight loss and weakness.

Social isolation can also result, as individuals may avoid dining with others for fear of being exposed to unhealthy foods.

Orthorexia suffers may become judgemental, and look down on people who eat less healthy foods. (Mac ‘n Cheese, anyone? )

God has created an abundance of foods for our enjoyment.

Let us pray for the grace to be prudent about our diets without developing ‘food fear’.