Aside

small hurts~~ greater good?

 

“Blessed are they that persecuted for the sake of righteousness

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”

Oppression, victimization,mistreatment,abuse,discrimination………. all synonyms for persecution.  Heavy stuff.   Last night while I was at home, after a nice hot bath, clean pj’s, a nice cup of tea,  I settled in to watch the movie “The Help”.   I had read the book a couple of times.  When I read a book, I form images in my mind of what the characters look like, their mannerisms and the setting they are in.  That is one of the joys of reading for me,  but I digress.

As I was watching the movie, there were times when the tears came and I was so convicted.  I came to the realization of how people of “color”  “African Americans”, “black” people were so mistreated and discriminated against, abused, victimized, oppressed all the synonyms for persecution.  It was not that long ago, the 60’s, when this persecution was happening.  The mind set that black PEOPLE were not people at all, but items to “own”. I am sure that the mind set of racism  still goes on, that many people still feel the same way. It makes me sick.

That got me to thinking of all the ways we can persecute.   As a society, we are called to be cohesive and in harmony & peace with each other.  Ideally accepting and loving.    There are many subtle ways we persecute each other.   Can we say that we always feel that all people are created equal.  Do we have a sense of being better than, lets say the man who stands at the intersection with a sign that says… :”will work for food”  are we empathetic to his plight, or do we give a few dollars with the underlying thought that he will probably use the money to buy drugs or alcohol.    I have thought that before, but was convicted by my beliefs that I am not to judge and to give to others without expectation.

All people deserve to live their lives as they will, as long as it does not cause others harm.  It is funny how as I wrote the last sentence, it came to mind that some people choose to cast judgment on others, because they disagree with how they either are or what they believe in. Persecution…..

God made us to be individuals with free will.   I believe that God set out commandments for us to live by.  10 simple rules.  For those who do not believe in God, ~ Atheists have  beliefs that  I am not that familiar with, However,  an article I read in the Huffington Post, about Atheist “churches” that are springing up more and more in the United States.  It states~~They don’t bash believers of God, but want to find a new way to meet like-minded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.  And why not.  Again…. the free will part.   Everyone is entitled to their beliefs….. everyone.  

As I have always told my children, who grew up Catholic on their dads side…. and with me( a recovering Catholic, who believes the tenants of the faith, just not the religiosity and legalism of the Catholic faith)  as they got older,  I encouraged them to find their own beliefs. My oldest son is raising his family in the Catholic faith, church on Sunday, no meat on Fridays during lent, first communion and confession all the legalism of organized religion.   My daughter believes the Buddhist tenants are for her.  My youngest does not attend any church at all. As they were growing up, they attended the Catholic mass with their dad.  When with me, I gave them the choice of going to church or not.  When they went with me, they found a charismatic church that was very different in style of the mass but basically had the same message.

I do not know how I could live my life without my beliefs in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.   I believe with all my heart.    I also believe in free will and choices.   “Christianity” is my belief system.  I go to a church that is non-denominational.  It is a new church.  No building yet, so we meet at the local movie theater.  We have an awesome worship team and a pastor who is in essence very real, down to earth, & practical. I invite friends to attend and a few have and they have really enjoyed it and attended again. 

The point I am trying to make is about the persecution of anyone.  We have all been persecuted in some way.  The judgment of others is a persecution of you.  The person that forces you to believe what they believe is a persecution of the others free will to choose.  As a Christian,  I am called to spread the good news, that Jesus died for me and I will live again after death, if I believe.  I am not an evangelist, I do not hand out tracts to people on the street,  I do not wear a sign saying “Repent the end is near!!”    I do try to live a life that is non judgmental (it is not my job to judge), a life that reflects love, charity, generosity, good will, kindness and open mindedness to others.  To love others as God has loved me.  That is my evangelism to others.

 

Persecution is when someone is  oppresses another, abuses another, mistreats another, discriminates another…….  We are all called to abolish persecution.  ~~be kind one to another.  Respect each other.  Live in harmony with each other.  That is a start.

I believe that at this time and on this earth………….. we will not see persecution abolished  ~~ but in the next life….. those who have been persecuted will get their just reward.   (and theirs is the  kingdom of heaven). 

 

“Be-atitudes” next…..

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 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Now this one I understand~~  I have had much mourning in my life.  I have known many losses and being comforted during my mourning, but most important I have been able to comfort those who mourn, because I have mourned.

This beatitude is not always about the mourning that comes with death, but also the mourning of  dying to yourself.   We are all born with faults, deficiencies, and  defects.  I know that sounds harsh but we are also born with ability to love and care for one another.   As I said in the prior post, we also need to be humble about the excellent traits we have and to know that all this comes from God.

Another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, it is then when we can  realize the poverty of human nature, we can only be left in sorrow  (or mourning). God comforts us and tells us that love can cast out all that is evil.

    All that deals with the mourning of oneself as we try to navigate this current world we live in.

    I have also learned that in my mourning I have been comforted whether it be by the still small voice of God in my spirit telling me how much love can overcome the sadness and emptiness we feel when we mourn the losses in our lives.  The loss of a relationship, the loss of our self esteem, the loss of hope, the loss of faith, the loss of love, the loss of security, the loss of courage, well you get the picture.  We mourn those losses but  if we reach out we  will be comforted.

      Of course the most obvious loss is death of someone we love.   I have had many losses in that area, my parents, 2 brothers (one at 16 and the other at 36~~ tragic and too young for both)  But the most prolific loss I have had is that of my son, Brian.   He died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when he was 2 months old.  Nothing can  repair the part of my heart that died along with my son.  I have been forever be changed.  I also have been able to reach out to those parents who have lost babies to SIDS and take the loss of my son to others who have mourned and I can comfort them.  Because through my  losses I have a better understanding of HOW to comfort those who mourn and in turn I am comforted.

    All the losses in my life through death have caused me to realize that I am not alone in knowing the gut wrenching mourning that can ensue.   I never compare the mourning of others but I am always able to relate to those who mourn.

    This is what this beatitude means to me.  When loss enters my realm of being, when I have the feeling that no one can comfort me, that is when God will place just the right person or revelation to me to know that  I am blessed to be “mourning” the losses because I will be comforted and I will be able to comfort others.

    Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5