Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why Did He Do It?

A religious sister writes in View from the Ark, of the Catholic Times, on  thoughts she had hearing  about the young man who left Korea to join the  Islamic State military forces. Why did he do it? She began to reflect on what the mass media said about his being alone for long periods of time. He dropped out of middle school, stayed home most of the time, and  only conversed with his brother, and had little contact with his parents. 

Here was a young man at an age where dreaming about his future life should have been attractive and shared with others; without consulting anybody, in  contact with the virtual world of the internet, he made his choice to join the Islamic State.

If he had been relating with others and hearing their beautiful dreams would he not have made a different choice? The passage from Genesis 2:18 came to her mind: "It is not good for man to be alone." Pope John Paul II gives an answer why being alone is not a healthy choice: one is not able to realize the fullness of  one's personality.  Relating with  others we get to know who we are, and by loving the other we ourselves become happy. 

In these times there are many who are living like isolated islands. Pope Francis mentions in his Lenten Message: "Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront." We no longer see others as brothers and sisters but as objects. We have become the slaves of fashion, power, money, and even distorted religious thinking. We have emptied our humanity and replaced it with shackles of violence.  

There is always the danger of forgetting God, those who surround us, and the world in which we live. We need to be listening to the weak voices that come to our attention, and be ready to open the doors of our  hearts. It is only then that we will have joy and peace. 

We need to be open to all those who come close to us and make known the mercy of God. We are all members of the  body of Christ. "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy" (I Cor. 12-26).

We have no idea what prompted the young man to join the Islamic State but there are many similar cases where not only the young but people of all ages and cultures decide to leave the known and familiar to join a movement and begin a way of life that is completly opposite to what they had been accostomed. This should make us think deeply and see the possibility  that everything we say or do has ramifications for good or bad that we will never know in this world.                                                     

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