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
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.
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.
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