Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Patience With God

Patience with God is a book written by a Czech writer Tomas Halik. In the Catholic Peace Weekly, a columnist read the book on the recommendation of a friend and gives us her understanding of the book's theme: absence of God in the lives of many Christians and atheists and the authors desire to be of help.

In the introduction to the book that author tells his readers of the takeover of the country in 1948 by the Communists. Religion was suppressed and he left the country and was ordained a priest. (He was brought up in in a secular environment and was a convert in his twenties) He was ordained a priest in 1970 and returned to the Czech Nation working in the underground church. In 1989 the Velvet Revolution brought an end to Communist rule and the rise of the Czech Nation and parliamentary government.

He returned to teaching and writing. One day he was invited to deliver a brief meditation to parliament.  After the Velvet Revolution, the joy of freedom was enjoyed only briefly by the citizens, they were afraid of crowds. In the presence of so many choices, the citizens were puzzled and confused. Many problems and complications began to appear. Everything was now open to choice. Citizens began to have headaches, missing the black and white world to which they were accustomed. 

In the mission he has taken upon himself, he uses the story of Zaccheus in the Gospel of Luke chapter 10:1-10. After the fall of Communism the Christians went out to the streets and realized that many applauded them, some not so positively, but they didn't notice all the Zacchaeuses who didn't associate with the old or new believers but were not indifferent or hostile to them. They were seekers who wanted to remain at a distance.  

Jesus called Zacchaeus by name which gave him the confidence to leave the fig tree. Jesus surprised him in willing to stay at his house. There is no evidence  Zacchaeus joined his band of followers but he did change his life. The church has not been able to address the Zacchaeuses of the world in this manner. It is only those who understand the Zacchaeuses and can call them by name that we will see a change in the world we live in.

Fr. Tomas feels that he understands the Zacchaeuses of the world. They are not in his mind feeling superior. Things are not that simple. It is more the result of shyness. They did not choose their place on the margins of society many of them know their own shortcomings and the difficulties on their life's journey. 

Zacchaeus was open to hearing the voice of Jesus and responded. He was willing to change his life.The priest sees the Zacchaeuses of this world who are between the two fortified camps of assured fundamentalist believers and self-assured atheists. Life is filled with questions and doubts but Christians have an understanding of faith and the one to whom faith relates. They are not afraid of doubts and questions. For these doubts and questions can lead us on to a deeper and maturer faith.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bringing Good Out of the Bad

The political situation in Korea has received a great deal of public interest and one of the articles in the Catholic Peace Weekly shows how everything can be enlightening and for growth in spirit and intellect. We have something similar but different, in the Christian Scriptures with 'Happy Fault' and 'all things work together for the good'.

A Bodhisattva in Buddhism is one who has achieved Nirvana or Buddha-hood but postpones the state to do good and help others in this world of trials. A Reverse Bodhisattva  (逆行菩薩) is a person who by his wrong actions helps the beholder to reflect on these wrong actions to act in a contrary fashion because of the crudeness experienced. He becomes a person for whom we show gratitude. The wrong actions are a strong lesson on what not to do. 

The phrase (國政 壟斷) (state monopoly) is used to describe the present upside down turn of events in society. The phrase comes from the Confucian tradition where a merchant goes up a mountain where he can see all that is happening in the market below and buys what is missing and begins to sell the products at a high price: using the disadvantage of others to make a killing for himself. This was seen happening in the political situation with the supporting and starring characters.

Another phrase used is (他山之石) (his mountain stone) which is taking a stone of little use from a mountain to polish the jade you possess. A person's hurtful and useless words and actions can be used to enhance your own knowledge and virtue. Everything can be used as a lesson to live virtuously.

(反面敎師) (Negative teacher), can be understood as similar to the above. We learn to do the opposite of what is spoken because our consciences tell us what is to be done: opposite to what is being taught.

(三人行必有我師)  (When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers) You learn from the virtues and to avoid the vices of the companions with whom you walk.

The writer reminds us of the situation in society and it is not always clear who are the supporting players or those who have the starring roles, but they are all on the stage influencing the citizens. In a democracy, the actions we have seen have reminded the citizens how important it is to think deep and long before casting a vote. Big Busines has taught us the influence they have on society is not always for the best.

Doesn't the recent situation also show us how important solidarity is in running a good government? Efforts to get rid of our apathy is the first step in achieving an honest society, consequently, mature citizens seek something beyond their own comfort and personal needs.

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Someone Has Written These Beautiful Words"

In a bulletin for priests, the writer has taken: "Someone has written these beautiful words" and translated them into Korean for the readers. They have been on the internet for some time but they are well worth the reading and meditating if they were missed. 

Must read and try to understand the deep meaning of it. They are like the ten commandments to follow in life all the time.

1) Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel"  that directs the right path throughout. 

2) A Car's Windshield is so large and the Rear view Mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So Look Ahead and Move on.  

3) Friendship is like a Book. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write. 

4) All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either. 

5) Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamonds! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold! 

6) Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end."

7) When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS  abilities: when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8) A blind person asked St. Anthony: Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision!"

9) When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy remember that someone has prayed for you.

10) WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's PEACE.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Asking Fish to Climb a Tree

The number of school-age children is over 6 million. A few years ago it was 7 million. A drop that is readily seen. 

We live in a world in which the young are rare. Even without concern for this fact, the reality of our schools is lamentable. Writing in a diocesan bulletin a priest working in alternative education reminds the readers of the educational programs of our schools. 

Statistics from four years ago showed that from 4 to 5 percent of the school-aged students are not in school for one reason or another. Half of those attending school are not interested in what is offered or unable to adjust to the teaching environment.

He doesn't know how much has changed in the meantime but in his estimation, it is much the same. We have a high-ranking 10% who are doing well, and another 10% who follow but the other 80% he compares to students lost in a labyrinth and does not believe he is exaggerating. All preparing for entrance into a university although there are many other  possibilities, the system does not permit it.

A world-famous futurist sees the educational system in Korea still preparing the student for the industrial age. Students are spending 15 hours in classrooms and in academies preparing for jobs that will not be around. This, he considers a waste of time. He compares the system to trying to teach fish how to climb trees. There is a need to examine our educational programs and what the students are preparing for in the future. 

Our smartphones compared to the telephones of a hundred years ago are different; the automobile is different from the horse and cart of a hundred years ago. Why hasn't the classroom changed? 

The reason many of the students are not able to adapt to the classroom is not the student's fault. Education is forgetting the students and their needs and forcing them to adapt to a system that prepared for a reality no longer present. 

Education is not to prepare for examinations but to help the students think and open their minds to possibilities. Creativity is an important component of education. Information is plentiful and the classroom is not the only place information is found. With the internet, it is there for the asking. The need to prepare students for the competitive world we live in requires creativity. 

He concludes his article with the thought that our Sunday School programs also need to be examined.  Parents and students are not the only ones at fault but we need to see the new reality in which the students live and prepare them for it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What Kind of Persons will be Born Among us This Year?

A parish priest writing in  Bible & Life magazine, begins with the sad reflection that none of the signers of the Proclamation of Korean Independence from Japan, during the Japanese Colonial rule, were Catholic. The only Catholic freedom fighter he knew as a child was An Jung-geun. Hearing all about the Protestants and their large number of freedom fighters, left him with sadness and embarrassment.

Both Protestants and Catholics were followers of Jesus but we had different positions on the way we looked on independence from Japan. Why did we see the love of country and Jesus so differently? What made for the division?

The writer admits that he is simplifying the issue but not beyond reason. In the South, Catholicism was spreading and in the North, Protestants were doing well. We had Catholics in the North and Protestants in the South but Catholicism seemed to find it easier in the South. Catholics were more at home with the elite while the Protestants with the commoners and their concerns.

North Korea was the center of the Goguryeo Kingdom and when it collapsed after a thousand years they were alienated from power, resentment increased because of the continual enjoyment of power by the elite in the South. 

Even though you have the same seed when it is planted in a different soil the taste and texture of the fruit will be different. At the time of Jesus, we see the same reality. Those born and raised in the North, the Galilee area of Israel, were far removed from Jerusalem and the elite of the South and close contact and influence of the Romans. The South were content not to rock the boat and enjoy what they had.

Similar was the situation in Korea. The South were willing to accept the Status Quo while those in the North, like the Galileans of Israel, wanted freedom. Protestants in the North were forming freedom fighters to fight the oppression and exploitation of Japan. Up until liberation of the country, Catholics as a group did not fight against oppression and lived peacefully with the colonial rule.

They remembered the martyrs of the past and not willing to fight for their country. The Church during this time did not give any formal witnessing in desiring liberation.They were not involved in the March 1st  Movement also called Sam-il. One of the first displays of resistance to Japanese rule.

This all changed as we know with the end of the Korean War. He concludes the article with the hope: "freedom and concern for the weak in society will always have a place among us."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Blind Men and the Elephant (群盲撫象)

We are all familiar with the fable: the Blind Men and the Elephant from the Buddhist religious tradition of India. The king calls a group of blind men and asks them to examine an elephant and tell him what it is. A diocesan bulletin gives us the story and the writer's meditation.

Each blind person gives their thoughts on the section of the elephant they touch. Touching the ivory tusk one blind man imagined a large turnip, another felt the trunk, like a pestle, the tail was a rope, the legs like pillars, the belly was a wall. Shakyamuni (Buddha) tells his disciples they are like these blind men with their lack of understanding. They all have only a partial understanding of who the Buddha is.

In the same way, we Christians are only accepting a part of the God we worship. We believe in a Trinity but each of us with our different environments and individual personalities experiences God's grace  differently. One person experiences God as revealed in nature, another in his love showed to us in Jesus, another in the Holy Spirit working in our souls. God comes to us in many different ways.

Korea is made up of those who come from different Providences of the country but we are all Koreans. We all value experiencing God in different ways. Consequently, we don't want to disparage the way others experience God. If we combine all the opinions of the blind men we come to a truer synthesis of  elephant.

The elephant fable has much to teach us in the way we see God. Under the banner of Church, Jesus gives us the community of faith with its many understandings of the mystery of God. 

By the working of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is working thru us in our daily life. No matter what our position  in the community of faith, the level of our knowledge, we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus, disciples, and members of his body, and active subjects of his Gospel.

We can with this fable stress the relativity of what each one experiences as if this is the essence of what the fable wants to say, forgetting that the elephant was always present and much bigger than what each one imagined. Each was limited by their experience of the elephant but it doesn't mean the elephant wasn't there. Objective truth is there and we with the help of others, speaking and interrelating with others within the church and society come to a greater understanding of the God we believe in and who continues to work in us and through us.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Automation and the Future

World Future Society was the topic of an article in the Kyeongyang magazine by an educator with experience as a teacher and counselor. She lists the occupations that may not be existent in 2050 according to the World Future Society.

Classrooms and teachers will give way to supercomputers and smart systems. On-line programs will be available to all. 80% of the present occupations will disappear with the appearance of robots. Languages will disappear. We have over 6,000 languages at present.The expertise of translating will be so advanced that there will be no need to learn a language and the three languages with the greatest number of speakers will be the important languages.

The number of doctors will decrease with the use of technology that will allow examination from a distance. Paper will decrease with the appearance of eBooks. With the availability of technology like Google Glass, we will be communicating with the computer in a hands-free format.

She mentions students knowledge of English has improved greatly. Thanks to on-line Google's translation programs and correspondence with international friends met on Social Media, students have no fear in communicating with friends in different cultures or fearful of traveling overseas.

She mentions students have a wide variety of possible occupations they aspire to, while parents are limited to the ones they see as safe and lucrative and make for an easy life.

However, many of these professions will not continue to have the numbers as in the past. More important is how will I wish to live in the future. Some of those who have studied the situation see occupations demanding sensitivity and emotional maturity continuing to exist. Artists, therapists, and counselors will be around.

How do parents prepare their children for this new age? Students need to prepare to do what they want to do and not what the parents would like. Success and money are not what the goal should be.

There have been countries that have experimented with guaranteed income for those who will not find   jobs. In 2016 the Swiss turned down by vote a monthly salary of $2,555  for every adult but that will probably be the direction society will be headed.

The writer concludes the future is not to determine the kind of occupation according to income. The future will be automated and the need is to find happiness and to follow one's dreams: searching for what will satisfy. She concludes her article by asking parents are they preparing their children for non-existent occupations? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Old Missioners Returning Home.

Both Catholic weeklies had articles and even an editorial on two Maryknollers who will be leaving for the States in March. Father Gerald Farrell 93, and Fr, Joseph Slaby 84, who have spent over a half a century in Korea.

Sadness is present, they expressed to the interviewer, but they were led by the Spirit at the same age to come to Korea with joy in their hearts and they leave with joy.They have no misgivings on their new calling. This will be their new life in the States. They have no pictures to show of their life.They have tried to live in the present and not look back with lingering attachment to the past. They both worked to deepen their own spiritual life and those with whom they worked.

Many are the similarities of the two missioners. They both came to Korea at the age of 33. Both were delayed vocations. Fr. Farrell started off as a medical officer in the Navy and Fr. Slaby was an engineer. They both entered Maryknoll with the opposition of their fathers. Fr. Slaby's father was Protestant and found the son's decision hard to accept. Both had difficulty in the study of Korean they told the interviewer.

Father Farrell joined the navy as a medical officer after graduation from medical school. During this time he made his decision to be a missioner. He had a bright future but decided to leave it all which was a big blow to his father. He mentions how difficult it was even to mention his decision to his father. The father hearing about his son's plans refused even to speak to him. This changed the day before ordination.

Father Slaby worked as an engineer after college and had the same problem with his father who was a Protestant. He mentioned the most difficult part of the missionary life was language as did Fr. Farrell. Fr.Slaby, also mentions to the interviewer some difficulty with scrupulosity with which he had to struggle and worked hard to live thoroughly the life of a priest and missioner. He spent a year at the Angelicum in Rome studying spirituality,.

Both where involved in the Charismatic movement from the beginning. Fr. Farrell was one of the leaders of the Charismatic movement in Korea when the whole idea seemed Protestant and many priests not happy with the movement. They were also instrumental in introducing the Eucharistic Adoration Movement to Korea. In 1978 they began the Marian Priestly Group, meeting  every two months for the study of the spiritual life.

The editorial mentions how the two missioners considered their time in Korea a grace and gift. The work of the missioners in Korea have done much to make the Korean Church the envy of many other nations. In conclusion the editorial hopes with the growth of the Church and the blessings of large numbers of clergy being ordained each year they will like the two old missioners consider going to other countries as a grace and gift.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

In Face of Death Some Run

When we think about the history of the Church in Korea we remember the many martyrs but at the same time many were those who wanted to live and turned against the community of faith.

After Chu Mun-mo, James (1752-1801) the Chinese priest entered Korea, the Masses were attended with great fervor. However, those who reported the Masses and gave the names of those in attendance to the authorities were also Catholics. The numbers of those who turned against the Church were as large as those who died as Martyrs.

An article in Catholic Digest taken from lectures of a professor reminds us of the sadness during the  many years of persecution and the large number of those that turned against the community of faith. The writer mentions how in his own life he reflects on what he does and wonders whether it is a martyr's choice or a renegade's act. When he speaks and acts, is it building up or dividing the community?

One of the Catholics who because of the rites controversy fell away; reported to the authorities the whereabouts of the priest. The Christians were quick to hide him. In order to give the priest time to escape the leader of the Catholics put on the priest's clothes to give time for the priest to escape. He was tortured, suffered but never gave in and finally killed.

Many of the Catholics gave their lives to save the priest. Kang Wan-suk, Columba, was a member of the noble class and the authorities were not allowed to search her house and that is where he was hidden for 6 years. Many are the stories retold about Columba and her work as a catechist. 

The priest during this time was hearing about the deaths of many of the Catholics because of his presence  and he decided to return to China. He had only to cross over the Yalu River to live. It was at this time that he began to think deeply on what was transpiring in Korea. The Catholics were given their lives for the priest and he was returning home. He returned to his Christians and gave himself up to the authorities.

This part of the story was written by the French Missioner Fr. Dallet, using the written material left by his compatriot, the martyred bishop Antoine Daveluy. He called this the Korean 'Quo Vadis'  (Where are you going?) section of the history. (The story of St. Peter who was leaving Rome to escape the persecution and was met by Jesus on the Road asking him Quo Vadis? And returns to Rome and death).

Father reported to the authorities that he was the Father Chu they were looking for and was killed on April 19, 1801, the first priest who died as a martyr in Korea.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Education for the Family

In the Kyeongyang magazine, an article by a layman who has worked for 16 years with the diocesan family pastoral committee tells the readers what he has learned.

He mentions a documentary he saw about a priest who was sent to a poor country in Africa. He wondered what would Jesus do in his situation.  Would he build a school or a church? It's not what I need but what the others' need that is an act of love.

The writer has the same question about family life. What would Jesus do to help families? We all know the difficulties families are facing in our society. The relationship of husband and wife, the axis on which the family rests is shaking. Children consequently are affected negatively. Alienation comes with age, economic difficulties continue to exist, courting, marriage and having children are renounced; all are part of the reason that Korea has one of the lowest marriage and birth rates in the world. 

What would Jesus do? He believes it would be programs for the families. How do families need to communicate? How to solve the problems they meet? How are scars inflicted and healed? How does one  convey to another what he feels inside? How to listen to another person? He feels these questions are important and need answers.

We know what Jesus is asking of us but just repeating this we know is useless. Important as it is to know what Jesus wants us to do, we need something concrete to experience. Persons have to be prepared to listen to the words they hear.

Programs for families, the engaged, for fathers are some of the possibilities. He has seen the good that programs of this type have done. He desires to see the family as a church and the church as a family. They need to be seen as one. Jesus came to us in a family and we need to work to make the family into a church.

"The most Beautiful thing that God made, the Bible says, was the family. He created man and woman, and He gave them everything. He gave them the world! Grow, multiply, cultivate the earth, make it produce, make it grow. He presented to a family all of the love that God has in Himself, all of the beauty that God has in Himself, all of the truth that God has in Himself, He gives to the family. And a family is truly a family when it is able to open its arms and receive all of this love" (Pope Francis).

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pharisees and Sadducees--Liberal vs Conservative

Why are we Christians? Theologians have written books on this question. A professor in the Catholic Medical School writes an article in the Catholic Times asking himself, in these dizzy times, the same question, embarrassed that he doesn't live in imitation of Jesus.

What does it mean to live like a Christian? The first question in the old catechism was: "Why did God make me? God made me to know, love and serve him in this life and be happy with him in the next." This expresses succinctly why we are Christians.  We know our origins and needs and what is necessary to  accomplish them: to live in the way we are made is to live a fully human life.

Our life as a Christian is to be fully human. This is realized within the community of faith, the church. Those on a journey in search of this completeness are Christians. Jesus has told us he is the way, the truth, and life (Jn. 14:6). We know what we have to do. Each is called in their own particular way for the journey.

The journey is not without trials and difficulties. Often going against the stream of the times. Jesus showed us the way in his own life.  

What are we to do? We are called to build up God's kingdom, but in working to realize God's justice we have opposing understandings within the community of faith. Not a strange reality for we have seen this repeated in history from the beginning. Even in Jesus' time, we had two opposing groups who were against Jesus: Pharisees and Sadducees.  

Sadducees were happy with the status quo and were willing to go along with the political power of the times. They didn't want to rock the boat they would be considered conservatives, while the Pharisees were interested in the life to come and in following the law as they knew it, and not happy with the situation of society and wanted change, they were the liberals.
Today we can see these two schools of thought within our society. Liberals and Conservatives talking past each other, similar to what we have in the church, more ideologues than Christians. 

We need to see what the church considers important and what the church is saying. When the pastoral workers are silent we are faced with confusion. When we go against the truth we are fighting against the kingdom. We need a balance between the things of the world and our work in building up God's kingdom. Is God's justice being formed within the world? We need to look deeply into our roles as Christians and  we will find our way.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Using The Internet Pastorally

Smartphone use is now a fixed reality of life. Consequently, pastoral work among the young is a challenge and efforts are made to understand and adapt to the present situation. Not really surprising is the refusal of some of the Sunday school students to go on retreat or camp because they can't take their smartphone with them.

Young people from the time they are born, learn to relate easily to the digital culture and have a preference for instant gratification for the wonders of the digital experience. With the smartphone in their hand, they can quickly enter the SNS world. However, with the use of the digital media, their attention spans continue to decrease. Instead of using words to express feelings they use emoticons. They feel at home with animated cartoons (webtoons) which last less than 10 minutes.

The Catholic Peace Weekly in an article tells the readers how far the pastoral work has progressed in using the digital media for work with the young. Mentioned are the efforts in some of the dioceses and parishes to use cyberspace.

One parish in Seoul found the children busy taking a religious internet quiz and checking the results. Other examples were listed on how the parishes have tried to get the interest of the children. Seoul began in 2015 working with the internet to instruct the children. They have used digital platforms and Korean KaKao Talk (Korean free mobile instant messaging application for smartphones with free text and call features). Since 2013 Taegu has been using Podcasting for instructions and was successful.

Some of the teachers have expressed the opinion that we lag behind the Protestants in these efforts. We don't have the capability at present to take advantage of the opportunities available. There are many programs that are now available but one of the teachers mentions that we need programs for the young people, that are attractive.

Young people in Korea 10-19  use the smartphone about  4.8 hours a day and 2.7 hours they are frequenting SNS. Middle school children use it the most with 4.9. 73.8 % use it for contacts with others, 53.6% for information, 30.1% for pleasure and to relieve stress,  and 20.1 % out of habit.

About 3 out of 10 young people are in danger of becoming addicted. The numbers of those who are addicted increase each year. Middle school students are the highest with about 36.3% in danger of addiction. Those who use the smartphone for pleasure and to relieve stress or habit are in the most danger. 

Some fear that too much will be invested in developing our approach to the internet and although necessary they are hoping we will not forget that the best type of education comes from the 'hands on type of learning' where the students reflect on what they are learning with programs and in relationships.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Understanding Others

The Question Box of the Catholic Peace Weekly answers a reader who had a problem understanding his pastor. The priest was recently assigned to the parish. At first, the parishioners were happy to see how devoted he was to prayer. Saying the rosary on his walks, unlike the previous pastor who related easily with the parishioners but wasn't publicly that devoted to prayer.

However, the new pastor was critical of the parishioners and would repeat that he had never done anything that embarrassed him in his actions. The atmosphere of the parish became cold and the pastor a difficult person to approach.

The columnist answers that he understands well the reader's concern over the parish situation. When you have someone saying they have never done anything wrong making a judgment is not easy. However, expressing himself in that way is in itself a shortcoming in the personality: seeming to show a weak understanding of sin.

When we do something sinful we should know about the wrongness of the act. In this case, we are dealing, probably, with a priest who prays but with a narcissistic personality, one with a saint complex or Pharisee complex.

Pharisees, with great confidence, considered themselves chosen. They were different from those who didn't keep the law. God had a special love for them. They also did not have the experience of living like the poor and experiencing their difficulties, which made them oblivious of their plight. They had no idea of what living in poverty meant. With this very narrow vision, they were unable to make a sound judgment about others. They also may have had mental difficulties.

It is not always easy to distinguish between psychological problems and serious mental health problems but when a person is attacking and imputing guilt of others continually and sees no problems in his own actions then it is not inappropriate to think that you are not relating to a mentally healthy person. Is this not the reason Jesus warned us to be wary of the influence of the Pharisees?

A normal Christian is one who has a normal sense of shame and understanding of guilt. When others are in difficulty and we do not help and are able to help and feel shame this is normal. When we see others doing something sinful we also see the possibility of our sinning and refrain from condemning unreasonably, we are acting like people of faith.

When our sense of guilt is exaggerated we may be dealing with psychological problems but a proper sense of guilt is part of our human condition and helps us understand the faults of others. So before we condemn others, we feel sadness for the person and ask for God's forgiveness. Shame makes us more human and understanding of others.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

No Reason For Living!

Life is the first gift received and we spend the rest of our lives thanking God or at least we should. "I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works" (Ps. 139:14).

Sadly many are the  reasons we fail to see this preciousness and in Korea much of society is concerned because of the large number who have lost the reason for living and die by their own hands. Society knows the cost this has on many families. Programs, education and many efforts are expended to decrease the number of suicides within the country.

In the Catholic Peace Weekly a religious sister who is the director of a suicide prevention program writes an article on what to do when persons don't find a reasons for living. How do we help those who are thinking of suicide? Am I able to help those who are contemplating suicide?

These are the kinds of questions that she hears often in her work. Suicide is the worst possible result of a problem that has many and varied reasons. However, there are ways to prevent this from happening she makes clear. There is a unique counter measure for  the problem.

When we discover signs of this possibility we need to take action and use what we learned with Gatekeeper Training for Suicide prevention and get involved. However much learned, it is of little value if we don't apply it.

In the situation of those who are thinking of suicide among the many different emotions they have one that is similar in all cases: a feeling of hopelessness. They have not found a reason for living. Not that there is no meaning for living but they have not found it. When a person has a reason for living he is able to overcome all difficulties.

When a person has lost all reason for living,  paradoxically, they are in position to find a reason for living. In the situation they are in they don't have the strength to do this and the reason they need someone to help them. That is where we need to enter and help them to find reasons for living.

Suicide is a choice and in Korea we continue to find ways to help those whose pain either physical, emotional or mental is so severe that nothing makes any sense and they choose death. The family suffers and all those who knew the person suffer so in life we need to be more concerned in making every person we meet our eternal responsibility. In every thing we say and do, to show not only the  preciousness of our own life but the lives of all those we meet.