1) Dark (Imma blaming that on my theology lecturer. There are soo many examples of dark humor in the bible, ie in the book genesis , I mean come on, a talking snake?)
2) Goofy ( I like lame jokes example: what did sushi A say to sushi B? wasabi?)
Grade awarded: C-
I could have done soo much better, but then again, it was written over a couple of days, not several weeks like you're supposed to. LOl :P I would be interested in your thoughts, please comment. Until next time.. Ave Maria!
Topic: Dying for the faith – the witness of martyrs.
Required reading: Oscar Romero. The Violence of Love, translated by James R. Brockman sj. Farmington PA: Plough Publishing House, 2007.
Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart. “Irene McCormack: material submitted to Martyrology Commission 2001”, Western Australian Province. Accessed 10 May 2010, http://www.sosj.org.au/about/western_au
This essay seeks to explore the witness until death of the martyrs using the modern day examples of Irene McCormack and Oscar Romero. It is based on the two articles The Violence of Love, a foreword to the writings of Oscar Romero by Henri Nouwen, and Irene McCormack: Material submitted to Martyrology Commission 2001. The stories of and reasons for McCormack’s and Romero’s deaths and how they relate to the term “preferential option for the poor” will be explored. Also, Nouwen’s explanation of Christ’s message through Oscar Romero’s writings will be explained. Lastly, the relevance of Oscar Romero and Irene McCormack’s martyrdom to our Western Australian experience shall be given.
Throughout the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the word martyr has been given certain meanings. For example, in the New Testament, it was first used to describe the disciples of Jesus who had seen him, and those who would make his message known to others. It is for this reason that a clear, contempory definition of the term martyr is needed. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the following succinct definition:
Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness until death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude.
Summary of Oscar Romero’s life
Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador from 1977 until his assassination in 1980. His weekly sermons, broadcast via radio, “called for an end to violence during the seemingly endless civil war”, and an end to the shootings of those who spoke out against the military’s brutal suppression of the poor.
Nouwen’s Understanding of Christ’s Message
Throughout Nouwen’s foreward to The Violence of Love, he tells how Romero’s writings have effected him and provided him with an understanding of Christ’s message. To him, Romero is a humble, empathetic friend, who shares his struggles and difficulties. Nouwen understands that Romero calls all people to service, and to act for “the salvation of the whole world.” Romero offers up his life, and lays down his wounds. As Nouwen encounters Romero’s humble yet confident spirit, he is able to follow Christ’s message. He strongly believes that the appropriate response to reading the words of Romero consists of a “true conversion in the hearts of all people”, and “action for peace and justice.’ Nouwen feels called to live out the message of Christ’s love that Romero preaches.
Summary of Irene McCormack’s Life
Irene McCormack was born during 1938 in Western Australia, and “entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1956. ” “She was missioned to Peru in 1986.” In 1991, armed bands of terrorists entered the town of Huasahuasi, where she was living at the time. They accused her of giving out ‘American food’-the Caritas provisions and spreading American ideology by providing books for school children. The people’s cries that she was Australian, not American, remained unheard, and she was shot in the back of the head.
Reasons for Oscar Romero’s martyrdom
From the 1970s, “political unrest began to grow in a serious and widespread way” in El Salvador. “The poor were found in the midst of the conflict. ” Death squads began to emerge. ”The people who had the courage to actively fight the injustice formed a group called the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN).” Civil war began in El Salvador around the year 1980. From the army’s point of view, it was waged on a ‘search and destroy’ basis whilst the FMLN fought a revolutionary type movement. “The Catholic bishops kept silent and chose not to intervene. ”
Oscar Romero, however, did not hesitate to speak the truth, and “always spoke it with compassion for those in need. ’ He “consistently pleaded with the government to obey orders to stop killing innocent civilians. ” He strived to achieve justice and equality for all, especially for the oppressed people of El Salvador. He once said:
Let us not be afraid to be left alone if it’s for the sake of truth. Let’s be afraid to be demagogues, coveting people’s sham flattery. If we don’t tell them the truth, we commit the worst sin: betraying the truth and betraying the people.
Reasons for Irene McCormack’s martyrdom
Irene McCormack had an incredible faith in God that sustained her and gave her the courage to never give up. She had a great determination and knowledge that it was truly God’s will for her to remain in Huasahuasi.
As they had taken up their calling to the religious vocation, Irene McCormack and Oscar Romero developed a deep affinity for the people whom they were serving. The love of Christ spurred them on to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of others.
Preferential Option for the poor
“The preferential option for the poor constitutes a part of following Jesus that gives ultimate meaning to human existence. ” The poor reveal the glory of God; their struggle for freedom from affliction locates the reign of God in the human story. Oscar Romero saw the face of Christ crucified in the poor. This is indicated in his words:
The face of Christ is among the sacks and the baskets of the farm worker; the face of Christ is among those who are tortured and mistreated in the prisons; the face of Christ is dying of hunger in the children who have nothing to eat; the face of Christ is in the poor who ask the church for their voice to be heard.
He identified with the poor, empathised with them, heard their cries, and did all that he could do to deliver them from their woes. He “suffered with them, trusted them and rejoiced with them. ” But above all, he believed that it was God’s will for them to be happy.
Oscar Romero and Irene McCormack lived and died as authentic Christians who laid down their lives for the poor. Their behaviour was guided by their preferential option for the poor.
The Western Australian Experience
Although they encountered great violence, challenges and hardships, the martyrdom of Irene McCormack and Oscar Romero can still provide us, the people of Western Australia, with a model of how to proclaim the message of Christ. We can either choose to be passive or silent, and let the opportunities that we are given in our daily lives to witness to Christ pass us by. Or, like Irene McCormack and Oscar Romero, we can learn to love Christ, and choose to link arms in faith with other Christians, and bring about justice and peace for those in need. We are all called to become “saints of the new millennium”, and to witness to the whole world the message of Christ’s unconditional love .
This paper has attempted to explore the witness of the martyrs by using the contemporary examples of Oscar Romero and Irene McCormack. Several different points have been made. A summary of their lives and the reasons for their martyrdom have been given. In describing Oscar Romero’s story in The Violence of Love, Henri Nouwen has been lead to a deeper understanding of Christ’s message by encountering Romero’s humble and welcoming spirit. Their relevance to the preferential option for the poor and the Western Australian experience has been shown. Their example of witnessing to Christ can be applied to our lives today.
We are not meant to be alone. We were created to be in communion with others.
We were created to be a gift of self to others. This is the only way to reach fulfilment. There is no Oprah episode or book from Dymocks that we need to buy.
Marriage= a gift to our husband/wife. Religious Life= being a gift to the whole world.
Eve was NOT created to be a doormat. She was created for herself.
Past hurts stop us from being the gift of self TODAY. When we have pain from the past, we can have inappropriate habits or responses to situations. There may be memories that pop up when we least expect it. Our real needs and gift of self is distorted, we can waste our life.
Woman’s purpose in life is revealed through her WOMB and her BREASTS.
We are all called to motherhood. There are two kinds of mother hood.
(1) Spiritual motherhood, when we pray for a person in need. We are all called to this.
(2) Physical motherhood. This is perfectly modelled in Mary. We physically receive a gift (the gift of life during sex) from men.
-Feeding and nurturing to the people entrusted to us. Woman have sensitivity to the human person, this is very much needed in society.
*There needs to be an emphasis on the dignity of the human person in ALL facets of life.
If you don’t let people love you, then you will have no love to give.
Unless we are first loved, we cannot give love to others.
This blog was created to share my personal experiences, as a young person striving to be holy in this secular age. By reading this LJ I hope that you will come to see how Christ is working miracles in my life. I hope that this will inspire you to know Christ also.
I cannot provide you with advice, or extensive knowledge of the Catholic faith. But what I can humbly offer are my prayers and thoughts.
Surrendering to the original artist.
Deuteronomy 6:4 “Israel, remember this! The Lord-and the Lord alone-is our God.”
-Don’t try and deal with everything at once. Make a conscious decision about who to follow.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.”
You can become a new creation when you hand yourself over to God.
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside you old self, which gets corrupted by following illusionary desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of truth.”
Steps to following God.
1) Recognising that we can’t manage the battle on our own- we need Christ.
Addictions are a blessing; they are a daily reminder that we need God.
Your only answer is in Christ.
Until you open your heart to Christ, you won’t be satisfied.
2) Taking time out to speak to the original artist.
Remove yourself from stressful situations.
Prayer is the sustenance of your soul- Saint John of the Cross
3) Know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Do not be conformed by this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2).
We must become totally versed in scripture. It needs to become part of our thinking!
“Conscious is the most secret core and sanctuary of man. There he is alone with God whose voice …”
The interior voice is echoed with….
-God’s divine nature
-Church teaching about the dignity of the human person.
We need to clear out everything that is not of God.
God has already forgiven us and paid the price. Fill your conscious with what is good.
Don’t expect to become a saint or a theologian overnight! You will make mistakes.
4) Live out the truth with perseverance
-You can only fly if you’re free….
We have to be ready to let go of our mask.
-He who does what is true comes to the light (John 3:21).
-Be sustained by the sacraments. They are a necessity, not a luxury.
-Some people live off compliments and kind words from others, they cannot sustain you.
You need to make a firm and resolute decision to use your free will.
Make a decision to do the opposite of your bad habits.
If you start doing virtuous acts, it will transform you.
This message is for everyone.
If you do not respond to His call, it is a result of your rejection of Him, not His rejection of you.
There are no excuses, you have a saviour.
There’s a sense that we are called to greatness.
-There’s something sacred about the human person.
What holds us back?
- Adam and Eve’s sin- the fall. In that sin, man preferred himself to God; it was a sin of pride.
- That first sin is passed on; we have an inclination to do what is wrong.
Effects of Original Sin
1) “Constant Hotbed of Resistance against the spirit”
Feeling powerless to overcome weakness- fear of failure.
2) Our relationship with God has been broken/injured.
We forget that we belong to Him. E.g. Atheism. (Don’t judge atheists, they need to experience God through you).
Insecurity-fear of rejection.
3) We are not sure who we are, where we’re going.
Doubt of our own dignity, meaning of our existence.
*Nobody can convince you of your dignity except God, the one who created you. Not your boyfriend/girlfriend, family, friends, ect. *
How do we react?
Attempt to restore the damage. We experience shame.
Shame is “the experience of fear for myself in the face of the other.” Example: Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves after they sinned.
Those who have no shame (E.g. Streakers) don’t recognize the threat or their value.
The problem with pornography is that it shows too little. You don’t see enough. A person is reduced down to their body parts. –Pope John Paul II (paraphrase).
We have one of three choices.
1) To make our own mask.
2) To let others dictate who we become.
3) To let the original artist slowly reveal his masterpiece by chiselling away at all that’s covering and hiding it. To listen to the Holy Spirit within you. God does not make junk! He invites us to come towards Him, we have free will. You were created to become a gift…
Letting others dictate who we are…i.e. Following the crowd.
We give control of who we are over to them.
We admire people who act freely. “Dance like nobody’s watching. Love like you’ve never been hurt.”
Each day when we hand over our control, we allow ourselves to become a doormat or used.
-We need to recognize our tendency to follow crowds.
Take some time and write down…
What stops you from loving?
What do I need to do, to look like or be in order to feel beautiful or be special?
What do you do to get attention and affirmation?
What do I need to do to be accepted and loved by others?
|Living in a bubble means internal trouble.|
-There’s only so long that your mask can be put up.
The problem of talking about love.
Love has become a ‘nothing’ word because of language impoverishment. E.g. “I love pizza.” “I love my wife.”
The problem- we are surrounded by major problems e.g. Divorce in Australia, 43% of all marriages will end in divorce.
The promise-“Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourself as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters.” Pope Benedict XVI
John 10:10-“The thief comes only to kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”
The pathway- to trust in God.
Jeremiah 29:11 – “I know the plans I have in mind for you-it is the Lord who speaks-plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you.”
Step 1) Understand what you are so that you can understand what you are capable of.
Are you the kind of person who is capable of loving?
The Trinity · Perfect Union. · You are made in the image of God. · The opposite of love is to be used-JP2.
· Perfect Union.
· You are made in the image of God.
· The opposite of love is to be used-JP2.
Understand what you are: you are made in the image of the trinity.
“The Trinitarian concept of the image of God...perhaps in the deepest aspects of what one can say about man.” Pope John Paul II.
“Man becomes an image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion.” – (John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, 9:3.)
To say that you are made in the image and likeness of God means that.... Man is called to exist for others, to become a gift.
You are capable of love because of what you are.
Step 2) You actually have to know what love is.
Is love just a feeling? It is now time to be spiritually mature.
To love is to will the good of the other.
“It is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself, one must also, and above all, long for that person’s good.” (83) Love and Responsibility, Pope John Paul II.
If you learn to love this way, you will be happier in life.
Step 3) Know what love costs.
It’s not easy, genuine human love will be costly.
“When Christ calls a human person he bids them to come and die.”- Dietrich Bonheoffer.
Prepare yourself for sacrifice.
Example: Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
Killing is never a solution to misery.
If physician assisted euthanasia is legalised, it will be impossible to hold boundaries. It makes euthanasia acceptable.
The option of effective palliative care makes euthanasia unnecessary.
What must we do to educate the public?
-Change people’s hearts.
-Educate members of parliament.
Is it a hopeless task? If we cannot change our politician’s hearts, then we must throw them out!
We have to try and encourage people of conviction to enter politics.
The Manhattan Declaration: a call of Christian Conscience.
Choose Life Australia
There are certain messages we believe because we have been hurt.
E.g. “I’m fat.”, “I’m not tall enough.”, “I’m too thin.”
Our biggest competitor can sometimes be ourselves.
The real cost of the wound are the promises that we make to ourselves.
E.g “I’m never being open to that person again.”
You can’t move on or be healed until you acknowledge that you have been hurt and stop making promises to yourself.
There are certain expressions of our woundedness. For example:
-Closing off from other people.
-Business, having to be kept busy all the time.
Have a think about which ones you do...
We need to allow those experiences to let us to grow and become closer to God.
Forgive those who have hurt you. It’s a choice, an act of the will. Forgiveness is not a feeling. Choosing not to forgive others puts hooks on your heart.
People who bring on your wounds are wounded themselves.
The Feminine Genius/Feminine Dignity
There are great examples of female saints.
Edith Stein (martyr)
They are woman of strength and virtue. They are empowered to show and empathise their womanhood.
Men and woman are made differently to image God.
Adoration: Christ is truly present. It is to gaze upon the Eucharist.
Modesty: Am I dressing for the good of others?
Ask a guy: what makes a woman beautiful?
God calls out to us: “You are my beloved on you my favor rests.”
We all long for: God, fullness of love, complete truth.
We can only look for something that we have, to some degree, already found or once experienced.
We were intimately loved before our parents, teachers, friends loved (or wounded) us.
Before anyone was close to us, or said that they loved us, God was there.
-What stops us from claiming this love?
· Feeling that love has to be earned. God’s love for us is free.
· Doubt: would people still love me if they truly knew me?
God loves us intimately with all our imperfections.
We have been ‘chosen’ by God.
How do we nurture God’s love?
· Don’t listen to the world.
· Look for people and places where truth is spoken.
We don’t need to fix ourselves in order for God to love us.