She gave us this piece of advice to never be afraid of speaking up, mostly about our faith. You do have to admit, the world is sub-par on being kind to Catholics these days. It is hard to not be just my religion, but all religions. She felt it was a necessary right to give us this advice to help us in our daily lives, as we went into the college world and eventually into the real world. Boy, was she as right as ever!
She gave us this advice to never settle in being made fun of, in any aspect of our lives. She wanted us to never settle on the knowledge that we have, to always want to learn more. She wanted us to also always speak up for what is right, and to speak up for justice, and against injustice, in our lives, and in the lives of others.
"Never Settling" is very hard. It might sound easy, but it isn't. It is hard to want to stand up for something you believe in. A famous quote by an unknown person, is to, "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone." This is the hardest thing to do, especially in college. It is hard to want to be involved in your faith, as so many outside forces are constantly trying to make you give in to peer pressure and to concede on your morals, ideas, and faith.
Your professors aren't always on the same page as you, some aren't even in the same book, and some aren't even in the same library as you!
It is not like how it used to be at my old high school, Kellenberg Memorial, where all of the two-hundred-odd teachers were Catholic, most went to and graduated from the school itself, and were involved in the 'Kellenberg Bubble of Faith', as we called it. A place where you were able to live your faith out, without a fear of being made fun of, or being discriminated against. A place that was described, among other things, as a "Beautiful Place to Grow." It truly was all of these things.
But, it is truly a shame what college is like in this regard today. We are expected to grow and to learn, but how can we do that when some, if not most professors, are prohibiting our freedom's of speech, and our freedom to express his or her own religion. I'm pretty sure that there is a pretty famous document in our country, that allows me to say what I want to say about my religion, whenever and wherever I want to say it. Again, in another entry in this blog, I draw similarities to the famous Henry Ford quote, "You can have any color of car you want, as long as it is Black." You can have whatever views you want in my class, as long as it doesn't interfere with my class, my teachings, and my views.
One of my professors is an Atheist, that used to be Catholic, and she makes sure that every time we have a discussion on faith, or religious matters, that she always brings up my faith, and also my friends faith in Catholicism as well. She singles us out, and tries to make us feel small, and make us feel that we should give up our roots that we have planted in our faith. That we should be embarrassed to be Catholics, as she embarrasses herself honestly, in front of the class. Some have conceded, just for the sake of having to get a grade out of her. They have told me, that in their opinion, it is worth it to just to sit there, say what she wants to hear, get the grades, then leave, rather than try to win a never-ending and un-winable war with her.
Are these people cowards? Absolutely not! They are just afraid, and they should be. It is a very scary thing to have to do! To be forced to give up your faith, or else! That is one step away from martyrdom for crying out loud!!
It could be so easy for me to just throw away the over thirty-six thousand dollars my parents have spent on my high school tuition alone on my faith. Coupled with the almost fifteen grand that it cost for me to go through Catholic elementary and middle school, at Sacred Heart, I would be throwing away over fifty thousand dollars that my parents worked so hard for, to spend on my education, because they felt it was the best thing to do for me.
But it is not about the money. Rather, it is about the faith itself. It is about the countless hours of being an altar-server. It is about the thousands of masses I've gone to. It is about the almost decade and a half of schooling that I have had. It is about the countless questions I have asked about my faith to all types of priests and scholars. It is about the relationship that I have worked hard to achieve with my religion. It is about the person that I think that I am inside. That is what I would sacrifice, to concede to her views. I would have to sacrifice my inner self! Everything that I am. Gone.
For the sake of what? A measly conversation that means nothing to you in the long run of your life. Is that really what you want to throw away your faith for? For a bunch of classmates and a professor that don't give a shit about you?
So whenever she asks me a sny question or angry remark about her former religion, I use this advice, to make it known why this religion it is currently mine, and why I don't throw it away like some piece of garbage out of the window of your car on the Long Island Expressway. I make sure that whatever she is saying wrongly about the faith is corrected immediately, about all topics. I don't do it in an angry tone. I just speak. I make sure that I show her that even though I don't agree with her Atheistic views, I still respect her opinions and views, as long as they don't cross the line between being true, and being blatantly biased and wrong.
Having that respect right there, is the difference maker in having self-control, and not having self-control. Between having love, and not having love. Showing very calmly, that I have respect for her views, puts her lack of respect for mine, under a huge magnifying glass, for the whole class to see.
You're probably saying what did this little speech and tirade have to do with "Never Settling". Well, what it means is I could settle, and maybe not raise my hand to say that I am proud to be a Catholic. It means that I could settle and throw away everything that I ever was in my faith, anything that I am right now, and anything that I ever could or would be in the future, just to impress my professor and a few of my classmates. It means once again that I would have to sell myself short, in who I truly am as a human being!
"Never Settling" means standing up for whats right. Speaking for the people that are too afraid to speak up, for fear of verbal, mental, or physical abuse. It means being who you truly are inside, with no compromise for other people, who truly don't care about you. You should never have to compromise on your faith, NEVER!
Where these words that you would like to follow? Have there been times that you have stood up for what you believed in? Have there been times when you did not? Would you change the times when you did not?
Peace and Love,
Quotes of the Day: "Of all human activities, man's listening to God is the supreme act of his reasoning and will." - Pope Blessed Paul VI
"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Faith without Logic and Reason, is Dead" - St. Augustine