Praying for others in hopes they change for God
A note from the section editor: This article includes themes that could be seen as discriminatory and prejudiced against certain identities, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially the transgender community, as well as certain religious backgrounds. Freedom of speech is essential, and freedom of opinion — especially in this section — is important. That being said, this article does not represent the views of The Spectrum nor of the editorial staff.
I was a custodian at the Cathedral of St. Mary this summer when the statue of Jesus Christ was desecrated with black paint. My first reaction was one of anger, then curiosity, then finally of pity for the person who defaced it.
I was raised a Roman Catholic attending St. Mary’s Cathedral all my life. Therefore, I abdicate that I have a fair amount of information on Christianity to explain its main teaching and “the method behind the madness.”
What is Christianity? Christianity is defined as a major religion stemming from the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Yeah, duh. What does it teach?
Catholicism teaches we must love one another, love ourselves and most importantly love the omnipotent being responsible for creating the world and everything in it: God. The prime enemy of God and ourselves is Satan; God’s highest archangel who turned his back on God believing God’s next creation, humans, to be too worthless a race to serve and protect.
As a Catholic I must follow rules God has placed for us in the Ten Commandments bestowed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Each commandment constitutes to foregoing our own selfishness and caring for others.
The reward in the end is an eternity of peace and joy in God’s kingdom of Heaven. The punishment is an eternity of punishment and torment in Satan’s kingdom — Hell. If you knew all this already, I hope I haven’t bored you. If not, at least you have an idea of what Catholicism involves.
Christianity as a whole in this society is commonly referred to as a religion which does not practice what it preaches; hating everyone it disagrees with including other religions, atheists, homosexual people, transsexual people, pro-choice people and of course, Satanists. Nothing can be farther from the truth. We love them.
It is because we love them that we pray relentlessly to God to help them to transform their lives turning away from their current perspectives. But God does not force a change within them; they must choose it for themselves. It is the only way they can be helped in the way we believe they need to be; if and only if, they surrender themselves to the will and commands of God.
Let me explain how Christians see the world from my personal experience. Christianity teaches against attacking blindly without reason. You heard me correctly: we may not support the life decisions others make, but we do not hate them for it; those of us that do so are rebelling against the faith we believe. There is a world of difference between “not support” and “hate.”
As Christians we are taught and are expected to love one another, especially the ones we may not understand. When we are hated, we must love in return. That includes loving homosexuals, transsexuals, atheists, pro-choice supporters and even Satanists.
We do not support their obvious life decisions but support them finding meaning. We believe meaning can only be accomplished through acceptance of spiritual need, not personal want.
For example, we need food and water to survive. We need connectivity and good relationships between others to live. We need to know our limits, gifts and capabilities. Most importantly, we need to love others we do not understand, and that can only be accomplished through a relationship and continued search for understanding of God.
It is not our duty to preach fire and brimstone upon the heads of sinners, or mock and tease them. Our duty is to promote mercy, hope and redemption.
Returning to the Jesus statue being denigrated, all I can say now is that I believe it was an outburst of pent-up hatred for what the statue stood for. The reported offender, Blair Whitten, had attacked it before, once placing a red wig upon it and painting the spotlights red so Jesus would appear in a ghastly red illumination at night. I know this for a fact because I cleaned off the lights using a butter-knife due to the paint’s heavy application.
I have no hatred towards the offender, only pity. I have no idea what atrocities happened in her life nor what decisions led to this attack upon a symbol of my faith, but I have learned to forgive her. I forgive her because it would be against my faith, religious upbringing, personal morals and the teachings of Jesus if I did not.
I cannot speak for the minds of every Christian, but I can speak for myself as one. My role thereof is to respect and pray for those who think I would judge them. It is my duty not only as a Catholic, but as a human being. Thank you for your time.