Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 17, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Cosmic prayer is inclusive
In your editorial on "When prayer is not a prayer" (WCR, Dec. 3) perhaps you missed the forest for the trees. When the Canadian military or any public institution wishes to include a prayer service in some type of public assembly, it must be sensitive to the diversity of the cultural mosaic.
That brings with it a need to be inclusive of all, using the opportunity to "honour the religious impulse" in such a way that all present can at least feel included. No one is suggesting that at a Christian gathering the formulas and invocations particular to that tradition cannot be used. Nor at a gathering of Jews would Jewish prayers be excluded, and so forth.
At public events, which include persons of all faiths and perhaps no faith, the call to recognize a spiritual dimension can be served with prayers that are more universal rather than tribal.
All faith traditions have prayer forms which are acceptable to other traditions. God can be addressed as "Creator Spirit" and even the non-religious types can find resonance in such metaphors.
The Toronto Public School Board had a book of prayer which contained suggested prayers from many religious traditions that were inclusive in nature and spoke to the belief that God can be spoken to in as many diverse ways that God surely speaks to humanity.
Why would one group insist on using formulas or rituals which are exclusive when it is participating in a multi-faith reality? Why do some groups persist in the use of exclusive language when they know that such exclusivity is offensive and when there are alternatives which can easily produce a more welcoming ambiance?
When I attend a Catholic Mass I anticipate hearing Catholic prayers. In the synagogue I hear prayers in the Jewish tradition and somehow feel closer to Jesus the Nazarene. At prayers during Ramadan, I expect to hear the Muslim call to prayer.
On Parliament Hill, where my brothers and sisters of all the world are gathered, a call to prayer should reflect the universality of this reality and in doing so maybe we can acknowledge the greatness of this cosmic presence.
To suggest that Canada is moving in the direction of "Soviet bloc communism" because it prefers a more universal approach to prayer is intolerant and counter-productive.
Preparing to meet my Maker
"All that I am, all that I have, all that I'll ever be, I offer now to you."
Words from a hymn expressing the longing of a converted heart for its God in an act of perfect love. To this conversion we are all called by God from birth and for eternity. We are called to holiness, to follow the master to the cross, to death and resurrection.
The cross means a share in his suffering as well as a share in his glory. There can be no share in his glory without a loving share in his suffering.
It seems impossible that this could be so. Did not Jesus suffer on our behalf? But, it is true, the servant is not greater than his master and Jesus said, "Come, follow me."
To understand the honour and the joy of sharing in the suffering of the Lord one must understand that he chastises those for whom he has the greatest love.
Perhaps the transcendence of the sacrifice of Calvary made present in the holy Mass brings us to this realization most properly when the priest says, "Through him, with him, in him, all glory and honour are yours almighty Father, forever and ever."
Yes, through, with and in him we offer ourselves to the Father. We unite ourselves with his perfect sacrifice, and, when the Mass is ended we go out into the world to continue our sacrifice for the glory of God.
This is the royal priesthood of the people, to offer and be offered in sacrifice.
Those who advocate euthanasia have failed to comprehend the sanctity of human life; a created body together with a created soul fashioned in the image and likeness of God.
Considering the body that lies before them, they seek to end its suffering as they would wish to end the suffering of an animal or even themselves should they likewise be afflicted; for they cannot perceive the spirit that lies within nor God whom they have failed to accept.
Should I someday become unable to speak my will, to defend my right to life, as so many are this day, I will tell you what is my greatest desire concerning this.
Consider this. If I can no longer see or hear, and one by one all my senses should fail so that I can only be trapped in a body that only lives, I shall be free and not imprisoned. All that happens to me is offered to God my King forever.
I shall be able to talk to him and be visited and consoled by him and my sacrifice shall be a great joy in the knowledge that I am joined to Christ in his suffering. I shall be offering my last sacrifice.
For the angels envy us in this, that they cannot suffer. I will offer my sacrifice with all the love that I have been granted, and when it is complete, according to his holy will, I will go. All that I am is his, forever.
What is the score in the Holy Land?
As hopeless as the atrocious situation in the Middle East appears, efforts must be made by peace-loving Palestinians and Israeli Jews to avoid (and prevent, if possible) as much gratuitous violence and suffering there as possible.
And, to be certain, there indeed are such peace-desiring Palestinians and Jews.
However, simply blaming Palestinians and dismissing their independence aspirations as "terror/terrorism" is not only counter-productively politically - and emotionally-charged rhetoric - it is also hypocritical.
There are extremist Israeli Jews still alive today who have in the past used anti-Arab terrorism to create and advance the Jewish state.
Tit-for-tat atrocities committed by Israeli and Palestinian extremists are constructive only to those demagogues that harbour hatred for those posing any resistance to their ideological and/or political goals.
Does anyone know the current score there, by the way, after so many years of violence, needless suffering and blood-stained land - the latter which has been changing hands over thousands of years?
Frank Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
Potter indulges occult
I find it unfortunate that Michelle Martin would choose to give the last words in her article to Mary Margaret Keaton ("Harry Potter debate rages on," WCR, Nov. 26). In doing so, she made an effort to blur the issue of witchcraft with that of virtue.
The fact of the matter remains that the character Harry Potter is in training to become is a wizard with all the exposure and practice that is related to such.
As a Christ person we are called to see things not in a blurred pluralistic gray (which the end of Martin's article tries to promote) but as things to be embraced versus things to be rejected.
This grey attitude is growing and it is largely fueled in society by Christians who are too compromising and weak-kneed in their faith.
Example 1: An option course on witchcraft is the second most popular elective at the University of Alberta (as reported by the Edmonton Journal). Apparently it is only out done by one which is about sex.
Example 2: New divination games geared for children are for sale in Costco.
Example 3: Ten years ago material on witchcraft was found in the occult section of the bookstores. It is now being found under the heading of New Age.
I could go on but let it be enough to say that if we truly embrace Jesus as Lord then we should also embrace his teachings. As Arlene Sawicki said it is clear that indulgence of the occult, and I might add being entertained by its many offshoot forms, is to be rejected.
Remember that a little bit of arsenic in a glass of milk and honey will still kill you.
Zyp alone in media complex
This refers to Michel Gingras letter to the WCR, Dec 3, making it known that "what was said" was, in fact, not said. One can either affirm opinions outright, or one can choose to infer by innuendoes. Gingras had chosen to do the latter.
My letter to the WCR, Nov 19, was, in part, written to encourage Gingras to obtain further information, and not to bruise his sensibilities. In that, I failed.
Seldom should one have a vested interest in an opinion. As new information comes to light, one should at least embrace an openness to review one's convictions.
Gingras states, "But I do not like one-sided intellectual bashings and that is what I responded to."
Let's examine this closer by moving from a narrow view to one more comprehensive. The mega-media corporations have an enormous power over what appears on television, radio and in the newspapers. Seldom will you learn from them about any in depth, cause and effect, social issues. This media complex has its own agenda.
Outside of this power structure is a weekly column, written by one Hank Zyp, which constitutes less than one-millionth of what is generated in this media circus. Is Zyp being one-sided? Hardly.
Christ taken out of Christmas
I say to myself, time to buy our Christmas cards. So about a month ago I strolled the aisle of a drugstore, then an upscale gift shop, boxes stacked high. Hmm, looked like a fine selection.
Let's see, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Santa's Coming to Town, Ho! Ho! Ho!, Bells Are Ringing, Festive Greetings, Happy Hanukkah. Not one card mentioned the word "Christmas."
Perhaps the makers and sellers of cards have forgotten the reason for this "happy holiday" season, or is it finally a totally secular holiday like happy Halloween? Have we gotten so politically correct that we cannot bear to offend "anyone" in this supposedly Christian country to have a few cards use the word "Christmas"?
Last year in Toronto I went into a neighbourhood chocolate shop. In one small box a sliver of "Happy Hanukkah" chocolates, beside it another box, you guessed it, "Seasons Greetings."
I certainly will appreciate the reason for this season at Christ-Mass midnight Mass.
MPs, teachers in same boat
I read the letter "Justice demands support for striking teachers" (WCR, Dec. 3) which I see as a ballad with a conclusion: Give them what they want.
Before MPs voted for raising their salaries in June 2001 I did send to my MP David Kilgour a letter that before he voted, he has to know that my disability pension is $500 per month and was raised to $520 per month.
His answer was: I acknowledge that your pension was raised by four per cent. He is supposed to represent me in Ottawa, not himself. This answer should be given to the teachers, too.