As part of the Ecumenical & Interreligious Course I recently completed, we visited a mosque and took a dip into Islam. I was really excited about this part of the course because there are so many misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. So here are 7 things I learned that stood out and everyone should know these thins, too, because we’re not so different. In fact, we’re all cut from the same cloth and the same way I don’t agree with my parents on everything, Muslims, Christians, and Jews also don’t agree on everything, but we are all children of God--the same God!
I went to Shabbat service at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple as part of an educational "field trip" for the Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Studies course I'm taking. We learned about Judaism and Catholic-Jewish relations, and it was such a revelation. I had been to temple once before, back when I was thirteen for a friend's Bat-mitzvah, but I don't remember what it was like. My mom remembers it being long, and she was right. Our Catholic mass is 1 hour long, this service we were at was two and a half hours! Although, that's also because there were two bat-mitzvahs at this service.
I recently decided to sign up for a certification course on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Studies. I didn’t know what Ecumenical meant until my first class, and I can still barely pronounce it, but even after just the first class, I feel a sense of great hope for the world. Hopefully I’m not just overexcited.
My husband once said to me, "You know, everything you're saying and a lot of what you believe goes against the Catholic Church." I was quick to respond, "Maybe some of the PEOPLE of the church, sure, but NOT the Catholic faith." Where we have seen the church fail, we have seen man fail, not God. All I know is that I am here to love and be love, and that is the basis of Catholicism...or at least how I have learned and understood it.
I lead the Children's Liturgy at my church about once a month, and part of me was thinking of giving up because often times when there's a big group, the kids get out of hand and I struggle to get them to listen to me or not speak and scream over each other. I spend more time trying to get them to be quiet and listen to one another, teaching them about respect and how to show respect, than doing what I'm actually supposed to be doing. I don't how teachers do it. Honestly, I have so much more respect for pre-school and elementary school teachers now.
Remember Martina McBride's song, "When God-Fearin' Women Get The Blues?" Fun song right? Sort of kickass, too, yeah? What I never understood was the phrase "God-fearin'." I still don't, because frankly, I don't fear God and I don't understand why I should? I mean, sure, when I was kid, sometimes my grandma would try to get me to stop doing something by telling me if I don't stop, God will be mad at me. But she also told me if I whistled at night ghosts would come out. Clever grandma I must say, clever indeed.
I heard that Archbishop Jose Gomez, the archbishop of the Los Angeles diocese was passed up for Cardinal by Pope Francis, because Pope Francis wanted to bring up some of the "smaller" guys. It would have been easy to appoint Archbishop Jose Gomez, because he runs the largest diocese in the United States, which naturally means having great influence. However, Pope Francis decided to show everyone that the guys covering small diocese, the ones who may go unnoticed, are just as important. You can never forget the "little" people, because they too make up our community.
Someone once asked Pope Francis, "Who is Pope Francis?" That person wanted to know who is our pope, who is the man beneath the white robe. After a brief pause, Pope Francis responded simply, "A sinner."
I was having such a crummy day, and had three different things go wrong before 8am, so I spent the day trying to work them all out. Thankfully, two of them were resolved by the end of the day. I felt beat, but kept trying to remind myself throughout the day to find the good. For example, I was so stressed that the pain I have been feeling in my teeth for the past couple weeks seemed to disappear. My brain was probably so hyper focused on the chaos of the day that it didn't have time to feel the pain. I also kept reminding myself that there are worse things that could happen.