“Let me take a selfie!”
That is the trend these days. Going around with a mobile device and taking pictures of just yourself or with others in places that matter to you. The world says to put yourself first. Take care of yourself and everything else falls into place. At first thought, the term self centred has negative connotations. Oxford dictionaries.com defines self centred as being “preoccupied with one self and one’s affairs ”
The challenge lies in shifting our focus from the negativity attached to the term of self-centred and look at it from a positive perspective. After asking my nine year old son about the meaning of self centred, he told me that it is the centre of oneself which is the heart. Not once did he use the words, conceited, vain or selfish. He looked into his soul for the meaning of the word and gave it a fresh start.
Life can be like that at times. The negativity can overwhelm us when we think of what is going on around us. All that is needed is a fresh perspective to give us hope and turn around the circumstances. Maybe self-centred is not such a bad thing. Maybe the trend of selfie gives us a reflection which could allow us to change for the better and think more about others. Maybe we should centred ourselves by focusing in on our hearts. How revolutionary is that? What is in your heart? Does love reside there or is it empty inside? Fill it up with dreams and aspirations that are important to you and you can change the world for the better.
Take a selfie!
Last Sunday my elder son got confirmed.
The rite of passage of Holy Confirmation in its explanation is an introduction to some and a re-affirmation to others who have experienced it. Confirmation is the celebration of the individual taking on the promises made by their godparents at their baptism as an infant. It is an added responsibility to their spiritual lives with God. This ceremony celebrates that spiritual graduation.
Yet in the case of my son I will give the sacrament of Holy Confirmation a deeper meaning. He was the youngest in the group of sixteen young people to undertake this responsibility. At the age of nine years old, he proved that he is most definitely set apart from the rest. The following day, while sifting through the pages of a book my parents gave me on the occasion of teaching at a new school ten years ago, I found a beautiful story nestled in the middle of the book. The story was entitled: “Handle With Care”
The story revolved around a teacher whose name was Kris. She had a very intense student by the name of Brian in her class. He always asked thought provoking questions and was certain about his vocation in life. He wanted to become a preacher and walk closer with God through his spiritual life. After this revelation, Kris began to pray. She prayed to God asking Him to reveal how she could help Brian achieve his goals in life. The answer she received was this: Handle With Care. It was not that Brian was fragile but that he was set apart and special for the life God had given to him. Kris would keep praying for Brian in the years to come. In true short-story mode there was no ending and we are left to wonder what happened to Brian.
My son shares the same name as the little boy in the story and the similarities do not end there. He too wants to become a preacher just like his grandfather. Our family will always support him in whatever he chooses to do with his life, knowing full well that it is in the hands of God. For with God all things are possible. We will continue to handle him with prayer.
These words are uttered at the end of a wedding ceremony by the priest in charge: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Jesus originally uttered these words when he was tested by the Pharisees and scribes about the subject of divorce. Jesus champions the cause of marriage by stating that this union with God is so strong that only God himself could separate them at death. Yet there is another angle which we could examine this utterance.
What if God did not join the couple together? What if the couple joined themselves together based on their own desires? They knew what they were getting into in the first place but one partner believed that they could change the other, without realising that both persons needed the necessary change in their lives. We are so eager to point out flaws in others without examining ourselves at first. Therefore if the couple was not joined by God, can man then put asunder the relationship of marriage?
Marriage today is in crisis. Persons who are married are living one way on the outside and another on the inside. Women are more autonomous as they are working for themselves along with the responsibilities of the household. Today’s modern woman is the one who gives the impression that she can do it all. In the years before, women were not allowed to work. Their role was that of home maker. Therefore, when the marriage fell beyond expectations, women usually had to hold it together. This was a common place scenario. However today, women and men need to develop strategies to keep their marriages together. When disagreements arise, there is no need to answer back. Let that person quarrel alone. Keep trying at the relationship, no matter how hopeless the circumstances may seem. Also focus on the many blessings in life, which God has given to you, instead of your overwhelming perception of the current circumstances. For the evil one is waiting to destroy the sacred institutions of marriage and family life.
Instead of resentment for the happily married, the feeling of rejoicing replaces that as our prayers for marriage are answered in their lives. Respect the institution of marriage, for it was ordained by God from the human acceptance of the beginning of time. It was not good for the man to be alone and that is why He made woman to be a partner for the man throughout his life. That is why the man leaves his mother and father and joins together with his wife. The two become one with God as their guide in life. That is what makes marriage God ordained for they were joined together by God. Once that is the case, no matter how hard the evil one tries, no man or woman can separate it. Marriage is worth fighting for.