We in Ireland live very insular lives and I found it interesting to see the Buddhist priests standing on a makeshift stage, leading prayers for the safe return of the people. I did not know that the Buddhist religion would pray in such a way.
This one incident brought home to me how little we know of other faiths. Here, whether we are Catholic or Protestant, the vast majority of us are from some Christian denomination and most of us have no real contact with other religions.
I noticed too that last Sunday (March 16th) one of the leading broadsheets in England solved the whole puzzle of what happened to MH370 in one sentence; the pilot was a Muslim.
Now I have no idea what happened but when you see a paper mention the fact that the pilot was a Muslim and the innate prejudice in the way it was said, then you begin to understand how much underlying suspicion there is of people just because they are not like us. In Northern Ireland we know all about such attitudes.
Now the world has to face the fact that we are not as technologically advanced as we thought we were. If you watch the Bourne movies or listen to all the talk we had last year about the US spying on us all, you would think that you couldn't have a cup of tea in your own house without someone knowing about it; phones are tapped, people are monitored and we are all being watched.
Even in the west, where we are relatively unaffected by the tragedy, we all felt an affinity with the suffering and grief of the relatives. Sky news repeatedly showed a clip of a young man writing in English, “I ask Allah....” His God may have a different name but he knew where to turn too.
“They say the father is a daughter’s first love, which explains why Maira Elizabeth Nari wants her daddy to be there when she collects her SPM results tomorrow.
‘My SPM result is coming out soon but I am much more worried about my dad. I’m hoping that he’ll be back before I take my results. Sigh,’ she tweeted.
Maira’s father is MH370 chief steward Andrew Nari.”
Later on in the article on The Star Online, the internet version of a Malaysian newspaper, she adds, “Daddy, Liverpool is winning the game. Come home, so you can watch the game! You never miss watching the game. It’s your very first time.”
The internet was full of thousands of people offering prayers and condolences to those who had lost relatives or for the safe return of the flight. Then just on Friday past a thought struck me; where are all the atheists?
You see, we people who believe in God, go to Mass and hope that life has some meaning. We are told we are silly and superstitious by all the smart people who look down their noses at us. Then when something like this happens the atheists have nothing to say.
The faith we have gives our life meaning. Even in the face of such a tragedy we have somewhere to turn too, somehow in the middle of all this there is still meaning and hope; meaning in the sense that life is valuable and love is stronger than death. Hope in that even in death there is life beyond the grave, where those who have died shall wait for us.
The destruction of flight MH370 shows starkly that atheist have nothing to contribute in a time of crisis. His is a shallow life, a life that must end in despair for if there is nothing after this life then despair is all he can hope for.
It says in the Bible, ‘the fool says that there is no God.’
It’s a wonderful statement. To those people who say there is no God you can simply say that they are a fool. Next time one of these smart people say to me that they don’t believe in God I shall simply reply, “You’re a fool.”
The atheist looks at the wee mother going to the chapel to pray for her Johnny who is taking a drop too much drink and secretly laughs at her. But Mrs Mother knows something the atheist can never know, for he will not allow this great truth to enter into his heart; Mrs Mother, Johnny, the people on flight MH370, you and me, are all part of one big family, interconnected because we all have the same Father; God in heaven.
Then we saw something else last week that was very sad, the death of L’Wren Scott. I had never heard of her until this fashion designer and long time girlfriend of Mick Jagger reportedly took her own life.
On the face of it she had everything, money, good looks, prestige, friends in high places and the type of life that so many people crave. And yet something inside the poor woman was not quite as it appeared and she found life not worth living.
It must be an awful place to get to in life where blackness overrides everything else. From the outside, L’Wren Scott had everything, and yet inside there was something missing; she had nothing to give her life meaning.
We waste so much of our life gathering material possessions which we all know can never make us happy and which we can’t take with us when we cross the great divide.
Pope Francis gave a stern warning to a few men who need to change their lives before they make the journey over the river of life. At a Mass for the ‘Libera’ organization in Italy, Francis hit out at the Mafia and other groups involved in organized crime. Libera is a group which is designed to give help and support to the victims of the Mafia, a bit like our victims support groups.
“Pope Francis has made his strongest attack to date on the mafia, telling organised crime bosses they will end up in hell if they do not ‘convert’ and give up their lives of ‘bloodstained money [and] blood-stained power.’ In an echo of John Paul II's appeal to mafia dons to renounce their ‘culture of death,’ the Argentinean Pope urged Mafiosi to ‘stop doing evil’ as he held an unprecedented meeting with hundreds of victims' relatives in Rome.
‘I feel that I cannot conclude without saying a word to the protagonists who are absent today – the men and women Mafiosi,’ he said, quietly but forcefully. ‘Please change your lives. Convert yourselves. Stop doing evil.’” (Guardian)
Imagine a pope in this day and age mentioning hell. Most of us had thought that hell was done away with about thirty years ago but it seems to be making a bit of a comeback. These things are beyond me but I do know that if we have free will, real free will which allows us to choose freely, then some of us shall choose not to love or to be with God.
Have you ever read some of the atheist websites? Well, let me tell you, you shall see that many people hate God so much that to be with him would be hell for them. Perhaps for an atheist, sitting in God’s presence will be hell enough!
A young girl had left home, having decided that she was too smart to live with her parents and then found herself unable to meet her bills. She determined to sue her parents saying that they had the obligation to support her, even though she was an adult and was not living at home.
“The US teen who sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home has reunited with them.
The lawyer representing Rachel Canning's parents said in a statement that the 18-year-old's return is not contingent on any financial or other considerations, the Star Ledger of Newark reported.
A judge last week denied the teen's request for child support and to have her parents pay her remaining high school tuition. But the judge scheduled an April court date to consider the overarching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their adult daughter.
State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard sounded sceptical of some of the claims in the lawsuit, saying it could lead to teens "thumbing their noses" at their parents, leaving home and then asking for financial support.
‘Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?’ he asked. ‘We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope.’”
It is good to hear someone talk some sense in the courts. The good thing about secularism and all this whole fad for atheism is that in time they shall pass just like the hippies and the free love advocates of the sixties. They are only a notion and as the loss of MH370 and the response of the people to it show, secularism and atheism have no real depth.
On Sunday at lunch the wife and I were sitting chatting about the whole MH370 affair and the sightings which we have all seen on the television, those hazy images which we are told may or may not be related to the accident.
But we were always led to believe that with all this technology the satellites could read a number plate from the sky. It turns out, according to the BBC, that the nations involved who have seen the images don’t want other nations to know the capabilities of their satellites so the images are probably deliberately blurred. They are prepared to let the families suffer rather than give away their secrets; so much for the ‘human family.’
I am always getting into bother, particularly when I am talking to priests from down there and they pull me up for referring to it as the Free State. They say that the term is insulting.
It does not help matters much when I say that we use it in order to be insulting. The ordinary Joe or Jane from the 26 counties is trying to earn a living like the rest of us. They are trying to fight for their living with one hand tied behind their back. As I say, it is the arrogance, corruption and cronyism of the Free State that gets to me as well as the anti Northern sentiment shown by the media and many politicians.
If you don’t know what I am talking about then reflect on two simple truths: the only people to do time over the collapse of the banks have been northerners, and six years after the banking scandal which left many people so desperate that they took their own lives, there is still no meaningful inquiry into what happened.
And don’t forget, most of the bankrupt property developers are living in luxury courtesy of NAMA. But it’s ok; they’re the nice people.
So then this week I heard there is a new name for the Free Staters. The young people now refer to them as ‘Mexicans.’
This appears to be some sort of racist insult similar to white racist attitudes in the United States.
I don’t think this is fair and I can honestly say that I was hurt by the remarks. Surely ordinary Irish people north and south, have the same problems and difficulties getting through life. We share the same identity, religion and culture and we have a lot more in common than what separates us.
No, when I refer to the ‘Free State’ I am referring to the Free State elite, those who besmirched the name of republicanism and made Ireland into the beggars of Western Europe.
They have no shame in them at all. Look at what it took to get Bertie Ahern to resign and even after the country collapsed on his watch, Brian Cowen would not let go of the reins.
The elite in the Free State treat the ordinary people as serfs: Wolfe Tone’s, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter working together means nothing to them.
But the ordinary people of our country are as good as you would get anywhere in the world. A lot have lost their way in the new fad of atheism and secularism but like most Irish people when it comes to dying they shall all want to be buried in the Catholic Church.
The priests of the Free State have a saying:
“The Irish people don’t want to live in the Catholic Church but they all want to be buried in it.”
It’s the same as the outpouring of grief for MH370; when the chips are down everyone knows there is a God.
Tis a pity so many are too proud to admit it!
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