Category Archives: Raising Awareness

Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

So many times I have heard people wrongly assume that Catholic’s worship Mary (and other saints, but today I’m focusing on Mary). As a Catholic, I am here to say that we do not worship Jesus’ mother.

The other day, my Religion IV teacher explained the Catholic relationship with Mary in a way that I believe sums it up best: when we pray to Mary, we aren’t praying to her as though she is equal to God. We’re recognizing that, because she is the mother of Jesus, it’s probably safe to assume that she has a lot of “pull with the big guy upstairs.” Praying to Mary is our way of knocking on Heaven’s door.

When I pray the rosary while thinking about the children lost to abortion, I’m not saying, “Hey Mary, you have the power to save these poor children’s souls and change the minds of women considering abortion.” I’m simply asking the blessed virgin to pray for them, and to maybe bring up the issue with her son – not that he’s not already aware.

Think about it this way: if your mom comes to you asking for your help for something important, you would bend Heaven and Earth to get her what she needs, right? So we’re simply asking Mary to intercede with her son for us.

Consider the words to the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The first verse of the Hail Mary comes from two paraphrased quotes out of the Bible. The first, “Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee,” is from Luke 1:28 when Gabriel comes to Mary. The second, “Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” is from Luke 1:42 when Elizabeth greets Mary and recognizes that she is with child. The second verse is clearly asking her to pray for us.

No where in this prayer do we recognize Mary as God, but instead as the Mother of God. The basis of every Christian religion is that God was sent down to Earth fully human and fully divine, born of the virgin Mary, crucified, buried, and on the third day He rose again. Catholics are recognizing how important Mary’s role is in all of that, and we’re giving her the recognition she deserves by asking her to pray for us.

It’s just like when you ask a friend to pray for you because you’re going through a rough time, and that’s not considered worship.

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Forever 4 Change

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In April of 2013, a statistic was posted that about 4,600 people between the ages of ten and twenty-four will commit suicide every year in the United States alone. I am here to tell you that suicide is a way to end your life, but it is not the solution.

Life is full of choices that we have to make daily. We have to make choices on what we eat, what we wear, and eventually we have to decide what we want to do with our lives. As teenagers, there are ups and downs we have to face. Our life becomes an emotional roller coaster while we’re still trying to figure out who we are. The decisions we have to make and the problems that occur can sometimes become too much to handle, so we become sad – and we have no idea how long we’ll be sad for. Some teens decide to keep everything bottled up and are too scared to tell someone else what’s going on. Maybe they’re scared that others will judge them, or maybe they feel there’s no way out. Because of this, many teens think that suicide is the only option.

I want to share with you a story of the tragic death of someone I knew, and the effect it had on an entire town. Sydney Lane Sanders was in the second semester of her freshmen year in high school when she decided to take her own life. The entire town of Richmond Hill, Georgia, was affected by this beautiful fourteen year old’s decision. There is now a foundation that her mother made called “Forever 4 Change” that helps teens being bullied or having suicidal thoughts. It’s a nonprofit organization with the intention to, “Reduce the stigma of suicide, raise awareness of suicide, and instill hope.

There are things that Sydney, and any teenager having committed suicide, will never be able to experience: college, having a career, and so much more. There are so many great things that life has in store for all of us, and the sooner we are able to realize that, the easier things will become. I don’t want to see what happened to Sydney happen to anyone else I know, which is why I’ve chosen to share this story with you.

Just because you feel lonely or sad, doesn’t mean your decision won’t affect everyone around you. On April 5, 2011 an entire town was shaken to its very core, and because of this I want to let all of you know that no matter what is going on, I am always here – even if I barely know you, I will listen to what you have to say.

Rest in peace, Sydney – fly high, pretty girl.