What Makes Someone ‘Evil’?

AmIEvil

 

I have never been able to understand how a person could get so angry that they would harm another human being.  I use to think a person had to just be evil to commit murder or violence.  Then I got a little taste of that anger.  I figure this is a good time to share that with all the violence that has been happening in our country and world.

 

Something happened recently to someone I love dearly.  I hope to write about it one day but today it is too fresh, to new.  Yet, this event opened my eyes to what hate is and how it is fueled.

 

When I love, I love with every fiber of my being and when someone I love hurts the pain I feel for them can be unbearable.   This time though that pain turned to anger.  Could it have turned to rage?  I wished those who had hurt my loved one pain and suffering.  I knew these people had NO clue what pain they had caused and so I wanted them to feel even a tiny piece of what I felt.

 

I could see how easily it was for a person’s brain to switch.  How in the heat of those feelings all you want to do is avenge your loved one or to make those who have hurt you hurt just as bad or worse.

 

I am blessed to have two amazing parents who raised me to know God and to know right from wrong.  I was taught that actions have consequences.  I never wanted to get in trouble with any authority or disappoint anyone, whether it was my parents, teachers or police.  So when this event came up I was able to control myself.  I was able to rationalize what I was feeling.  I  accepted it as a feeling and not something to act out on.

 

I never felt those feelings before and they were SCARY.  I NEVER want to feel them again.  Those feelings led me to start counseling so I could try and work through what I was feeling.  I was able to reach out for help.

 

What if I didn’t have that upbringing would I still have felt this way?  I am not sure.  Would I have been able to stop myself from acting on those feelings?  What if I didn’t have all those people in my life who loved me?  What if I didn’t have those people to let down?

 

What if I didn’t have parents or had absentee parents?  What if I had parents but they were physically, emotionally or mentally abusive?  What if I lived feeling like an outcast or a failure?  What if I felt this way all the time?  What if I had no one?  What if I went to a school I hated and every day I was picked on or beat up?  So many what if’s.

 

There are people out there who do horrible things, unimaginable things.  Were they born evil?  Were they born full of hate?  I try to believe that the majority of these people, if not all were not born evil and learned to hate.  I believe that I was blessed to be raised the way I was but does that make it ok for me to judge someone who was nowhere near as lucky as I was?  NO. 

 

So I have learned a lot and I am teaching my children all that I have learned.  What have I learned?

 

I learned that good people can do bad things. Everyone needs our prayers even those who harm us or others.  Those people may possibly need our prayers even more than others.  We should try our hardest to not judge others especially people who may be different than us.  We can’t say how we would react in a given situation unless we have actually been in that situation. 

If we see someone alone or that looks sad we can try and reach out to them or tell someone.  If we see something that seems out of place or strange we should tell someone we trust.  A little eye contact and a simple smile to someone can make a difference.  We need to show people who God (they may not know of God) is through our actions.  We need to love one another (even those we don’t know) as He loved us.

May God watch over us all and guide us to help those around us.  May he touch those who are alone or who are struggling.   

 

copyright 2018 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

What is Mercy and Do I Need It?

mercy

The world seems to be falling apart.  It seems like there is nothing that can be done. Sometimes I fear for the world my children will grow up in.  We can’t control anything happening in the world.
We CAN control what we teach our children.  Starting from when they are born.  We can show them compassion, empathy and mercy.  We can teach them about what is going on in the world but also teach them love not hate.

Mercy is having compassion for others; especially those you may think do not deserve it. It is not always easy to have mercy so we must practice it.  Our children need to see us showing compassion to one another.

My mom is great at mercy.  She shows love to everyone even when you know it can’t be easy.  She always says about those she shows mercy to that they were the ones who needed it the most.  It isn’t easy following in those footsteps, but I try.  She tells me when my children are driving me crazy and I want to beat them, I need to just hug them.  So I hug and hug a little more.  I show them mercy.

If each one of us just tries to show a tiny ounce of mercy to those who we actually think does not deserve it, we may just see the change we hope for the world.  Those who push people around and are mean could really use our mercy but you know what?  Every one of us sins so each of us at one time or another could use a little mercy and compassion.

Pope Francis announces this the year of Mercy.

Learn more here;
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic News Service

copyright 2016 Sheila M Scarpulla . All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

 

Four Steps to Let Go and Give It to God

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I had the good fortune of being able to spend some quality time with my mom and dad for the past few days.  During this time my father and I were talking about our struggles and how we face them.  You put one foot in front of the other.

We also talked about how most of us try to control things around us but in the grand scheme of things we really do not have that much control.  We just have to do what we need to do and put our faith in a higher power.

I have been told by people time and time again to trust God.  To let go and let God or turn it over to God.  I honestly didn’t get it.  I would say ‘OK God here are my issues now you deal with it and let me trust you’ but is that what I really did?  No.  I just didn’t get it and I couldn’t figure it out.

A few things that I think can help us all with this are;

  1. Wake up a few minutes early in the morning and thank God for all that we have. Then we can let him know the struggles we are facing or are going to be facing and try to go on.

2. Go about our day.  Get what we need to get done, done.  When our struggles enter our mind we can take a minute, realize how we are thinking and say a simple pray.  God, I trust in you.

3. End each day by saying thank you to God for all he did for us during the day.  If we can’t seem to think about what he has done for us we can ask him to help us be more open the following day.

4. Repeat

Eventually I think the idea of letting go and letting God will get easier, or at least that is what I hope for.

May each of you be guided today in learning how to let go and give it up to God.

A great prayer that I think goes perfectly with this is;

The Serenity Prayer

author Reinhold Niebuhr

 

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copyright 2016 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

Another Way of Looking At Things


Never Doubt the Power of Prayer (2)

My heart has been breaking.  It broke a little extra with the recent events in Paris.  It brought me back to Aug 2104 when the first American died at the hands of ISIS, James Foley.  My heart broke then and just continues to break.  Why has nothing changed but only gotten worse?  What is being done?

I’m helpless and it sucks.  Or am I?  I can’t control the government or make anyone stop ISIS.  I can’t stop people from joining them.  I can’t protect those in their path.  I can’t take away the pain or suffering that so many are feeling at the hands of ISIS.

So what can we do?  Pray, pray and pray some more.  The power of prayer is unimaginable.  It is bigger than anything we know.  When we pray though, most of us are praying for those who have died, suffered, and were tortured.  We pray for their loved ones, also the people in leadership positions and those risking their lives every day to protect and care for all of us.  However, we have to go above and beyond.

We need to pray for the leaders of ISIS, the soldiers of ISIS, the suicide bombers and those individuals considering joining ISIS.  We have to pray for the conversion of their hearts and souls.

We have to rise above them.  Be bigger than them.  We can’t let hatred win.

So while there is not much we can physically do to stop ISIS we can pray.  We have to continue to pray and not give up hope.  God hears our cries.  God answers our cries.  AND the best part is Jesus gets it.  He lived the unjust torture.  He felt the pain.  God’s answers may not be the answers we are hoping for or looking for but he does answer.

copyright 2015  Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

Admiration for Single Parents

042012_Disney_Channel_Premieres_Animated_Series_GoofTroop_TDIDTo all those single or almost single parents out there; I admire you. I wish I could give you the break you so rightfully deserve.

There have been days, like today, where from the time the kids get up to the time they go to bed it is all on me. They have to be in different places and I have to get them there. I also think they know Daddy isn’t going to be around because man are they acting up.
I keep my cool through most of it but by the time dinner is over (I let them pick the dinner to try to make it special) I am at my wit’s end and barely hanging on. I tell myself just a little longer. I can do this.

It is only one day. By the time they wake up daddy will be back and can help me out again. I am lucky it is only one day. I can’t imagine surviving more than one. Yet, there are moms and dads out there that have to. They have to go day in and day out without the support of their spouse or the other parent. My prayers go out to you all.

So the next time you are on the verge of losing it, wanting to give up or feeling alone, know that prayers are being sent your way. You are not alone. Step back, take 5 deep breaths, say a prayer or go stick your face in a pillow and scream. Whatever will help you get through this moment. You can get through it. Heck, post on here and if I see it or others see it we can cheer you on.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

Pope Francis has Arrived

papal visit

I can’t contain my excitement.  He is here!  Pope Francis is here!  Why is this such a big deal?  He is a man who is following exactly what Jesus asked of us.  All of us, Catholic and non-Catholic, should follow his example.  I am left speechless when I think of my admiration for him.  I thank God that we have been blessed to have him lead the Catholic Church.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I saw him up close.

What better prayer to be said for Pope Francis than The Prayer of Saint Francis.  I changed the words me and I to him and he.

Lord, make him an instrument of thy peace.  Where there is hatred, let him sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that he may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Please be by his side and guide him in his words.  Please keep him safe from harm and healthy.  Let your will be done Lord.

I would love to hear how he has touched your life.

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.

A Cornerstone Retreat

cornerstoneWhat is a Cornerstone retreat?
If you attend it very well may end up being a life altering experience for you.  For many it is just that.

A Cornerstone retreat is usually a 26-hour experience for women/men but this year we decided to try a one day retreat.  The retreat can be a spiritual renewal.  It allows each person the opportunity to reflect, renew and strengthen their faith.  It also brings women together in faith, hope and love.  You are able to meet and interact with other women/men, in a welcoming, non-judgmental environment.  It also allows for the opportunity to relax, and reflect.

stone

Who is behind the scenes?

Each year a team forms among Cornerstone alumni and they recruit from the previous year’s retreat.   They spend a year working together to build personal relationships, and planning for the next retreat.  Each woman/man shares her/his gifts in a variety of ways such as leading small group discussions, sharing a faith story, planning activities, choosing music, planning meals and selecting decorations for the weekend.  Team members can have specific roles or share job responsibilities.  The team works so hard so those who attend can truly sit back, relax and take in all the weekend has to offer.

SuccessfulRetreatPlanning1

This weekend I attended my fifth Cornerstone retreat.  I have attended two as a participant and three times I have been on team.  Each time I feel I get a little something different out of it.  One thing remains the same I feel rejuvenated, closer to God and the other woman who have attended.

st. anne's retreat

I highly recommend this experience (or any other type of retreat) to anyone out there.  It is a wonderful gift to give yourself or someone else.  The unknown can be scary and for many of us our first time was.  Yet, what you will walk away with may just leave you speechless.

I shared a faith story at this year’s retreat and when it came time to finding a prayer to go along with my story I had nothing.  So I decided to write my own.  As a closing to this post I would like to share my prayer with all of you.

God I don’t want to let you down
I want to be the person you created me to be
But life gets in the way
And often times brings me down
I feel I am losing a never-ending battle
Help me
Help me to know you are there
You love me
Even when I may not love myself
You will never turn your back on me
Even when I am pushing you away
Please be the light
When I am surrounded in darkness
Help me to reach out to you
Not only when things are bad
But when it is good too
Thank you for creating me
And loving me unconditionally
by, Sheila S

copyright 2015  Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.