Saint of the Month: Maria Goretti

Born: October 16, 1890

Died: July 6. 1920

Feast Day: July 6

Patron of: Rape Victims

Maria Goretti is one of the youngest martyrs in Catholicism. She was strongly devoted to God and was the daughter of a farmworker near Anzio, Italy.  When she was 12 years old, she was raped by Alexander Serenelli, who was the son of her father’s partner, who lived with her family.  When she refused his advances, Serenelli stabbed Maria to death.

Now, you may think that is the end of the story.  But years later, Serenelli received a vision from Maria, saying taht she forgave him for his crime. Because of this vision, Serenelli reformed his life.

To me, Alexander’s reformation is a true miracle.  I remember being told by a professor that rape was the worst thing you can do to a person, and I agree. I don’t believe that the victim is ever  at fault.  No one “asks” for rape by how they dress or their actions. I have heard people who’ve been raped say they feel vulnerable and that they have difficulty moving past it.  That is why I think Maria can be a role model.  Forgiving those who have harmed us can be difficult, but Jesus called us to love everyone, even our enemies. Loving those who love us back is easy, as He said. Yet when Jesus was mocked, scourged, and crucified, he did not retaliate. Now, does this mean we should not defend ourselves? Hardly. Non-violent self-defense is permitted and expected. Loving everyone is a challenge, but our reward is great.

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Why I Am A Christian

By now, you’ve probably noticed I’m unashamed of my Christianity.  It’s time I explained why.

I’m what you call a “cradle Catholic”. It means I was born into my faith. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never doubted or wavered.  If your faith is never tested, it never truly grows.

To be honest, during my teen years, I began to question my faith.  I realized that being a Christian only to keep out of Hell was incorrect. I’d also heard of all the horrible things we Christians have done, like the Inquisition. But I started reading about the saints, I realized a reason to be Christian. If Christianity had inspired so many people to become heroic, it can’t be that bad.  I also realized I owe a debt to Jesus. He did a lot to save me.

Now, I’m not about to tell you that you should a Christian too.  I know I can give you all sorts of reasons, but in the end, it’s not me. I’m just opening the door. God does the rest.

Now I know what some of the arguments are. I will offer some rebuttals.

1. How can I profess a religion that is responsible for bloodshed? Atheists aren’t so pure either.  Allow me to quote Answering Atheism: If Christians have to answer for the Inquisition, Atheists have to answer for Stalin.  Evil is part of human nature. Christianity has nothing to do with it. Everyone who has ever done evil in God’s name has done it through misinterpretation.  Besides, Marxists like Stalin and Lenin believed in their convictions probably as strongly as any Christian. Christians have also done good in God’s name. Besides the saints, there are missionaries who have taught children how to read and write. We have lead charities. We oppose tyranny.

2. How can I believe something science has claimed doesn’t exist? Science can neither prove nor disprove God.  Science can only prove what is tangible.  I feel that religion is proof that there is something beyond the material world. Shakespeare said it best: “There are more things in Heaven and Hell than dreamt of in your philosophy.” If there weren’t anything beyond the physical realm, then why would so many religions exist.

These are my reasons for believing in God. I feel that it is my answer.

One Faith, Many Paths: Shahayla Shadburne

For this month, I am interviewing a good facebook friend of mine named Shahayla Shadburne, who I met on Christian Anime Alliance. She is an interesting person and I think you will enjoy this post.
1. Tell me about your childhood.

I was born on a reservation, I was the only white girl so I got a lot of good and bad attention. I had a pretty good childhood, chasing rez dogs, going on hikes with the guys, and following my 10 kittens wherever they went.

2. What do your parents do?

My parents are the head of a ministry that writes discipleship materiel for Native Americans. They also teach bible studies, and at one point a youth ministry.

3. Why are you Christian?

3. I used to study all sorts of religions and Christianity is the only one that truly teaches Grace and Love. All other religions have a set of rules or practices that you MUST do, or you wont be happy, or go to an after live or so on, Christianity is the only one that I have come across that is clear that Humans can’t be perfect, we need to just give God our life and he will help us with the rest.

4. Favorite bible quote?

I have two,
“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

” I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye” Psalm 32:8

5. Favorite Biblical figure?

I have always loved Ruth, she is the picture of a strong, loving woman.

6. What do you want to do now that you’re out of High School?

I’m thinking of going into YWAM DTS training, or some sort of missions trip, and then going to college at Northwest university for intercultural studies.

7.You’ve told me you have friends who aren’t Christian? Any advice you would give to other Christians who want to reach out to other faiths?

Be a friend, sometimes its good to not preach all the time at them, but just be a good friend, if things come up that you don’t agree with, plainly tell them your opinion, but don’t be judgmental. Also I try to pray for opportunity to reach out, sometimes my friends will ask questions about Christianity.

8. You strike me as a very outspoken Christian. Is there any reason you do this?

Honesty is really important to me, I find that if I’m clear about what I think, things are open more for discussion and then I can learn about what others think and evaluate what I believe based on the bible.

9. Do you have any relations to any Native American tribes?

We have none but I have many family friends that are native American, and living with native Americans so much it kind of feels like I am one myself now.