2016 has been a year of trials, not only for singular members of our society, but for everyone. My second year at Aquinas began with my parents moving across the country, me moving in with my grandparents, and having to figure out a bill of over $1000 monthly to pay tuition as I lived on campus during the school season.

This year we lost many prominent celebrities that hold places in many hearts: 


David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Doris Roberts, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Sharon Jones, Ron Glass, E.R Braithwaite, Zsa Zsa Gabor,  George Michael, and Prince are among those we lost this year.


Then, just when we thought we could make it through the last of 2016 without losing anyone else that was part of the glue of our favorite fandom Carrie Fisher, our favorite Empire fighting, fun loving, bi-polar, all around wonderful princess passed away on the 27th. Not 24 hours later, her mother the amazingly talented Debbie Reynolds who co-starred alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in “Singin’ in the Rain,” passed away as well.

We will never forget these talented individuals.

The nation has also seen troubles of its own: 

*Flint Michigan has been without clean water for too long, people are still suffering effects of the contamination: Please donate or find information on how you can volunteer here: http://www.helpforflint.com/action

Those on the liberal side coped with the loss of their presidential candidate, and those on the conservative celebrated their victory. Along with this election cycle came riots, peaceful protests, and vandalism. It also brought about ruptures in homes, and the workplace. Even our normally tolerant campus lacked peace following the election as many “coped” with the country’s choice.

The election cycle, no matter who took the presidency, opened the eyes of many to the violence and prejudice inherent in our country. There was a resurgence of those groups that are racially and socially prejudiced, as well as a spike in their actions against the LGBTQ community, African-American Individuals, Muslim and Arabic families, immigrants (be they legal or otherwise), and refugees.

This saddens me. That our country could have regressed so far that we are prejudiced, and able to act with such violence of word and deed against our neighbors; that my Facebook feed is constantly full of news of another shooting, or a violent attack on the street; that muslim women should be asked by their families to remove their hijabs in fear of their being attacked on the street, when it is their right, living in the country they do, to freely express their religion in this way. It saddens me, because if someone tried to take the freedoms of the white, Christian communities away in this way, then, and only then, would many people consider it “religious persecution.” Just because we do not believe what they do, or the same way that they chose to worship, does not mean that we have the right to violently attack them, verbally, physically, mentally, on social media or off. Just because we are the majority, does not mean that we have any more rights than those in the minority, or any less for that matter.

The United States was built to be a country of equal opportunity, but we have become so ingrown to our own ideas and ways of life that we cannot possibly accept others. I might remind you that places like New York were built on the backs of immigrants. Not on the rich, white, Christian upper class. To top it all off, the colonies started as an escape from religious persecution in Europe, what we are doing to many minorities today seems to me an echo of what we came to this place to escape.

It has not only been the nation that suffered blows in 2016: 

Europe is making peace with the Brexit, England’s choice to leave the European Union, which, much like our election, left the country torn on many accounts.

Greater than Brexit, is the crisis in Aleppo. This civil war has been going on since 2012, but, as it came to its head these last few months, it began to get more and more media coverage. Aleppo, which as of 2011 was the largest city in Syria, and mainly full of civilians, has been bombed without qualms. Hospitals, schools, and other civilian buildings have been targeted, leaving thousands dead, and thousands injured. Since 2011 there are over 450,000 people dead, at least 50,000 of which are children. This crisis began as a small protest, and has expanded into the war that we are watching today.

During French class last semester when watching the international news, we were hearing more and more reports of Syrian refugees being turned away; The fear, of course, being that, “they might be terrorists.”

Matthew 25:35-40 says For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

There are many nations, that although they state they have a separation of church and state, can claim themselves to be a Christian nation. Out of fear, we do not live this…out of fear, we treat customers differently, or go so far as to refuse refugees entry into our country. By rejecting those in need, we also reject Him. He who never rejects us, not even at our lowliest, and who asks us to act as He would…

“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

I think we all need to remember this going into 2017…

“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” 

Food for thought,

Love to all, As Always,

Mae ❤